The public shaming of Rupert Murdoch

The political class in Washington DC is still grappling with the revelation that Fox News, owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, attempted to secretly recruit and bankroll its own presidential candidate this year.

Meanwhile, the media world is trying to digest the morally reprehensible decision by another of Murdoch’s media companies, the New York Post, to put the photograph of a “doomed” man on its front cover.

All of this, of course, comes in the context of an independent investigation into the operations of Murdoch’s media outlets in Britain.

That study concluded last week that the company was “reckless in the pursuit of sensational stories ‘almost irrespective of the harm.’

So far, the response here in the US has been muddled to the point of incoherence.

The Washington Post put the story about Fox’s effort to recruit General David Petraeus for a White House bid in its style section.

Politico ran a cheerful piece suggesting that the whole affair is a sort of inside joke, with everyone in on the gag that Murdoch is perpetrating on America.

In various treatments of the story, Fox New senior executive Roger Ailes is described variously as “wily,” “sharp-tongued” and a “man who makes his own rules.”

In fact, Murdoch and Ailes are liars and cowards.  They are corrosive and aberrational elements in America’s civic discourse.

Together, they are also among the chief architects of the unraveling of the modern Republican Party.  Fox’s embrace of fact-free propaganda from “death panels” to “birtherism” has helped transform the conservative base into a kooky fringe.

These latest disclosures raise the ante considerably.

The main thrust of Bob Woodward’s story is that Ailes dispatched one of his “news analysts” to Afghanistan to interview General David Petraeus.

Ailes used the opportunity to send a secret message that Fox executives would manage and bankroll a Petraeus presidential campaign.

This alone would be an extraordinarily serious breach of faith.  For a political operative from a media company to attempt to counsel a four-star general, urging him to break ranks with America’s commander in chief, is astonishing.

But the messenger — a former Republican candidate for New York’s Senate seat — also spent a significant amount of time offering to secretly shape Fox News coverage to Petraeus’s liking.

“So what I’m supposed to say directly from him to you, through me, is first of all, is there anything Fox is doing, right or wrong, that you want to tell us to do differently?” Kathleen McFarland asked.

Here’s what the McFarland transcript tells the millions of people who rely on Fox for their information:  The network will skew information to favor the powerful.  The network will enter into secret arrangements with political figures.

The people hired by Fox will pretend to be informing audiences about life-and-death matters, from war to poverty to healthcare reform.

But in fact they will often be secret operatives, carrying out the undisclosed political agenda of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch.

We also know from these latest revelations that these men are willing to hack the telephones of a grieving family, in order to pursue tabloid scoops.  They will splash horror on their front pages, sparing no thought to decency or civility.

This isn’t about Murdoch’s empire being conservative.  There are plenty of professional, factual and honest conservative news outlets in America.

This is about Murdoch’s company being a propaganda organization, a deeply cynical political operation led by individuals who are — and this is the kicker — profoundly immoral.

Some will point out that this is nothing new, only a distillation of what we have long known about Fox News and Murdoch’s wider agenda.

In an interview with Politico, NYU journalism professor suggested that there are “no ramifications because everyone, inside of Fox and outside, understands that the Fox News Channel is a political organization that does news and makes money.”

“Bob had a great scoop, a buzzy media story that made it perfect for Style. It didn’t have the broader import that would justify A1,” Liz Spayd, the Post’s managing editor, told POLITICO.

That’s a cop-out.  Millions of Americans aren’t in on the con.  They’re not willing collaborators in the deception.  They don’t have any idea the kind of deception Murdoch and Ailes are perpetrating.

The Leveson commission in Britain suggested that some kind of body be created to monitor egregious behavior by media companies.  I think this, too, is a dodge.

This isn’t about “the media” writ large.  It’s about one company, one set of executives, one secret agenda.

So what should be done?  I don’t think we need a new watchdog body, or commission, or oversight board.  Rather, I think it’s time for the journalism culture to draw a line in the sand.

It’s time for those of us who believe in the power of factual and ethical reporting to kick Murdoch’s entities and operatives out of the club.

Award ceremonies, dinners, professional organizations and academic gatherings – they should all close their doors, firmly and publicly.

It should be made clear that reporters who choose to work for Murdoch’s empire will see their resumes permanently tainted by association.

