Thursday, April 28, 2005

Murdoch: "Prove we're not fair and balanced." Media Matters: "Okay"

I have to say I'm especially proud of one of the sites in the Indie 500 today. Ultraconservative tycoon Rupert Murdoch, in World Screen Magazine, recently issued a challenge:

WS: Of your political views, some people believe that you want to impose a conservative perspective. Then we read that you are actually quite pragmatic and, with FOX News, you just saw an opportunity to serve this group of people that would like to see a more conservative news service.
MURDOCH: We don’t agree with that. We are fair and balanced and we challenge anyone to show FOX News has any bias in it. People appreciate it for a number of reasons: it’s better presented, it’s more entertaining. We are first with the news. We beat CNN time and again on every big story. The major networks have been openly biased to the point of being very leftist. That’s different from being middle-of-the-road. I don’t call myself a conservative. I call myself an independent. Look at who our newspapers have supported. Democrats [in the U.S.] and Labour parties in Australia and Great Britain. They have been the best alternatives for our readers and for the countries that they serve.

Media Matters, being the true investigative reporters that they are, stepped up to the plate with this doozy of a reply:

Dear Mr. Murdoch:

I was intrigued to read your recent statement to World Screen magazine about alleged conservative bias at the Fox News Channel. "We are fair and balanced and we challenge anyone to show Fox News has any bias in it," you said.

My organization, Media Matters for America, has been monitoring the U.S. media, including Fox News, for nearly a year. We try to avoid using the term "bias" in describing news coverage, preferring to focus on the observable content of news stories, rather than try to discern the private attitudes of those who produce them, which amounts to speculation. Still, we can't help noticing a pronounced rightward tilt in your channel's news programs.

Attached you'll find just a few of the many examples that Media Matters has compiled, which demonstrate that conservative voices on Fox far outnumber progressive voices; that Fox anchors, reporters, and ostensibly non-ideological guests routinely inject pro-Republican opinion into "news" programs; and that even Fox's "hard news" anchors and reporters regularly distort the news to further the GOP agenda.

Many more examples of Fox News' promotion of conservative misinformation can be found on the Media Matters website.

Finally, Media Matters responds with a challenge of its own: Because we suspect your challenge was rhetorical, rather than a reflection of a sincere desire to assess Fox News' "balance," I suggest submitting these examples to a mutually-agreed-upon panel for review. Let's let a neutral body, rather than the CEO of Fox News' parent company, decide if Fox News "has any bias in it."


David Brock
President & CEO
Media Matters for America

That's followed by an entire list of examples, all of which are pretty eye-popping, especially for someone who attempts to avoid the channel at all costs (and yes, I have watched it in the past, I just no longer choose to waste my time with it). Kudos to MM!

Posted by crimnos @ 8:19 AM