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The Real Problem with Fox News “conservative slant and essential inaccuracy” Columbia Journalism Review

On Thursday night, Fox News anchor Bret Baier was Jon Stewart’s guest on The Daily Show. The two men went back and forth about whether Fox is predominantly conservative opinion programming or straight news, with Baier contending that “viewers can discern between news and opinion,” and Stewart countering by noting that the opinion anchors and conservative columnists such as Charles Krauthammer appear on news shows.

Stewart suggested that Fox’s tendency to mislabel opinion as news is what differentiates the network from other, more traditional news sources. But that’s the least of it. The more important distinction is the conservative slant and essential inaccuracy of much of Fox’s news reporting itself. Stewart conceded Baier’s premise that because Fox has reporters stationed in Middle Eastern hot spots their reporting on world affairs is above reproach. It is not.

Take, for example, this video, also from Thursday, which shows multiple Fox News hosts gleefully announcing that health reform champion Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) wants his home city to seek a waiver from the Affordable Care Act, and that Weiner’s statements prove the law is too cumbersome. In fact, if you watch his comments in full, it is abundantly clear that Weiner is in no way suggesting that the law imposes too many burdens on localities. He simply praises the law’s flexibility and says that if localities can independently fulfill the same objectives of expanded coverage and reduced cost, then they should be alowed to do so.

This episode exposes two core problems with Fox’s supposedly “fair and balanced” news coverage. The first is the simple inaccuracy demonstrated by the blatant misrepresentation of Weiner’s position. The second is the bias of story selection. Why does a congressman from the minority party with no leadership position making a statement at a think thank event on a possible move by a locality warrant multiple news segments? Only because Fox can present it as a victory for conservative ideology. No unbiased observer could possibly have concluded that Weiner’s statements deserved repeated discussion in the midst of three foreign wars, instability throughout the Middle East, a nuclear accident in Japan, high unemployment, and major battles over the federal budget in Washington.

read more: The Real Problem with Fox News

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Fox News on #wiunion: “The hate that you get from these demonstrators—you can see it in their faces!”#VIDEO


“Fox News Lies,” Part II:

Fox News correspondent: The heckling is starting up again. The hate that you get from these demonstrators — you can see it in their faces…

Fox News anchorman: Why do they express such vitriol toward the media?

Correspondent: You know, I don’t know what they intend to accomplish by it, but they definitely as you can see by covering up the cameras, they want to shut down the communication. They have an idea that there’s gonna be a diverse viewpoint, they don’t wanna get it, they don’t wanna hear it, and they don’t really take into consideration my reporting or what I’ve done to this point…

Anchorman: Alright. Mike Tobin. Tough situation for you to be in and by the way, in just a few minutes we’re gonna be talking more about the — utter — lack — of civility, and the harassment of reporters there, and we’re gonna keep our camera on the state capitol as apparently, there may be some arrests here by police.

Fourteen days. As many as 100,000 demonstrators at any given time. And zero (0) arrests. We report. You decide.

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