Nov
14
2012

Fox's 'Best Journalistic Instincts' Are Nothing to Write Home About

Fox News' Brit Hume

New York Times media reporter David Carr (11/12/12) had some kind words for Fox News Channel's Election Night coverage: On Tuesday night, the people in charge of Fox News were confronted with a stark choice after it became clear that Mr. Romney had fallen short: was Fox, first and foremost, a place for advocacy or a place for news? In this moment, at least, Fox chose news. After relating the story of Karl Rove's contrarian insistence that Obama had not won Ohio and thus the election–including the oddest part of the story, which is that one of Fox News' featured […]

Jan
18
2012

NYT and the Racism Bog

When a Republican presidential candidate goes around talking about Barack Obama as the "food stamp president," eventually reporters are going to have to write about racism. But how they talk about the issue in instructive. In today's New York Times (1/18/12), Jim Rutenberg has a piece headlined "Risks for GOP in Attacks With Racial Themes," where we learn this about Newt Gingrich's food stamp rhetoric: Mr. Gingrich was clearly making the case that he is the candidate most able to take the fight to Mr. Obama in the fall, but he was also laying bare risks for his party when […]

Jan
18
2012

What Do NPR's Right-Wing Critics Have to Complain About?

David Margolick has an interesting piece about NPR in the new issue of Vanity Fair. He spends much of his time on Juan Williams, but this observation about NPR's right-wing critics is an important observation: Apart from the occasional stories about gays or Palestinians (and maybe even gay Palestinians), there's precious little on NPR these days for conservatives really to hate. For them, despising NPR and cutting off what amounts to the few pennies it collects from the federal budget has increasingly become more a matter of pandering, or habit, or sophomoric sport, than of conviction or serious policy. The […]

Nov
09
2010

FAIR Out There

–On Democracy Now! (11/8/10): While Keith Olbermann's donations became front-page news, little attention has been paid to the massive amount of political spending by MSNBC's parent company General Electric, one of the nation's largest military contractors. Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting reports GE made over $2 million in political contributions in the 2010 election cycle. The top recipient was Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman from Ohio. The company has also spent $32 million on lobbying this year and contributed over $1 million to campaign against a California ballot initiative aimed at eliminating tax loopholes for major corporations. –George Curry, writing […]

Oct
28
2010

Juan Williams' Ethical Duties–and NPR's

A guest post by Frances Cerra Whittelsey, Extra! contributor and journalism scholar: Whether or not Juan Williams is truly a liberal or just playing the role to give Fox an appearance of balance begs the question of whether his comment about fearing Muslims on airplanes justified his firing by NPR. Williams is waving the free speech flag to defend his "honest statement of feeling," as he put it in a statement published online by Fox. He insists he has not shown himself to be a bigot by admitting that fear grips him when he sees Muslims in Muslim garb getting […]

Oct
26
2010

Juan Williams, Fox News Liberal

After being fired by NPR, Juan Williams made an appearance with Fox host Bill O'Reilly (10/21/10) where he explained that he wasn't likely to get support from prominent African-American leaders like Al Sharpton because "I'm not a predictable black liberal." It's not totally clear what he means by that, but Williams does a pretty good job as a Fox News Liberal– i.e., someone willing to attack left-liberal groups and leaders while doing very little topromote an actual left-leaningperspective.This point was echoed in a column penned by Newsmax's Ronald Kessler (10/25/10), who wrote that he's known Williams since the 1970s and […]

Oct
22
2010

With Juan Williams, the Question Is Not Objectivity, but Bigotry

It seems to me that debating Juan Williams' firing from NPR in terms of the role of "opinion" and "objectivity" in journalism is missing the point. Williams has expressed his opinions on Fox News countless times. Other NPR employees frequently express opinions, too, as when Scott Simon wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (10/11/01) comparing opponents of the invasion of Afghanistan to Hitler appeasers; it didn't seem to set back Simon's career any. The reason that Williams' discussion with Bill O'Reilly (O'Reilly Factor, 10/18/10) got him fired, it seems clear to me, is that he sounded like he […]

Oct
22
2010

Juan Williams: NPR Worse than Nixon

There are plenty of opinions flying around about NPR's decision to fireJuan Williams. The Washington Post editorialized against NPR's decision, arguing in part that Williams "undoubtedly spoke for many Americans who are wrestling with similar feelings" about seeing Muslims in airports. (Williams was worried primarily about those in "Muslim garb.") Former Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, now at the Daily Beast website, called it a "blunder of enormous proportions." What I found most puzzling, though, was this passage from Williams' commentary that appeared on FoxNews.com: Daniel Schorr, my fellow NPR commentator who died earlier this year, used to talk […]

Jun
02
2009

Sotomayor Coverage the Very 'Antithesis of Journalism'

Progressive critic Dr. Roberto Rodriguez has a new commentary (New America Media, 6/2/09) demonstrating how the miserable press reaction to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's U.S. Supreme Court "nomination clearly shows us is that what this nation needs is more incisive journalism, not less." But, Rodriguez laments, "to be sure, the rise of right-wing media, which include Fox News and virtually all the known right-wing radio talkshow hosts, is the antithesis of journalism": Their coverage of the Sotomayor nomination points to the need for honest debate, not simply on the issues of race, but on the right wing's aversion to truth. It […]

Feb
17
2009

NPR, Fox Collude to Hide Fake Lefty

Noting that "news organizations often encourage their journalists to appear on other platforms for promotional purposes," former TVNewser Brian Stelter reports (New York Times, 2/15/09) that, "when the National Public Radio analyst Juan Williams speaks on the Fox News Channel's highest-rated program, the radio network doesn't want any attention": Mr. Williams, a longtime political analyst and author, is a paid contributor to both NPR and Fox News. His voice is a prominent one at Fox; he was a panelist for the network's coverage of election night and Inauguration Day. When he appears on the cable channel, he is regularly described […]