May
22
2009

False Balance Alive & Well in Environmental Coverage

Jonathan Hiskes of Grist–who recently exposed "The NYT's Favorite 'Climate Change Denier'"–has now (5/13/09) caught Fox News giving airtime to Marc Morano's charge of Al Gore "profiting off global warming campaign" : Say you're a harried cable news producer with 24 gaping hours to fill with finished material every day of the week. Say you're constantly in need of articulate guests to offer a diversity of viewpoints. How do you do it? One way is to take up offers like this one from the PR folks representing Marc Morano. Refresher: Morano was formerly an aid to climate-change-denier-in-chief James Inhofe (GOP […]

May
05
2009

Greg Mitchell on Fox's 'Grassrootsy' Astroturf

Just one highlight in Brad Jacobson's wide-ranging interview of Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell (Media Bloodhound, 5/5/09) is Mitchell's scorn for "media coverage of the anti-tax tea parties": Greg Mitchell: Most amazing was that they tended to treat it like protests in the past. There have been national abortion rights protests and immigration rights protests and of course anti-war protests and everything spread out around the country. But never, that I'm aware of, has there ever been protests like this that were essentially promoted by a major news organization, that is Fox, who were actually promoting it, not just saying […]

Apr
01
2009

The 'Serious Journalistic Conflicts' of Fox's Van Susteren

Blogging on "Greta Van Susteren's defensive response" to reports "saying that one of the reasons that Sarah Palin has been caught up in a 'series of public relations gaffes' is because she is 'taking advice from Greta and her husband,'" major GOP booster John Coale, the Huffington Post's Geoffrey Dunn (3/29/09) thinks the Fox News host "Doth Protest Too Much": Let me give Van Susteren her due. This is a serious charge of direct professional misconduct, and there should have been more than a throwaway line from an unnamed source to back it up. The allegation begs further questioning. But […]

Feb
13
2009

Fox and GOP: Time-Traveling Companions

Media Matters writer Eric H. Hananok notices (2/10/09) something fishy about an airing of the Fox News show Happening Now in which host Jon Scott introduced an overview of the government stimulus bill's development thus: "We thought we'd take a look back at the bill, how it was born, and how it grew, and grew, and grew." As Scott "referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources," Hananok astutely recognized the fact that they "were also contained in a February 10 press release issued by the Senate Republican Communications Center." The clincher: One on-screen graphic during the segment […]

Feb
10
2009

D'Oh! Reilly Factor

After President Obama's press conference last night, Fox host Bill O'Reilly saw one to scorepoints against the White House–by mocking Obama forrelying ona list of pre-approved journalists when he took questions. Unfortunately for O'Reilly, his guest at the time was former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who had to point out that this was… well, exactly the way Bush did things. O'REILLY: Look, he had those guys listed, written down, who he was going to call. Now, in other press conferences, they just look around, and they go, "Oh, right, right, right!" And they go, "This one, that one, this […]

Feb
06
2009

Dewey Defeats Truman; AP Hopes to Defeat 1st Amendment

We noted recently Fox News' peculiar understanding of the Fair Use doctrine, which allows writers, artists and others to make reasonable use of copyrighted material so long as they don't infringe on the copyright owners' commercial rights; Fox interprets this to mean that critics should only be allowed to make use of Fox video if Fox is allowed to sell ads to run alongside the criticism. Now another corporate media company is making strange claims against Fair Use. The Associated Press is claiming that the well-known "HOPE" poster of Barack Obama violates its copyright, because artist Shepard Fairey used an […]

Jan
06
2009

The Essential Colmesishness of Alan Colmes

Two things strike me about this appearance by Alan Colmes on the Colbert Report: One, the fact that he would take part with good humor in a humiliating joke that's on him illustrates why he was the perfect person to play the role of the Liberal To Be Named Later. Second, it's remarkable that even in the parts where he's presumably expressing his own opinions–rather than the pre-scripted expressions of adulation handed to him by Colbert–he's still manages, reflexively, to come up with the perfect Fox News Democrat position: He agrees with Colbert on the issue at hand, but produces […]

Dec
01
2008

Why 'Hannity and Cohen' Wasn't

Commenter milo janus reacts to a Michael Calderone Politico.com piece (11/24/08) on Alan Colmes' arguably inconsequential departure from Fox News' long-running Hannity & Colmes: Word had it some years ago that Jeff Cohen, founder of the liberal media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (who was also producer of the Donahue show on MSNBC right after he got booted from the network for being too critical of the build-up to the Iraq War), had often had spirited off-camera debates with Hannity during his years as a commentator. Jokes about a possible Hannity and Cohen show were squashed when Colmes […]

Nov
20
2008

'I Knew He Knew Who I Was'

Glenn Beck has been telling a personal story illustrating what he says is a particularly intense level of hatred on the left. According to the newly signed Fox News host, he was verbally assaulted by a truck driver while standing in line at a Wendy's restaurant at a truck stop. Writing on his blog, Beck says the truck driver called him a "racist bigot," blaming the talk show host and conservatives "for everything." Wrote Beck, "The hatred was palpable." As his security detail stood between him and his assailant, Beck says the truck driver ended his rant by threatening to […]

Nov
18
2008

Hawks and 'Naive' Doves

On Fox News Sunday (11/16/08), NPR reporter Mara Liasson offered her take (which was essentially the same as neo-con co-panelist Bill Kristol) on why picking Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State would be good for Barack Obama: In terms of Obama, I think he wants–it would send a lot of important signals. Number one, she is hawkish, as Bill pointed out. He has to kind of put to rest this notion that he was naive, which, of course, came from her during the campaign. Sheâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s hawkish, which will balance out his naiveté. If this is supposed to be a reference […]

Nov
14
2008

Ailes: Fox Will Do Fine Pushing Obama Scandals

Interesting catch by digby from Broadcasting & Cable (11/10/08), which was talking to Fox News chief Roger Ailes about what happens to Fox's ratings post-election: "I think cable numbers overall will drop, although there is a fascination with Obama," says Ailes. But he sees light at the end of the tunnel: Historically, the dawning of a new administration brings a renewed level of scrutiny from the media and interest from viewersâ┚¬”something Ailes is looking forward to. "I remember when Bill Clinton took over and within a very short time he had to get rid of a couple of appointees," he […]

Nov
10
2008

What Will Fox News Do?

There's been a fair amount of speculation about what Fox News Channel will doin the new political climate.The online teaser for tonight's edition of the O'Reilly Factor gives us some sense of the, uhh, future: Monday, November 10: â┚¬Ã‚¢ The Factor confronts Rev. Jeremiah Wright! You won't want to miss it!

Nov
02
2008

False Balance, TV Critic Style

New York Times TV reporter Jim Rutenberg (11/2/08) tries to make a case that Fox News and MSNBC are (in Tom Rosenstiel's words) "reverse images of each other." Here are the actual quotes used by Rutenberg to demonstrate this supposed parallelism–first, Ann Coulter on Fox (10/30/08): I feel like we are talking to the Germans after Hitler comes to power, saying, "Oh, well, I didn't know." And then Chris Matthews on MSNBC (10/29/08), addressing those who wouldn't vote for Obama because he's black: He's been a good father, a good citizen, he's paid attention to his country…. Give the guy […]