06/01/2005: The truth will out....
But, as Tim Noah tells us, the MSM doesn't seem to be picking up on this significant admission: Fox News Admits Bias!
Sound the klaxons! Corporate Message breakdown at Fox News! This is not a drill. Repeat: This is not a drill. Assume battle stations! Fire in the hole! A-woo-ga! A-woo-ga!
The usually disciplined foot soldiers at Fox News have long maintained that their news organization is not biased in favor of conservatism. This charade is so important to Fox News that the company has actually sought to trademark the phrase "fair and balanced" (which is a bit like Richard Nixon trademarking the phrase "not a crook"). No fair-minded person actually believes that Fox News is unbiased, so pretending that it is calls for steely corporate resolve. On occasion, this vigilance pays off. Last year, for example, the Wall Street Journal actually ran a correction after its news pages described Fox News, accurately, as "a network sympathetic to the Bush cause and popular with Republicans." Getting one of this country's most prestigious newspapers to state that up is down and black is white is no small public-relations victory, and if we can't admire Fox News' candor, we can at least marvel at its ability to remain on message. Or rather, we could admire it, before Scott Norvell went and shot his big mouth off.
Norvell is London bureau chief for Fox News, and on May 20 he let the mask slip in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal. So far, the damage has been contained, because Norvell's comments—in an op-ed he wrote decrying left-wing bias at the BBC—appeared only in the Journal's European edition. But Chatterbox's agents are everywhere.
Here is what Norvell fessed up to in the May 20 Wall Street Journal Europe:Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren't subsidizing Bill's bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don't enjoy that peace of mind.Norvell never says the word "conservative" in describing "where [Fox's anchorpeople] stand on particular stories," or what Fox's viewers "know … they are getting." But in context, Norvell clearly is using the example of Fox News to argue that political bias is acceptable when it isn't subsidized by the public (as his op-ed's target, the leftish BBC, is), and when the bias is acknowledged. Norvell's little joke about clubbing lefties to death should satisfy even the most literal-minded that the bias Norvell describes is a conservative one. (Lord only knows where Norvell acquired the erroneous belief that Fox News is "honest" about its conservative slant; perhaps he's so used to Fox's protestations of objectivity being ignored that he literally forgot that they continue to be uttered.)
Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That's our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb's institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it.
Len on 06.01.05 @ 08:14 AM CST