Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fox News Isn't Biased

The New Yorker could be biased. The New York Times? Maybe. Fox News? Not at all -- and I'm serious. See, you have to tell the truth, in some form, in order to be biased. "Biased" is showing unfair preference. Outright lies are something else. For example, Sean Hannity puts on a known anti-semite, Andy Martin, to discuss Obama's supposed ties to William Ayers and then claims it's because he "interviews people with whom [he] disagrees." Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs called out Hannity for giving a bigot a forum, but what he should have also pointed out was the plain fact that Hannity had agreed with Martin on his show. O'Reilly, of course, isn't bound by facts either, engaging in the complete lie that Barney Frank escaped blame for the housing mortgage crisis because he was gay. Again, both a lie and an appeal to bigotry.

In fact, if I've seen anything unfair in the news lately it's the media's lack of what our Mexican neighbors call "cojones." Take, for example, the NY Times running a front page piece on Obama's ties to William Ayers which concluded that there were no ties -- in other words, non-news. Or the media (CNN, NY Times) headlines proclaiming variations of "Campaign Gets Ugly." Now, I know Obama went on the attack as well with the Keating five scandal documentary. However, what the Obama camp put out was true -- McCain was involved in a lobbying scandal involving the financial industry. The McCain camp claims, that Obama has ties to terrorists or supports what Reverend Wright said, are demonstrably false. Why can't the newspapers simply call a spade a spade and point out that the McCain campaign is desperate -- and dare I say, erratic in a crisis? In fact, I'm happy to say that the NY Times finally did just that. However, my point is that it still doesn't make them biased to call an ugly campaign ugly.

This reminds me of what a law professor I had once said about the Nuremberg Trials. Although a hallmark of international justice, the Nuremberg Trials are often criticized as nothing more than "victor's justice" -- the same logic, in fact, that is applied to war crimes tribunals today. This professor made the very good point that some times, unfortunately, people are just that guilty. In other words, were the mainstream media to call the McCain campaign unethical and point out that they are distracting from real issues it wouldn't be bias -- it would be that they are just that guilty. So yes, maybe the media is biased -- but just not in the way conservatives had less us to believe. And as for Fox, since it can't even be trusted to report the truth it's not biased -- it's simply not news. In fact, I like to think of Fox as a giant media lobby group -- or something ignorant people watch to feel comforted in their own previously held biases.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just thinking now: McCain wan't to buy up mortgages? Doesn't he already own enough houses?

Steve K said...

You have it dead on about FOX, it really has little to do with news, it is rather the public relations arm of the RNC. Check it out, watch the republicans and FOX use the exact same talking points word for word, comma for comma, within seconds of each other. It is obviously transparent but I guess some people need to justify their nonsense someway and FOX provides this for them. It is kind of pathetic when you think about it.

Jeffz said...

Fox news programs have changed history. They were instrumental in turning the perception that Bush had won Florida in 2000. They know they can influence the national perception of the candidates or as they might say "shape reality". This is fine tuned propaganda that hopefully affects fewer and fewer viewers. The question is can legislation or regulation change this kind of abuse. There are all kinds of rules about what information government agencies can disseminate in the U.S. There should be better standards for what Republican propaganda can be broadcast.