By Ryan Self, Student Reporter
It pains me to say this, especially as someone who was glued to Fox News his freshman year, but I recently have come to the conclusion that much of the political commentary on the cable news channel is biased. Or at the very least, not fair and balanced.
Fox News initially was created by Roger Ailes, a Republican political strategist for the Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr. campaigns, in order to seize on a market that traditionally catered to political stances left of the center. It often receives some of the highest ratings on cable because it gives a voice to conservatives who often feel slighted by the “liberal media.”
Before Fox News, viewers were subjected to the rantings of on-air personalities like Keith Olbermann, who actually blogs on the far left Web site, dailykos.com. Anyone who has seen his show, Countdown, might be confused as to whether he was discussing the United States’ public policy or the atrocities committed by the Nazi party or communist Russia. Now they have the option to listen to the likes of Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck if they want to see rants of the conservative variety (sorry, “libertarian” rants if you are talking about Beck).
For years, Fox was able to point to Hannity and Colmes as an example of fair and balanced reporting. The issues of the day were discussed by a conservative on the right and a liberal on the left. Even that premise had flaws. The show featured the charismatic, jovial and telegenic Sean Hannity, who resembled someone you might see at your church family picnic opposite the crypt keeper. Now the crypt keeper has passed, it is just Hannity. Not exactly fair or balanced.
Along with the show formerly known as Hannity and Colmes, few shows have bolstered Fox’s ratings more than the O’Reilly Factor. Although Bill O’Reilly’s political stance is debatable (and he will debate you on it), his guest hosts’ political positions are not. First there is frequent guest host Laura Ingram, former Reagan speechwriter and prominent conservative talk radio host. The late Tony Snow, former White House Press Secretary under George Bush and regular guest host to the Rush Limbaugh Show, became a permanent fill-in host for the O’Reilly Factor in early 2008.
However, Tony Snow was not the only former member of the Bush administration to frequently appear on the O’Reilly Factor and Fox News. Karl Rove, infamous Republican strategist and Deputy Chief of Staff under George W. Bush, is now a prominent contributor to the Fox News Channel.
Of course there is also Mike Huckabee, who after running for the Republican nomination for president found his own hour-long primetime show on the news network. Have you noticed a pattern? They are all conservative. Do not worry though, there is always Alan Colmes to balance it out…oh wait, never mind.
It is impossible to argue that any news organization can be completely “fair and balanced.” Every journalist, despite his or her best intentions, has some level of bias. But it seems as if Fox News is not even trying, but do not tell Bill O’Reilly that; he might cut off your microphone.
Donald Philip Simpson
posted 4/17/09 @ 11:46 AM CST
“Is a news network that continually has to state that it is fair and balanced… really?” – Jon Stewart
NO news network should be owned by an entertainment corporation or publicly traded company. That pretty much sums up all news networks as the bottom line is not the news, but rather making a profit.
posted 4/17/09 @ 9:14 PM CST
I am not a fan of fox news. So many people take every word that they say at face value and never question whether or not it is actually true. It is really sad how many grown adults buy into all the fox news propaganda. I wish that news networks would just state the facts instead of coloring the story with their own opinions and then telling viewers exactly what they should be thinking about the issue.
posted 4/18/09 @ 3:44 PM CST
So now where is the article about all of the “slightly” liberal news channels? Or about how the optimist is liberal. There’s a story.
posted 5/01/09 @ 2:39 AM CST
i totally agree. cant there be a republican news channel. you have msnbc, cnn, and all the rest of those networks. its not like we complain about how those stations are around. we just complain on what they say on those stations. i have been called a retarded racist redneck on msnbc the other day, and they allowed it. i dont look at fox and think of their fair and balanced thing as a left and right thing. i think of it as a liberty vs big government thing that they report on. plus cant being fair and balanced mean balancing out between other networks. they arent fair and balanced in a PC manner is all
posted 4/24/09 @ 2:40 PM CST
So what if all the hosts are “conservative”? Does that mean they are totally incapable of reporting news as “news” itself? Since when do they (ok… besides O’Reilly) try to interject their opinion into reporting? Sure, they have debates on what is right and wrong, but does this necessarily imply a bias? I feel you are getting CNN (aka the Communist News Network) mixed up with Fox News until you provide evidence of such accusations…
posted 4/27/09 @ 10:42 PM CST
This article is ignorant at best. Shep Smith, Brit Baier and Greta Van Susteren are all liberals. As a matter of fact, media watchdog outlets have repeatedly produced content analysis surveys that show the organization typically slants to the left. I’m sure that Ryan prefers to consume the “unbiased” outlets such as The New York Times, MSNBC or CNN!