No editor or news director can know with certainty what role those “journalists” played, what orders they followed, what ethics they compromised.

The fact that they chose to work for men like Murdoch and Ailes, on the other hand, offers a great deal of clarity about their professional values.

Media outlets should also be deeply cautious about following Fox News’ media agenda on stories that range from Obamacare to Benghazi.  All too often, Murdoch’s politically-motivated manipulations have shaped broader coverage.

Really, this kind of proposal is common sense and long overdue.

Just as we would never dream of allowing political operatives to submit their campaign ads to a journalism award competition — or corporations to submit their infomercials — we should refuse to allow Murdoch’s operatives to participate.

Without taking these steps, the larger media culture becomes part of the con.

By inviting Fox News and the other Murdoch subsidiaries to take part in our professional activities,we give them cover and legitimacy.

And when we wink and shrug at their dishonesty, we do ourselves an even greater disservice.  We embrace the notion that real and ethical journalism isn’t worth fighting to preserve.

We embrace a cynicism about our own work that is — and I think this is an important part of Murdoch’s larger manipulation — toxic.  He empowers his own brand of sleazy manipulation by lowering the standards of everyone else.

I don’t have any illusions that a public shaming will cause Murdoch to reform his empire.

But it might go a long way toward shoring up the courage, the long-standing values, and the deeply damaged reputation of American journalism.

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78 Comments on “The public shaming of Rupert Murdoch”

  1. Peter Hahn says:

    Didn’t the Hearst newspapers start the Spanish American war? Yellow journalism etc.

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  2. mervel says:

    What is fascinating per your story was how obviously muted the coverage of the Petreus scandal was by Fox, who would normally jump on a story of a General-CIA director serving Obama having this sort of an issue.

    I think these ideas are good; journalism should cover this to the fullest, I had no idea these guys were that far out there. Certainly I realized that they were biased and possibly basically a GOP mouthpiece which is fine I expected that. But the idea to recruite and finance a candidate is fascinating but also interesting. Did they want to do that because they wanted this candidate to win or did they want a candidate who would help them with ratings and profits?

    The thing I think we conservatives have to remember is Fox wins whoever wins politically, they can make money on 25% of the electorate really liking them.

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  3. Brian Mann says:

    Peter –

    Yes, I think the Hearst comparison is fair. And I think it’s also clear that professional standards and ethics in journalism have advanced substantially since the late 1800s.

    If that’s Murdoch’s argument — that he’s at least as ethical as the newspaper baron who created unethical “yellow” journalism more than a century ago — it’s a weak defense indeed.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  4. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Am I supposed to take this post seriously? I laughed my way though it! Answer me this Brian, define the difference between Fox offering to support Patraeous and the over the top, completely in the bag support, with funding, that MSNBC (The propaganda wing of the DNC) for instance gave Obama and all his policies? Or NPRs fawning reporting and complete lack of criticism of Obamas last 4 years? Or ignoring the GE/Whitehouse connection or Benghazi or the holes in Obamacare that will costs us dearly?

    I have no love for Murdoch or for Fox for that matter, but for anyone to take this argument that it’s a one sided deal seriously they’d have to suspend completely any semblance of common sense.

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  5. Will Doolittle says:

    Yes, but taking the moral high ground as high as you’ve taken it (high-horse high?) makes me, as a fellow journalist, uncomfortable.

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  6. Brian Mann says:

    Arlo –

    What you’re saying is just factually wrong.

    MSNBC is left-leaning. But there is no evidence — none, zero — that the network has entered into secret relationships with politicians or figures in power, or that they’ve attempted to clandestinely shape the outcome of political contests.

    MSNBC is, to all available evidence, what it purports to be: a liberal news organization. Not a political organization disguised as a liberal organization. If that changes, and if it turns out that MSNBC has been deliberately lying to audiences, I’ll update my views.

    Your description of NPR’s coverage of Obama’s policies is even more nonsensical. NPR’s reporting on the Obama administration has been aggressive, factual and fair. I’m sure there are moments of bias and shading. Journalists are human.

    But I participate closely and fairly intimately in the public media conversation about how to tell the story of American politics. I know from first-hand experience that the goal is to tell the factual truth about what’s happening in Washington.

