Let’s be clear about what the Obama Administration has done in the past few weeks. They have engaged in an attempt to vilify, discredit, and demean the most widely viewed news channel, Fox News. Much of the analysis regarding this unprecedented display of partisanship has been focused around the effects this may have on the Administration’s approval ratings, or whether or not this will actually help the powerful news station attract more viewers. Some progressives are wondering if this posturing against Fox News is a showy attempt to appease Obama’s base, short of having any concrete accomplishments that they regard as necessary changes. I have not heard any substantive debate regarding the notion that Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party, a claim that is far from the truth.
As Johnny noted previously, Fox News viewership obliterates its competitors during the entire day. Like them or not, they are a force within our insidious 24 hour news cycle. Bring in President Obama. During the campaign and after the election, President Obama pledged to forge a post-racial and post-partisan era of Hope and Change. With racial tensions seemingly at a tipping point, now the idea of a post partisan era has withered away as well. Any chance of the two political sides conforming into a harmonious faction of peaceful, one world loving groups is gone with Obama’s war on Fox News, effectively drawing a Line in the Sand. My point here is not to expose the blatant hypocrisy within the administration and amongst the liberal news media, nor to question whether this is a diversion to appease its progressive base, but more so to address the charge that Fox News is somehow an ideological channel that consistently toes the party line.
I am not the biggest fan of Fox News, and there are a few points that I will concede to the channel’s haters. First of all, I do not need hot chicks to make me interested in a news story, and I don’t need constant plugging and teasers up upcoming stories to keep my mind on track. If anything, hearing Sean Hannity repeatedly say, “Up Next, the brutal beating of a high school student CAUGHT ON TAPE!” (only to see the 7 second snippet 45 minutes later) is a natural deterrent for me to ever watch his show again. The third point I will concede is that yes, coming up to the election and shortly after, FNC did make a minor shift further right. The addition of Glenn Beck to its lineup and the leaving of Alan Colmes from the Hannity and Colmes show did add two full hours of typically right-minded analysis.
Unfortunately, neither of these points some how validates the administration attempting to bully other news agencies to somehow boycott FNC. Glenn Beck, often times more libertarian than republican, takes ample time on his show to rail on both sides of Congress, and Hannity has hearty debate with both sides on a nightly basis. Bill O’Reilly moved to the middle during the campaign, and subsequent to the election has given Obama the benefit of the doubt so many times that many of his fans have taken issue. Fox’s 6pm show features a nightly panel of Democratic contributors, their 7pm show is strictly news, and most of their weekend shows, aside from being more business oriented, give equal time to blowhards on both sides of the political spectrum. For pete’s sake Geraldo Rivera has a weekly show.
It’s obvious that Fox News is a right-wing leaning news channel, everyone understands that. But to somehow vilify a channel that leans about 65% right and 35% left in a world that houses unabashedly left-wing outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, NPR, NBC, CBS, ABC, most major newspapers, the Unions, the Universities, High Schools, etc, shows that either they are blinded by ideological fervor to gain greater influence and power, or that they lack the ability to think clearly. Luckily for us there are some journalists out there that have not lost 100% of their objectivity, and understand that a free press is an integral check to maintain the integrity of our elected leaders.
Also look at this example of CNN’s Campbell Brown, questioning Obama’s right hand woman Valerie Jarrett. She asks her a simple question as to whether or not she believes that MSNBC is a biased network similar to Fox News. Jarrett filibustered, saying they should take it on a case by case basis. Huh? The glaring hypocrisy in this back and forth is that Fox News is not nearly as biased to the right, as MSNBC is to the left. Something most liberals fail to realize.
Where this debate goes only time will tell. But given the fact that most Americans care more about who won last nights Dancing with the Stars, I believe its very dangerous for a Presidential Administration to engage in these types of tactics to marginalize their opponents, no matter what their perceived political slant may be. To the lay people regarding politics, a criticism uttered by a seemingly credible source garners only the appearance of truth at its onset, but uttered enough times to enough people and this sentiment becomes the actual truth. Hopefully clear thinkers and level heads will prevail.