As I begin this post, let me point out one small detail. I do not have a television, so all of my news either comes from the radio (I happen to like NPR, even though I don’t agree with them all the time) or the Internet and the different news websites. I visit FOX News regularly, but I also visit CNN. That being said, I think it is safe to say I try to get both sides of the story, ie. viewpoints from both the right and the left. That doesn’t mean I am trying to decide if I am left, right, or a moderate, I just like to hear what everyone is saying on the issues. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.
I hope no one thinks I am just trying to stir the pot with this post, but I have been thinking about it since I read the interview of President Obama in Rolling Stone. It was brought fresh to my mind yesterday, after a comment by Mike on the McDonald’s story and after watching the video below, which I found at The Current. It is of CNN’s John King and I think it is very telling. I know a lot of people that frequent Political Realities may not care for CNN all that much, but this gives me a grudging respect for John King, at least. It’s not often you hear something like this coming from what some of us call the main stream media, or MSM. That media would include MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NPR, etc. First, watch the video and we will continue below the fold.
In a perfect world, it would be wonderful to have a media that is completely unbiased, but I don’t see that happening. We are all humans, after all, and it is only natural that we will have an opinion on whatever story we decide to report on. I don’t have a problem with that, as long as those who have those opinions are not trying to pass them on to you and me as facts and/or news. I think that is an important distinction to make.
Since shortly after George W. Bush took office in January of 2001, we have seen that bias flare up and blossom into a full-fledged attack from the left. Anyone with an ounce of objectivity can look back and see that the media was very unfair to the man. It’s not that he didn’t deserve some of the criticism, as he did make a lot of mistakes, but I do not believe anyone deserves the treatment he received. They showed him zero respect as the President of the United States.
Fast forward to 2008 and we see Barack Obama running for the Democratic nomination for President. It can not be disputed that he was a media darling for the MSM. They asked him no hard questions, even when when it was revealed that the pastor he had sat under for years was more than just a little radical. He threw him under the bus and the MSM asked no questions. By now, we are all getting used to the fact that the media loves Barack Obama. All of the media except FOX News, that is. As my brother was telling me this morning, FOX seems to be in the habit of getting all over the President if he has the wrong tie on. He thinks it’s funny, given the amount of grief the MSM gave President Bush. Tit for tat, if you will.
In one of yesterday’s posts, I wrote about McDonald’s and the possibility that they were going to drop the health care plan they offer their hourly employees. In the comments on that article, Mike had this to say. I do want to be clear about this, I am not trying to castigate Mike for his comment. He has been the main coauthor on Political Realities for over a year and I respect his writing and his opinions.
Quoting FoxNews again? You should know better.
Let me include now the entire question and answer from the Rolling Stone interview. Read closely what the President had to say.
What do you think of Fox News? Do you think it’s a good institution for America and for democracy?
[Laughs] Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition — it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.
One more quote, this time from White House Deputy Press Secretary, Bill Burton.
“If you’re on the left, if you’re somebody like Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow or one of the folks who helps to keep our government honest and pushes and prods to make sure that folks are true to progressive values, then [the president] thinks that those folks provide an invaluable service,” Burton told reporters.
This is what John King had so much trouble with and he pointed it out in the video. A lot of people watch FOX News, by all accounts more than watch the MSM. This would lead one to believe that those people share their point of view, at least partially. Does that mean the point of view of all those viewers is destructive to our country? I could not disagree more and I find it highly offensive to read those words coming from our President.
There is no doubt that FOX News leans heavily to the right. They do not try to keep it a secret. However, there is a clear difference between their news programs and their opinions. Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, etc., are all opinion shows, but FOX also has programs that are strictly news reports. Does that mean their programming is slanted more to the right? Most certainly, but no more so than media outlets such as MSNBC is slanted to the left.
Did you read what Bill Burton said about Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow? They are one of the folks who are helping keep our government honest, after hearing what they say about average Americans who dislike the direction our government is headed? Give me a break and an aspirin. Does he really think we are buying that? Sorry Mr. Burton, but the majority of America people are not quite so naive.
No, our media is not unbiased, no matter if you are talking about FOX News or MSNBC, etc. What I am getting tired of hearing is FOX being accused of that bias, while allowing the other media outlets a pass. I pride myself on trying to be fair in my assessment of the issues and that includes this issue. Just because FOX News is the one reporting the story, should not disqualify it as serious news and it is unfair to reject it outright. The same goes for the rest of the media, which is why I mainly listen to NPR, even though I disagree with a lot of their opinions. (Yes, they have them too.)