    If an editor or journalist at NPR participated in the kind of deception described in Woodward’s story, I have no doubt — none — that they would be fired immediately.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  7. Brian Mann says:

    Will –

    First, yes – I am high-horsey when it comes to journalism. But I acknowledge that it’s a bit risky and I think this is one of the reasons reporters are hesitant to call out “colleagues.”

    We operate on slippery slopes every day, making complex ethical decisions as a matter of course. We all struggle with our biases, our preconceived notions, and so on.

    We hesitate to sit in judgment over other reporters who (mostly) struggle to find ways to tell the truth despite their human failings.

    But I don’t think Fox or Murdoch’s empire fall into this complicated narrative.

    They are, simply and bluntly, political operatives. That is the assumption now implicit in most of the coverage of Fox’s latest behavior.

    By continuing to accept this fact, while also giving them full entree into the society of professional journalists, we are complicit in their game.

    I don’t think booting them out is all that shocking a proposal.

    We can just say cheerfully, “What you’re doing is fine, so long as you don’t pretend (or ask us to pretend) that youre doing what we’re doing.”

    But to return to your main point, again, yes: I’m way, way up on my high horse on this one.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  8. Peter Hahn says:

    I thought Fox new’s main goal was to make money by advocacy “journalism”. msNBC is copying the model, but isnt as good at it (as that FOX interviewee said). So what was the point about recruiting Petraeus? Sell more news eyeballs? Sounds maybe like they are telling him that if he wants to run as a Republican, they will coordinate messaging with him. I too thought everybody knew that already. Did they think Petraeus was so out of it that he didnt know how FOX works, or were they just setting up communication channels. And if so, why do it secretly?

    This isnt Italy where the media mogul becomes Prime Minister.

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  9. Brian Mann says:

    Just by way of contrast, here’s how it’s supposed to work in journalism. When someone lies, or deceives the audience, they are fired and the news organization airs its shortcomings publicly.

    -Brian, NCPR

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  10. Paul says:

    I don’t get it? Fox News would lose big money if Obama wasn’t in office. There must be a catch.

    The MSNBC thing where their “journalists” have these little commercials supporting certain policy ideas are an interesting tactic.

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  11. Peter Hahn says:

    Brian – the difference may be that that journalism “news” has a different standard than journalism “opinion”. Most of Fox News is opinion mascarading slightly as news “wink wink”. I have read that the news department at Fox is actually very unbiased and accurate and employs your high journalistic standards. They just dont get much air time.

    I dont watch Fox (or msNBC) so all I know is from Jon Stewarts frequent riffs.

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  12. Pete Klein says:

    We can all complain about Fox and the Post but the bottom line is that people buy the product.
    Sad but true.
    Solution. The public needs to educate itself with a little help from the schools which no one seems to like to fund because that raises their taxes.

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  13. Newt says:

    Probably the only effective answer to Fox News is the demographic one. Like the (current) national Republican party, Fox viewers are poorly-informed (my link won’t work, but a NYT Times article from may says NPR listers are 50% more likely to get news right than either Fox or MSNBC viewers) , white, Republican, old, and getting OLDER. Their demo of angry old white guys is shrinking by the month, and in ten years Fox, and it’s viwership, will hopefully be as frail and senile as it’s founder appears to be now.
    Good riddance to them both.

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  14. Will Doolittle says:

    As disturbing as that photo is, as exploitative and wrong as the decision was to run it at all and especially to splash it on the newspaper’s cover, it is a classic photo, that I believe will end up being reprinted thousands of times, and eventually celebrated as a photo that captured not only a horrible personal moment but something essential about the terror and impersonal nature of living in large urban centers. David Carr wrote a fascinating column in the Times excoriating the editors who decided to run the photo, but also, perhaps unintentionally, making the case for why it is a classic, important photograph.

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  15. Paul says:

    Brain did you hesitate to post the photo here?

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  16. Paul says:

    I only a because I may not have seen it otherwise? It is weird but not very graphic. Nothing like the man burning himself alive on a sidewalk. Didn’t that win a prize?

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  17. Paul says:

    sorry “ask” not “a”.

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  18. The Original Larry says:

    Your shocking expose of bias in journalism doesn’t surprise me, as there is no such thing (and probably never has been) as truly objective, unbiased journalism. Lots of people might like to think there is, but if they do they’re the ones who aren’t in on the con. Murdoch’s empire is a money-making enterprise, plain and simple. Other media outlets may have different objectives but they all have a bias.

