Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Sucking up to FOX ‘News’ will never work

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Originally published on on Tue, 04/01/2008 – 10:13am

Ranking media bias on a scale from 1 to 100 is difficult if you are sheltered all the way over on one side of the scale. Assuming 1 is “liberal” and 100 is “conservative,” if you are on 92 on the scale, a 78 looks “liberal.” By contrast, if you are 41 on the scale, 78 is really conservative.

So when conservatives cry “liberal media,” it is a relative accusation. Liberal compared to what?

Now Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has come out and said “FOX has done the fairest job, and remained the most objective of all the cable networks.” Objective by what standard? FOX ‘News’ doesn’t like the idea of Hillary Clinton, the candidate Gov. Rendell supports, becoming president of the United States. It might like the idea of pumped-up ratings they think they might get with a Clinton win in November. And by that standard, they figure it’s in their best interest to extensively slam Obama. Even Chris Wallace, whose paycheck is signed by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, thought so.

Now there is a difference between socially liberal and politically liberal. Ironically, FOX ‘News’, in the tradition of its ultimate mentor, Rupert Murdoch, can sometimes be socially liberal, talking about trashy shows or incidents involving nudity or lingerie. But on politics, they are conservative, and even more important, they don’t pretend to be unbiased.

And there are perceptions from the left in terms of bias toward the media as well. The corporate, pro-business, “let’s do a story about a business that sounds like an infomercial” mentality is part of why the left screams bias against the media.

Yes, there are many fine sources of information around. But realistically, as consumers and voters struggle to get information, often the easiest forms get the most scrutiny from them. CNN, MSNBC, FOX along with the over-the-air networks, Sunday talk shows, talk radio, and now, e-mails from friends or friends of friends.

The idea that many Americans get their news from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times isn’t reflected in reality. Those who significantly care about what happens do, as they should. But many don’t have the time.

In Gov. Rendell’s statement, he goes on to say about FOX that “you actually have done a very balanced job of reporting the news, and some of the other stations are just caught up with Senator Obama, who is a great guy, but Senator Obama can do no wrong, and Senator Clinton can do no right.”

Now that isn’t a media bias on left vs. right, progressive vs. conservative — this is literally Clinton vs. Obama. But even Clinton supporters need to be careful. It’s like watching evangelicals suck up to Jews over Israel vs. the Palestinians. Evangelicals only care about the Jews keeping control of the land, so that their interpretation of the Bible can be fulfilled (a hint for Jews: in their vision, you don’t come out well in the end).

It is fair to say BuzzFlash and other Web sites survive and thrive because there is a significant bias in the MSM against liberals and progressives. Despite the cries of “Clinton News Network,” CNN would objectively be placed to the right of 50 on our scale. While Keith Olbermann does well on MSNBC, the overall balance also puts that channel to the right of 50.

There might have been a time where PBS and NPR might have rested to the left of 50 on the scale. But losses of funding (reducing objectivity), interferences from right-wing groups, and overall cautiousness have pushed both outlets further to the right.

FOX ‘News’ Channel has been around for a long time. But they aren’t the only ones to watch out for. CNN and MSNBC are more dangerous in the sense that they pretend they have no bias.

If you are a Democratic presidential candidate, you know the media isn’t going to be on your side. Even “liberally perceived” outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, will still give the benefit of the doubt to the Republicans.

And no matter what you do, you won’t convince them. Trying to be “friends” with the right-wing media isn’t going to work. The ones you have to convince are the American people. Start with playing on their perceptions of media bias – after all, no matter where they fall on the 1-100 scale, they think the media is biased.


Written by democracysoup

April 1, 2008 at 10:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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