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Tuesday, May 31, 2005 

Fox News - Biased?

Fair and balanced.....Fair and balanced...

Fox News Admits Bias!
Its London bureau chief blurts out the political slant that dare not speak its name.


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.

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.

Hmmm. This "debate" will never die. Well actually it isn't a debate as there really is only one side - the truth. And yes the truth is that Fox News is biased. As a black person I will not and can not defend Fox News's political stance - but as an occasional Fox employee (that's Fox not Fox News - 2 different stations) I feel it's my job to point out that Fox like any other for-profit company is in the business of making money. Every media outlet is slanted in one way or another - the New York Times for instance is blatantly leftist, as the Fox News London Bureau Chief stated so is the BBC - now everyone would love news outlets to be objective, sure - but we'd probably all like gas to be cheaper, and luxury cars and diamonds to be free - that's not how the world works. Let me ask you this, if you have a company and have your own personal beliefs, and find it profitable to push your own agenda to people with your same beliefs, wouldn't you do just that? Once again, I'm not saying it's right or wrong. But instead of griping, how about people create alternatives. I applaud slate.com for bringing this tired "debate" another resurrection but we all get the point. The true question is, "what now?"

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