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Jewish World Review
Nov. 5, 2009
/ 18 Mar-Cheshvan 5770
Fox Fever The Latest Pandemic
I spoke at a recent town hall forum. The many issues discussed included
the Obama administration's attack on Fox News. Later, one of the
audience members came up to me and sneered, "Well, even you must admit
that Fox News is biased in favor of Republicans."
Separate the opinion guys from the news deliverers. Does Fox focus on
stuff that the others MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS do not? Yes. Is
that stuff more critical of liberals and less critical of conservatives?
The best gauge is who watches these stations. Fox News Channel, as a
percentage of viewers, includes more self-described libs and indies than
CNN or MSNBC includes self-described conservatives and indies. Pew
Research Center recently studied the cable channels' viewers' politics.
CNN? Fifty-one percent liberal, 23 percent independent and 18 percent
conservative. MSNBC? Forty-five percent liberal, 27 percent independent
and 18 percent conservative. Don't know about the "fair" part, but Fox's
audience was the most "balanced," with 39 percent conservatives, 33
percent liberals and 22 percent independents.
I know from my appearances that the audiences differ at least as to
the e-mail I receive.
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When I appear on Fox, as I did to promote my latest book, "What's Race
Got to Do with It," I get mostly approving e-mail. When I get one that
disagrees, the writer points out using facts, information or
analogies what, in his or her opinion, undermines my position. But
when I appear on Wolf Blitzer's CNN show oh, man! Hundreds of
hostile e-mails accuse me of everything but the Lincoln assassination.
Only rarely, such as when someone took exception to the book's premise
that white racism no longer poses a potent or even significant
factor in America does anyone argue intelligently, with facts or
information. It's snarl, attack, name-call.
On a recent appearance on Ed Schultz's MSNBC show, I opposed Obamacare
or tried to, given the host's interruptions. The e-mails I received
The White House loathes Fox News. President Obama pointedly excluded Fox
while appearing on ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Obama's communications
director, on CNN, complained about Fox's year-old coverage of Obama's
campaign. But a Pew Research Center study found that during the last six
weeks of the campaign, 61 percent of CNN's stories on John McCain were
negative, compared with 39 percent on Obama. On MSNBC, 73 percent of
McCain stories were negative, while only 14 percent of stories on Obama
were negative. But 40 percent of Fox News' stories on Obama and 40
percent of those on McCain aired during the final six weeks of the race
were negative. So, of the three major cable news networks, who can
legitimately claim to be more "fair and balanced"?
But let's assume, for the sake of argument, Fox News slants toward
conservatives. On one side stand conservative talk radio, Investor's
Business Daily and some conservative/libertarian publications, writers,
bloggers and, yes, Fox News. On the other stand The New York Times, the
Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution and even the news section of The Wall
Street Journal, as well as the editorial pages of virtually every
big-city newspaper. It includes PBS, NPR, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC.
In the 1992 presidential election, for example, almost 90 percent of
Washington-based journalists admitted to voting for Bill Clinton for
But because Fox News is allegedly biased in favor of conservatives,
critics whine like children whose lunch money got snatched.
Conservatives have been pummeled for decades. Now that Fox News and
conservative talk radio give people alternatives, critics squeal as if
Is Fox skeptical about the "bailout" and Cash for Clunkers or more
likely to blame government rather than "greed" for the housing meltdown?
Yes. Does Fox appear to focus more on Obama's dithering over his top
Afghanistan commander's request for the troops the general thinks
necessary to succeed? Yes. The better question is, why aren't the others
doing the same thing? The double standards and pro-liberal negligence
are mind-boggling. If media malpractice were a crime, many "reporters"
would be on death row.
When the Obama administration claimed 640,000 jobs were "saved or
created" with $159 billion of the "stimulus," many "news" outlets
blithely "reported" this. Do you know that comes to $250,000 per job?!!!
And the administration claimed half the jobs were teachers. How many
teachers make $250,000 per year? Very little skepticism. Why didn't
"journalists" immediately challenge this as a matter of who, what,
where, when and why? If George W. Bush had done this (God forbid he'd
have supported an $800 billion stimulus package), the mainstream media
would have and should have said, "Why, that comes to $250K per
But as to Fox News, it's BMW bitch, moan and whine. Oh, the humanity!
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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose."
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