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Ben Johnson

Some (More) Inconvenient Truths About Fox News

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Posted on October 23 2009 3:25 am

Last night, one of my fellow bloggers made a case that Fox News cannot be considered a right-wing propaganda mill, because it is the home of a number of left-of-center commentators. This developed an argument I made earlier this week that “part of Fox’s advantage [is that] it also employs center-Left commentators like Juan Williams, Alan Colmes, Bob Beckel, Geraldo, and (I’ve always assumed) Greta.” But it goes beyond Fox’s guest list and Saul Alinsky‘s advice to “personalize” the target. The White House smear campaign is not merely shameless and unseemly; it is anti-historical.

Carl Cameron, the chief political reporter of this “Republican propaganda machine,” broke the George W. Bush drunk driving story on the eve of the 2000 election. Four years later, Fox reported Dick Cheney’s one-time advocacy to lift sanctions against Iran while he chaired Halliburton. And Fox did not skimp on stories about Halliburton.

Compare that with the record of the dinosaur media. (Why call them “mainstream”? What’s mainstream about organizations whose viewership is disappearing almost as fast as their credibility?) To date, they have avoided reporting anything of substance about Van Jones‘ Communist history, ACORN‘s willingness to facilitate El Salvadoran underage prostitution, or the White House campaign to politicize the National Endowment for the Arts.

Even when the media report facts, their analysis invariably turns the facts on their head. I mention on such instance in my story today on FrontPage Magazine, concerning a union lobbyist with ties to ACORN whom President Obama appointed to the National Labor Relations Board….

SEIU/AFL-CIO lawyer Craig Becker’s record of extremism inspired Sen. John McCain to put a hold on the nomination. In reporting the story, Sam Hananel of the Associated Press happily picked up the White House talking points in its attempt to to “neuter” the Chamber of Commerce, coincidentally mentioning McCain’s “remarks echoed complaints by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens of business groups that claim Becker’s views are ‘out of the mainstream.’” But when Hananel quoted Tom Harkin twice in the same piece, he does not say Harkin’s words “echoed pleas from ACORN, the AFL-CIO, and dozens of other left-wing groups who have said Becker is their ‘secret weapon.’”

Just review AP’s inverting the reality of U.S. casualties in Iraq, the New York Times‘s coverage of a massive terror plot in New York City, or the way an antiwar official’s leaking of Valerie Plame’s name to Bob Novak (RIP) is still spun as dastardly White House spite. (Chris Matthews pinned Armitage’s slip on Dick “CHEE-nee” just last night. Again.) For more on the media’s confused priorities, see here, here and here.

The lions of the old media still imagine a world where the president sits in front of three televisions to watch all three six o’clock news programs at once. Today, no one the president’s age watches the network news.

Nor are they missing anything.

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