4.11.2009

"Fair and balanced" Fox News aggressively promotes Tea Party

From Media Matters:

Despite its repeated insistence that its coverage is "fair and balanced" and its invitation to viewers to "say 'no' to biased media," in recent weeks, Fox News has frequently aired segments encouraging viewers to get involved with "tea party" protests across the country, which the channel has often described as primarily a response to President Obama's fiscal policies. Specifically, Fox News has in dozens of instances provided attendance and organizing information for future protests, such as protest dates, locations and website URLs. Fox News websites have also posted information and publicity material for protests. Fox News hosts have repeatedly encouraged viewers to join them at several April 15 protests that they are attending and covering; during the April 6 edition of Glenn Beck, on-screen text characterized these events as "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties." Tea-party organizers have used the planned attendance of the Fox News hosts to promote their protests. Fox News has also aired numerous interviews with protest organizers. Moreover, Fox News contributors are listed as "Tea Party Sponsor[s]" on TaxDayTeaParty.com. Media Matters for America has compiled the following analysis of Fox News' promotion of the tea-party protests. (Most transcripts are taken from the Nexis database.)

Protests responding to administration policies

While tea-party organizers have stated that the protests are nonpartisan, Fox News and organizers have also characterized the protests primarily as a response to the administration's fiscal policies.

TaxDayTeaParty.com -- which describes itself as the "Online HQ for the April 15th Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party Rallies" -- states: "The Tea Party protests, in their current form, began in early 2009 when Rick Santelli, the On Air Editor for CNBC, set out on a rant to expose the bankrupt liberal agenda of the White House Administration and Congress. Specifically, the flawed 'Stimulus Bill' and pork filled budget."

Fox News personalities have repeatedly characterized the protests primarily as a response to the Obama administration's fiscal policies. For instance:

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