Television Archives

Clinton Advisor Joins Fox News Channel

When Karl Rove joined FNC as a contributor, the Left howled about bias.  Now, however, either they’ll howl more quietly, or ignore this and howl just as loudly, ignoring, in either case, how this indeed continues to make Fox "fair and balanced".

Howard Wolfson, who was a top strategist for the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is going where some Democrats were unwilling to go during the early days of the election season: the Fox News Channel.

The network is expected to announce as early as Tuesday that it has signed Mr. Wolfson as a contributor who will appear regularly on its programs.

Mr. Wolfson is joining a network that Democrats shunned for a time, complaining that its coverage was unfair. But aides to Mrs. Clinton came to view Fox News as distinctly fair to her in a news media climate that they believed favored Senator Barack Obama.

“I thought that Fox’s coverage during the primary was comprehensive and fair and evenhanded,” Mr. Wolfson said Monday in a telephone interview from Liverpool, England, where he was vacationing. “It’s a huge audience, and it is important to have a strong, progressive voice on the network.”

Even with it’s rightward tilt, FNC continues to be far more balanced than any other news channel.  I will note that CNN has been seeing the light in this area recently — what with adding Glenn Beck as a show host and having Bill Bennett as a contributor during the campaign season — but perhaps that’s because the light was illuminating their dismal ratings compared to Fox.

[tags]media bias,Fox News Channel,Howard Wolfson[/tags]

The Other Side of the Scale

When you have a balance scale and you put weight on one side of it, it tilts until you have something on the other side to balance it.  The Fairness Doctrine, that the Left would love to bring back, works on this same principle; opinions being presented should represent all opinions, never mind the ratings.  In essence, this is yet another anti-market-forces argument for what would essentially be government-controlled media. 

What this would really do for discussion on the public airwaves is a topic for another day.  What I’m here to note is that the free market has already worked its magic.  On the Internet, there are plenty of opinions to choose from from the entire spectrum.  No need for a Fairness Doctrine there.  But it’s in TV and radio where Democrats really want this doctrine to work.  Never mind all the liberal bias that has been the monopoly for decades, when Rush Limbaugh (who just signed a $400 milllion contract) and Fox News are mentioned, Democrats suddenly discover media bias, though through polarized lenses, and rant on about anything to the right of Ted Kennedy.

But Limbaugh himself noted that, "I am balance", meaning that with all the liberal bias out there on one side of that balance scale, he was on the other side, working to get the information out that the Left wasn’t.  In total, both sides were finally getting aired.  (And the people have apparently agreed in a big way.)

Which brings us to the latest glaring example of this free market balance in action.  Fox News’ "Special Report with Brit Hume" reported on some extremely good war news last night.

     BRIT HUME: Welcome to Washington. I’m Brit Hume. The White House is giving Congress a new indication of how far Iraq’s leaders have come in hitting performance standards established by the U.S. Chief White House correspondent Bret Baier has the story.

     BRET BAIER: In a new nine-page progress report obtained by Fox, U.S. officials in Iraq assessed that 15 of the 18 original political, security and economic benchmarks set for the Iraqi government are satisfactory, while two are unsatisfactory, and one has a split result. The May 2008 report card has almost twice the number of satisfactory marks than the assessment one year ago when the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker were grilled by Congress over the ’07 report card that showed eight unsatisfactory marks, eight satisfactory marks, and two benchmarks that could not be determined.

Later in the show, there is a discussion segment with folks from the Left and the Right.  During this, Hume made a bold prediction.

     HUME: Let me ask you this question, Mara, before you get to that. Both of you [Mara Liasson and probably Mort Kondrake] suggest that the word of this progress is going to get through. I suspect that this broadcast tonight — and maybe some others on this channel — are the only ones who are going to make a headline out of this. This is not going to be a big story elsewhere.
     LIASSON: I think, over time, if the violence goes down, over time-
     HUME: The violence has gone down.
     LIASSON: Yes, and if it continues to, that’s going to change people’s opinions.

(Emphasis mine.)  The Media Research Center indeed found this to be true.

     Indeed, neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned Iraq while on ABC’s World News anchor Charles Gibson read a short update about "increasing dangers for U.S. troops in Afghanistan" since "in the month of June there were 28 American fatalities in Afghanistan, just one less than died in Iraq last month." CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 was also silent Tuesday night about the benchmarks.

No mention of this improvement, and indeed no mention that the fact that "28 American fatalities in Afghanistan, just one less than died in Iraq last month" means that Iraq casualties are at historic lows for the war.  In this, as in other things, Fox News is the balance the Left says is missing. 

We don’t need a Fairness Doctrine.  We need the free flow of information and opinions that the public can then sort out themselves.  If the mainstream media won’t report thing that don’t fit their narrative, they are not living up to their own stated standards, and have only themselves to blame for the destruction of their market- and mind-share.

[tags]media bias,Fox News,Rush Limbaugh,ABC News,CBS News,NBC News,CNN,Anderson Cooper,Fairness Doctrine,Brit Hume,Mara Liasson,Mort Kondrake[/tags]

"Serious" Journalism

Would a documentary about Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, or Area 51 ever, ever get time on ABC’s Nightline?  You wouldn’t think so.  And yet, Bruce Burgess, who’s done all three, got his own segment on the nighttime news show.

Inconceivable?  Well, when you find out the topic of his most recent movie, it all makes sense.

Over a three day stretch, ABC devoted almost 15 minutes of air-time to a documentary filmmaker who asserts in his movie "Bloodline" that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a massive hoax perpetrated on humanity. Additionally, on Friday’s "Nightline," reporter Elizabeth Vargas left out any mention of the bizarre interests of the film’s director, Bruce Burgess. He’s directed and written documentaries on Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51 and a secretive look at a U.S. government’s supposed cover-up of the alien landings at Roswell.

Are you a conspiracy theorist concerned citizen looking for some face time on the mainstream media?  You, too, can grab the coattails of major news organization and soak in some of their reputation for yourself.  Simple; just trash Christianity.  Trashing Islam may get you killed, but trashing Christianity will get you an audience.

Those coattails are looking pretty tattered.

[tags]ABC News,Nightline,Elizabeth Vargas,Bruce Burgess,Bloodline,Christianity,religion,Bigfoot,Bermuda Triangle,Area 51,Islam,media[/tags]

Are the Primary Debates Necessary?

In the aftermath of Wednesday night’s CNN/You Tube debate debacle, one of the questions that should be asked is whether the primary debates are really necessary?

Yes, CNN bungled the debate. Given how they did during the last Democratic debate, hopes for a dramatic improvement when the Republicans took the stage were grossly misplaced.

Some would argue it was helpful for Republicans to be put on the spot to answer tough questions. While that may be true, Republicans generally face more adversarial questions from the MSM so I don’t know that the debate questions necessarily helped. It struck me that the focus of the debate became more about creating “gotcha” moments that the MSM could endlessly club the candidates with in the coming weeks.

The fact is that this year’s debates have been more like Presidential beauty contests than honest debates designed to bring out not only differences in policy positions between the candidates but reveal their character as well. Rather than focusing on clear policy differences (if there really are any) success in the debates comes down to who can come up with the best soundbite that can be replayed on talk shows and in news reports.

The debates also force voters to focus on who is most “electable” rather than vetting the candidates (think John Kerry in 2004).

As this year’s primary debates come to a close, both parties would be well advised to carefully examine what went wrong during this year’s debates and how they can improve them. It is the only time that Americans get to see their candidates without the benefit of media or campaign spin. Voters need to know who the candidates are and what they stand for. Based on this year’s debates, that’s hard for anyone to figure out.

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