    The thing I truly don’t get is your insistence on telling Republicans and conservatives how they should go about their business. What’s it to you? I doubt you would like to see them win elections.

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  19. Paul says:

    Here is what John Kennedy said of the 1963 photo I mentioned above:

    “no news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one.”

    This photo may also be a symbol of what we have now in or society. People who would rather film something like this rather than try and help. Very sad. Maybe nothing much has changed. In the 1963 photo you can see a police officer coolly reaching for a light for his cigarette as he passes the scene.

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  20. Mervel says:

    What are the legalities of funding a campaign candidate on that scale totally secretly?

    The question is would they have made more money from the sex scandal or the candidacy? They win both ways.

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  21. Phil says:

    I don’t think the photo would be so offensive if the Post had written a more tasteful headline. Instead, it resorted to its usual titillating style, which trivializes the man’s death.

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  22. Two Cents says:

    The higher the monkey climbs, the more of his ass is seen.

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  23. Pete Klein says:

    A more apt title for the photo headline might have been “Man’s inhumanity towards man.”

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  24. Paul says:

    Yes, Pete or “left for dead”.

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  25. Peter Hahn says:

    Why didnt whoever took that photo try to help that guy up?

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  26. Mervel says:

    Well he would have Peter, but he was taking the photo.

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  27. Phil says:

    Has the photographer been identified or interviewed?

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  28. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Murdoch is trying to subvert the democratic system that millions have fought and died for and people will still buy his papers and watch his networks. Where is the conservative outcry on this?

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  29. Mervel says:

    Well for profit propaganda is part of our media culture (I don’t mean journalism but the broader view of all forms of media culture). I don’t think Murdoch subverts this country any more or less than the prevalence and easy access of hardcore violence and pornography.

    I think Brian has some good ideas, however I don’t think anyone is going to notice if fox news is not invited to the journalism awards dinner or the conference on journalism. Other journalists will know, but in this job market the idea that people are not going to work for Fox due to their ethics or morals probably isn’t going to go very far.

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  30. Mervel says:

    I also think that our last election shows that even though people find this stuff annoying, the majority of the electorate is not paying attention or listening or doing what fox news and their devious plans to subvert America want.

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  31. The Original Larry says:

    Let’s not read too much into that photograph. It has nothing to do with man’s inhumanity to man, the terror of living in a large urban center or any of the other nonsense ascribed to it. It was taken by a photographer who said he was on assignment and too far from the victim to be of help. Several eyewitnesses said they feared being pushed themselves and consequently couldn’t help. A terrible thing for sure but it’s not the end of civilization as we know it.

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  32. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Brian Mann, to say something is “factually incorrect” is just a PC way of calling me a liar. Why not just cut the crap and say what you mean, my skin is pretty thick and I wear big boy undies. It’s okay, really.

    First off let me say I understand your belief that you and NPR are fair. I get that. Doesn’t mean you are, but I get it. I do believe you try within your ability. I just think your abilities and perception are flawed to an extent.

    Secondly, you are correct. MSNBC did not and has not entered into secret relationships with politicians or figures in power, or that they’ve attempted to clandestinely shape the outcome of political contests. They’ve been completely open about it!!! You really think they’re just reporters with a slightly left of center lean? Really? And Fox is a conservative version of satan and his minions? Brian, Obama just had Ed Shultz, Rachael Maddox, Al Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donell over to the White House along with “many other “progressive media” members in attendance including the Washington Post, Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post.” to discuss the FISCAL CLIFF!!!!! He’s bringin media personnel to either get advice or to instruct them on how to sell his plan, I’m not sure which would bother me more! And I’m not alone is noticing this and the conflict of interest- “One Pew survey found that in the weeks leading up to the election, the network (MSNBC) gave exceedingly negative coverage to the president’s opponent Mitt Romney, in stark contrast to overwhelmingly positive reporting on the president. The New York Times‘ Jeremy Peters accused the network of “recycling talking points” from the Democratic Party throughout the election cycle.” Maybe you see purported journalists like Chris Mathews having “a tingle up my leg” when he hears Obama speak and fair and objective journalism. I don’t think so.

