Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Fox a legitimate news organization?

“we’re not going to legitimize them as a news organization.” ~ Anita Dunn, the White House communications director.

“I’ve got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration,”, “You’d be hard pressed if you watched the entire day to find a positive story about me on that front.” ~ President Barack Obama.


“Instead of governing, the White House continues to be in campaign mode, and Fox News is the target of their attack mentality,” ~ Michael Clemente, Fox's senior vice president for news.

“Don’t pick a fight with people who like to fight.” ~ Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News.

So there, it is on. The White House hates Fox News. Fox News hates the White House. (The New York Times) I know you are but what am I? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Geesh.

First, no, I do not believe that Fox is a legitimate news organization. Why? Because bias has no place in news. Fox News has a very distinct right wing tilt. They play politics, they don't report news, they make (up) the news. Fox News breaks almost all the basic codes of ethics and standards in journalism ~ 'truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability — as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public'. (Wiki) So I agree with the White House, no, Fox is not a legitimate 'news' organization. They have little right sitting at the table with the adults. They are popular because of their bombast. People tune in, en masse, just to see what they are going to say or do next.

But are they the voice of the opposition? Are they a bullhorn, an extension of the GOP? Maybe. They are certainly complicit, Fox has picked its side. They are far more cozy with the Bush and Cheney types then they are with the Obama and Kennedy types. OK so Fox might be in bed with the GOP, but are they the GOP? Again, maybe? Is Rupert Murdoch a media mogul or the puppet master of the conservative movement? Both?

Fox breaks the rules, but they are wildly popular. They scream and folks listen. What is the White House to do? Is it smart politics to ignore them? To pretend they are nothing more than sophomoric name-callers? Would it be smarter to scream and yell right back? Na na, na na, na? I dunno? Aren't we all adults here? Can't we sit down and at least have a civilized debate? The President just won the Nobel Prize for Peace, you'd think he could have a mature half hour conversation with Fox's Chris Wallace. Maybe it is easier to speak with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Kim Jong Il, it seems their disdain for Obama is less acute. Geesh.

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