In a 2001 study, FAIR found that in its regular one-on-one interviews, Fox News' flagship news show Special Report With Brit Hume favored Republican guests over Democrats by a greater than 8-to-1 ratio. After the FAIR report, Hume told the New York Times (7/2/01) that if the data warranted, he would rectify the bias: "If it is a reasonable question, and we find that there is some imbalance, then weÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢ll correct it." A 2002 follow-up study (Extra!, 7-8/02) showed some improvement–a mere 3-to-2 bias in favor of GOP over Democratic guests–but by 2004, FAIR showed, the ratio had crept back up to a 5-to-1 advantage for Republicans.
Last night, in an attempt to rebut White House communications director Anita Dunn's recent claim that Fox News "often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," Fox News' Bill OÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢Reilly brought on Brit Hume as an expert on media bias (O'Reilly Factor, 10/12/09).
Hume claimed that Fox doesnÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t feature "very many people who are down-the-line advocates for whatever the Republican party is up to," and that "the Republican party takes a fair amount of fairly sharp criticism on Fox News and has for a long time." Hume offered no evidence and ignored the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
And, though it is beside the point of whether or not Fox News is an arm of the GOP, Hume wheeled out Fox's old attack on the rest of the corporate media. Citing his pre-Fox career at outlets like ABC News, Hume told OÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢Reilly: "It wasn't that I couldn't report the news in the way that I saw fit. It was that I often had to argue for doing it a different way than the headlines on the front page of the New York Times seemed to direct the network coverage."
With bias experts like Hume, one might wonder if Fox would feature the Unabomber as an expert on domestic terrorism. Certainly no one can say that Hume didn't get to report the news the way he "saw fit" at Fox.