    I shouldn’t just pick on MSNBC, but it’s sooooo easy. But to be fair, consider just a couple things-

    In the 3 weeks since the election ABC’s World News discussed tax hikes in a favorable manner 17-1 over spending reductions. NBC’s coverage of the same issue was 2-1 while CBS’s coverage was a measly 1.4-1, but more than 1/3 of CBS spending reduction production was spent detail the horrific downside to reductions in spending. Nooooo, nobody is carrying water for Obama on that one, are they?

    NPR, so centered, so pure. Remember Juan Williams? Was that firing centrist and pure? If it was the why wasn’t Nina Totenburg fired for her remark about hoping Jesse Helms and his grandchildren would all get AIDS and die? How about All Things Considered’s Michelle Norris husband working on Obamas reelection campaign? Bev Schillers chief fundraisng guy and his Tea Party and Jew remarks? How about ATC’s Julie Rovners one sided Obamacare reports or NPRs nearly incestuous compact with Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Pubic Health survey which is clearly slanted to support Obamacare? And speaking of incestuous relationships, what about Terri Grosses fawning Rachael Maddow segment? She didn’t give the royal treatment to Bill O’Reilly, even the NPR top dog came down on Gross for that O’Reilly segment!Do we need to discuss the racist remarks against Herman Cain by an NPR report in an effort to diminish his chances? I’m pretty sure if Fox used the term “minstrel” in respect to Obama heads would roll!

    Maybe you just don’t see it Brian. Maybe you just won’t see it. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that yes, Murdoch is a slime bag and always has been and Fox is still taking the big market shares and is doing it with clearly right wing commentary. I don’t watch much of Fox because it’s often so bad I can’t stomach it. I watch MSNBC for laughs sometimes. I used to watch Dan Rather and Keith Olbermann just to see what new expressions they’d developed in the mirror of their dressing rooms. It was hilarious! Anyway, the point is that you’re calling people liars and virtual criminals for running a very successful slanted news organization and for meddling in politics when your own parent agency and station are slanted and when the parent agency is tied in with every liberal/progressive/socialist figure of note in the western world including George Soros!

    I don’t think what Mordoch did as far Petraeous was right, but mostly because it was done secretly, allegedly anyway. OTOH, he would have made a good candidate and the American news media has been choosing Presidents for a long, long time. I think you’ve overreacted.

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  33. mervel says:

    I think actually getting their own toy candidate and funding him is crossing some sort of major line, I am not sure what? But something.

    I agree MSNBC is certainly basically a talking horse for the likes of MOVEOn and so forth they are certainly every bit as biased toward the Democratic Party as Fox is toward the Republican Party.

    Now CNN is a different story, they do have a liberal bias, but it is muted and they try to report facts. CNN would be said to have a liberal bias and certainly NPR has a liberal bias. But it is slight and I think they try to do journalism. People can’t help who they are. When you get news organizations that are totally totally dominated in their staff make up of reporters by people who all are in one party who have the same political beliefs, you can’t help but get some biases.

    Brian how many registered Republicans work for NCPR doing reporting? The North Country has more registered Republicans than Democrats thus if you are representative you would have about an equal amount, my guess is the answer is zero. Now you can try as hard as you like, but with the vast majority of your reporting staff being from only one side of the political spectrum it simply can’t be helped that you will have bias.

    But bias to me does not make reporting bad; I would turn to NPR for news and updates about the north country because it is a quality organization.

    I would not turn to Fox or Msnbc, because as you point out both are hacks with an agenda, which is different from journalism.

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  34. mervel says:

    What the country needs is a slightly conservative news organization of quality.

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  35. Newt says:

    MSNBC clearly has a liberal, or Democratic, tilt. Some of it’s program hosts are basiically unbearable (Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz in partucular).

    On the other hand, does Fox have anything like “Morning Joe”, the 6:00-9:00 AM program? The male host, Joe Scarborough, is a former Florida Republican 3-term congressman who proudly, loudly, and overbearingly wears his “small government conservative” identity (opposes Afghan War, but openly supported Romney in the election). He regularly talks over his mild-mannered and liberal co-host Mika Brzheniski and any guests of any persuasion whenever he feels like it. Just like any other good O’Reilly conservative clone.
    But I don’t think Fox News ever would allow a such a liberal deviaton from the party line, and this marks a big contrast between the two.

