Eric Burns: Fox News *Is* the Story

Media Matters Eric Burns explains in gory detail, why Fox "news" IS the story, not the White House's supposed war on them:

[...]The issue is not whether it was a good idea politically for the White House to say that the emperor has no clothes. The issue is that the emperor actually has no clothes. In other words, the administration's comments about Fox News aren't the story. Fox News is the story.


Criticizing Fox News has nothing to do with criticizing the press. Fox News is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it was treated as such by our nation's media.

The evidence supporting such a reality is overwhelming. To begin with, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has described his station's confrontation with the Obama administration as "the Alamo." Fox News senior vice president Bill Shine said Fox was "the voice of opposition." In other words, the entire operation has an explicit political agenda, not just a few hosts. There is no separation between Fox News’ "opinion" programming and its "news" programs. Bret Baier's Special Report, the closest show Fox News has to a straight newscast, portrays Obama in a negative light 77 percent of the time, according to a recent study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

But the story goes well beyond the conservative bias Fox News has historically reflected. Like all major political entities, Fox News is now coordinating grassroots (or, more accurately, astroturf) political activities, lobbying for or against legislation, and fundraising for conservative causes. The network called April's protests "Fox News Tea Parties." It encouraged people to attend town halls last summer and then broadcast only the statements of those who opposed Democratic health care proposals. The 9/12 rally in Washington was the work of Beck, who claimed that 1.7 million people showed up (it was actually closer to 70,000). A video soon emerged of one of the station's producers coaching marchers before a live "report" from the scene.


The impact of Fox News’ long campaign of misinformation should concern any citizen. Fox has repeatedly misinformed its viewers on everything from the non-existent connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda to the contents of health care reform legislation. Such misinformation can have serious consequences, and Fox News should be called out for propagating it.

There is nothing wrong with the White House standing up to its most powerful, unprincipled, and self-declared political opponent, one that clearly started this fight. And beyond politics, there certainly isn't anything wrong with exposing an organization that unapologetically harms our democracy by poisoning our national discourse with falsehoods on an hourly basis.

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