Colmes wasn’t necessary anyway. All he did was spout the kind of liber-tard leftist garbage that’s on every other channel. You’re right though, Fox is what happens when someone applies BUSINESS logic to a BUSINESS. The other networks are failing MISERABLY (fact, check the ratings), because they continue to try to push the junk no one is buying (aka leftist propaganda and lies). In the process they are putting themselves out of business.
I guess I’m just a little confused as to why this article ever passed the desk test. Besides, everyone knows you can’t be a Christian and a democrat! Hahaha. Or do you exclude topics like murder, ummm…I mean abortion and envy for your neighbor? Dang it! There are those pesky ten commandments again!
posted 4/28/09 @ 8:03 PM CST
ALL news networks are biased. In fact, international news networks are just as biased- we Americans don’t realize it, but they’re at least blatent about it (i.e., The Guardian vs The Times). Newspapers are biased (the major ones; I’m not implying anyone’s hometown newspaper is…). News organizations are biased.
And just to put this out in the open, I am fully aware of the blatent bias CNN has, as well as other networks that people hate. I also agree with this article- Fox News is just as biased. I don’t watch 24-hours news networks, because they fill me with bile at the idiocy of talking heads. You want the truth, the news without bias? You won’t find it from any one source. Read all sides- somewhere in the middle of liberal leanings and conservative diatribe, you’ll find out what really happened.
Finally, it troubles me that this article was so quickly attacked as “liberal leftist” propaganda. So much for us learning the lessons of Christ at this school- it’s obviously a waste of time when it comes to thinking critically about all sides of an issue.
posted 4/30/09 @ 7:17 PM CST
What about the networks that slant to the left like MSNBC with their liberal commentators like Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow, and Chris Matthews. It is interesting you are talking about FOX not being fair and balanced. Perhaps you should have looked at the other side with other networks to avoid being hypocritical yourself.
posted 5/01/09 @ 8:09 AM CST
I think is is funny that Ryan thinks that Fox News is bias….what about CNN, MSNBC, ABC & NBC? Talk about bias to the liberal side….CBS is wishy-washy. These news channels can’t get enough of Obama….he has spent how many hours on TV since being elcected? More than Clinton & George W. combined.
It is up to each individual to seach out the truth for themselves, from your Bible professors to the news media. Remember, “You Shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.
posted 5/02/09 @ 3:15 AM CST
ALL news channels are biased. Every single one. There is no unbiased news source.
“I guess I’m just a little confused as to why this article ever passed the desk test. Besides, everyone knows you can’t be a Christian and a democrat! Hahaha. Or do you exclude topics like murder, ummm…I mean abortion and envy for your neighbor? Dang it! There are those pesky ten commandments again!”
Will — Your above quoted comments are inflammatory and offensive. I am a Christian and a Liberal. I guarantee you that Jesus was neither a Liberal nor a Conservative. For anyone to put Christians to a “what political party are you?!” litmus test is both ignorant and incredibly offensive. Not to me as a Liberal, but to me as a Christian. I believe we are called to love one another, not to judge one another, and political affiliation all too often interferes with that. We can argue until we’re blue in the face as to which political party is “more Christian” and we’ll leave thinking “I’m right”. There is no answer to the Liberal vs. Conservative argument, period. It’s all a matter of opinion.
To think that any news channel is going to spoon feed you anything fair and unbiased is childish. Exploration is your friend. Research is your friend. You cannot depend on Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann or Stone Phillips to deliver unbiased news. Get online or out in the world, read some books, learn about the laws of our country (and other countries for that matter), read all you can about the current and past administrations and make informed judgments for yourself. You have to take everything the media gives you with a grain of salt.
posted 5/06/09 @ 8:31 PM CST
I did PROVE one thing: liberals have absolutely no sense of humor (Hahaha used to identify joke). Your argument as to whether or not Jesus was a liberal or a conservative is simply a tried-and-true distraction used all too often by Christians who identify themselves as liberals.
You know all too well that your adherence to at least some liberal policies is in fact un-Christian and therefore you try to prevent the reader from focusing on the real ideology under the microscope. Instead, let me ask you this:
Would Jesus vote YES for abortion?
Before replying with more name calling or anger, really think about that.
Just wanted to give those reading this board something to think about. Can we as Christians identify ourselves as members of a group of people that support a policy which has resulted in over 40,000,000 murders since 1973.
We’ll leave the other 9 commandments alone for now.
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