Poking Holes in Fox News’ Mythology of Objectivity
Posted on Nov 19, 2007
This is certainly a point that has been made before, but the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky performed his own journalistic audit on the U.S.‘s Fox News network, starting with the conservative channel’s claims of offering “fair and balanced” news coverage, and finds that it falls short of its mission statement about spin-free reporting.
Journalism with a point of view is a fine thing. It’s what I do. The difference is that I say I’m a liberal journalist while Fox executives and “reporters” insist they play it straight. But everyone in the US knows that my description is true. This is precisely why its fans watch it. Walk into any bar, hair salon, gym or motel lobby in the country; if the TV is tuned to Fox rather than CNN, you know that the owner or clientele or both are Republican. It’s a secret—although not actually secret any more—sign of fraternity among conservatives, the way a solid red tie worn by a single urban man used to signal to other urban men that the wearer was indeed “that way”.
So everyone knows, but, because of the conventions of journalistic propriety, Fox can’t admit that it’s a Republican outfit. It would have no credibility with politicians if it did and would be too easily dismissed as “ideological media”. To get around this problem, its marketers devised what must be the most deviously ingenious pair of advertising slogans of all time: “We report, you decide” and “Fair and balanced”.