    Also, Morning Joe often has, in spite of the host, first-class guests who are given lots of time to report on important topics. A couple of weeks ago, Stephen Spielberg was given an uninterruped 20 minute segment to talk about the newly-released “Lincoln”, and recently I’ve seen similarly long and respectful interviews with Jake Tappert about his new book “The Outpost” about a heroic stand by US Troops in in Afghanistan, and a NYT Times reporter who wrote a 3-part expose about how cities waste millions to lure corporations with useless tax breaks, and similar excellent segments. The quality of these is unmatched on TV,except for C-Span.
    If Fox has anything like this, please tell me, and I will watch it.

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  36. mervel says:

    I think that is a good point. Doesn’t Juan Williams report for Fox?

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  37. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Newt, IIRC the morning show on Fox is pretty much an over the top, gag me with a spoon, right wing, pre-digested, barf fest. No argument there. However, doing a little research to jog my memory gives me a partial list of clearly liberal Fox contributors- MARA LIASSON from NPR to start with. At least she was on Fox for some time. I don’t watch it so I don’t know if she’s still on. Alan Colmes, Juan Williams, Geraldo Rivera, Susan Estrich, Bill Schulz, Kirsten Powers, Shepard Smith is said to be quite a liberal and has gotten in hot water with Fox over it, Simon Rosenberg and Jesse Jacksons daughter Santita. Don Imus is on Fox Business and he’s about as conservative as Al Gore Other than Joe Scarborough, who I’m not going to say is a raving conservative by any means, I can’t think of anyone on MSNBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, NBC, CNN or HN that’s at all conservative. Lou Dobbs was pushed out of CNN because of his conservative immigration speech. Juan Williams was booted from NPR for not toeing the party line. And Bill O’Reilly is not at all conservative, he’s got a record on that as long as your arm. A loudmouthed, obnoxious but brilliant pundit? Yes. Conservative? No.

    I’m not claiming Fox is as fair and balanced as they claim. I’m simply saying that it’s almost the lone voice on the right in a market filled to the brim with leftists. And as your beloved Scarborough said, the left won the election, why are you still so angry? There’s no need for “secret operatives” on the left. They do it in the open every day, skewing stories to fit their agenda and almost no one thinks a thing about it. An example? Benghazi. It’s been theorized all along that the Ambassador was there in the first place to try and trace illegal, secret arms shipments the Obama administration approved that ended up in the hands of terrorists. Just another Fast and Furious operation, nothing new. Today the NYT has a story that certainly seems to support that theory. I say bravo to the NYT for printing it. Let’s see if MSNBC or NPR covers it at all.

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  38. Peter Hahn says:

    Arlo- Its conservative dogma that the mainstream media is biased (leftward). When I was young, it was leftwing dogma that the mainstream media was biased (rightward). I would guess that the majority of journalists are in the highly educated demographic that tends to be liberal, and may have their personal biases. Some are probably personally quite conservative. However, most go irritatingly overboard to give both sides of the story even when one side (usually yours) is totally without merit. But not on Fox or msNBC.

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  39. Mervel says:

    Maybe what is different recently and what Fox has done is just the melting any pretense of being objective, now you can just openly be and advocate for a political side and claim well everyone is doing it, the other side is doing it so this is just our answer, we are biased and are advocates and are proud of it.

    Pretty soon you just end up with political mouthpieces and no real reporting.

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  40. The Original Larry says:

    The Hearst newspapers didn’t “start” the Spanish-American War but their sensationalized reporting of it was part of the late 1890s circulation war between Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World that gave rise to the term “yellow journalism”. Pulitzer and Hearst both made their journalistic bones attacking corruption, opposing big business (even businesses run by Hearst’s own family) and championing social causes but they would also do anything to boost circulation, especially at each other’s expense in the New York market.

    Even at the dawn of modern journalism the primary goal was money-making. Nothing is diferent now.

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  41. Newt says:

    OK, I’ll try to answer some of your points.

    If you want Fox v. MSNBC, and I admit, most of my Fox viewing comes via Comedy Central, I’m prety sure that it can be boiled down to what we saw in election predictions from both networks. Some (not all) MSNBS shows showed the trends as they were actually going, expressing concern when Obama seemed to be declining. But they actually showed them accurately. Fox, meantime, pretended to be objective, whan actually inclining toward polls that showed Romeny being ahead (I’ve seen allegedly objective analysis that supported this) right up to the moment when Fox’s own analysts more or less stuffed the Ohio resuls down Karl Rove’s throat, live and in color. Fox-based universe, meet fact-based universe.

    To be honest, MSNBC shows largely ignored Nate Silver in favor of “pant….pant..the doggone election is STILL just TOO CLOSE TO CALL!’ until the NYT and other media provoked Scarborough into mocking Nate n the air., whcih resulted him Nate offering a bet which Joe slunk away from taking. MSNBC, NPR, like the rest of the media, chose the more ratings-friendly “election-to-close -to call story over the truth.

    MSNBC hosts can be just as bad – Rev. Al Sharpton indicted, tried and convicted George Zimmerman about 10 minues after the story about him shooitng the 17 year old kid broke, and Ed Schulz thought he was going to single-handedly take back Wisconsin from the Republicans, and had a Rove moment himslef when this did not happend on recall election night.

    If your list of Fox liberal-all star commentqtors is accurate, it proves my point. Go and see what the hard-core liberals think of Mara Liason. She was constantly in the run-up to the election either saying Romney was ahead in the polls or it was just to doggone closeto call, long after both nate Silver and Brian Mann had correctly called the outcome, Nate with 90% certainty. Most of the others I have never heard of except Colmes, who is( or was) clearly a weak, and weird-looking, Washington Generals-type liberal produced purely so he could be humiliated by Hannity or O’Reilly, or whoever’s turn it is to humiliate thim.

    The other MSNBC shows tend to stick with the trotting out a conservative to debate the host and a liberal ally, and are not of much use.
    Morning Joe regularly has on as guest Steve Ratner, the Wall St. analyst who ran the auto bailout), Ari Flischer, W.’s former spokesman who did the same for Romney’s doomed effort, Steve Schmidt, who was McCain”s campaign chairman, and a full range of solid, intelligent, and mostly reasonable experts from in, and outside of the political world. Oh, and Warren Buffet , the last time being last week.

    I don’t believe Fox has guest or commentator list like this, and recently there have been stories about how it bans even conservatives who deviate from the Fox Line. David Frumm and former Reagan and W. Bush offical Bruce Bartlett., being two recent examples.

    Bottom line, MSNBC is capable of actually being fair and balanced amid the liberal crap it spews, while Fox is noting but a Rupert Murdock’s right wing populist propaganda macine. I’m told they. like the Wall St. Journal, actually do get the straight news right most of the time.

    Now I will sit back and await the list of well-respected-outside-the-conservative-bubble guests Fox often has on.

    None of the

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  42. Newt says:

    I’m pretty sure that the circulation war you cite between the Hearst and Pulitzer papers is, in fact, the main reason for the Spanish-American War. The sinking of the battleship Mained in Havana harbor, for reasons still unknown (I’ve seen a good argument for coal dust + a sailor’s cigarette), was used by papers to rouse the fires of public indignation, and stampede President Mckinley and Congress into a declaration of War. The (much ballyhooed by tAmerican press) brutal treatment of the Cuban population by the spanish military tryingto put down an insurrection, was a background cause.
    A little like Irag, 2001-03, now that I think about it.

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  43. Paul says:

    Haven’t they done many studies that show that the media on whole has a liberal bias (by many measures)? This is a fact not something that the right has made up. The same studies have shown that NPR tends to be the most unbiased alternative in the studies.

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  44. Paul says:

    What makes public radio look funky is that they also air totally liberal shows (Free Speech Radio News, Democracy Now, Alternative radio).
    Those things are over the edge. If they had some similarly over the edge stuff in the other direction like Mark Levine then they would be viewed maybe in a different light? Problem is those guys only want to go commercial where they can make big bucks.

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  45. wakeup says:

    But you are showing the same picture. Fail!

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  46. Mervel says:

    I think when you are surrounded by people who think like you and have the same political sensibilities as you; objective reporting is just more difficult. I think it can be done and NPR tries to their credit. But when they talk to a conservative you can tell it is usually like talking to someone from another planet, you may be very interested in what they have to say and want to present the point of view to be balanced, but its not quite the same as being from that planet yourself.

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  47. Mervel says:

    That is why Democracy Now seems like a normal thing to play but Levine seems really really crazy.

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  48. Mervel says:

    At the same time to their credit who IS the audience for NPR? Why fight your constituents?

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  49. The Original Larry says:

    Exactly like Iraq, Newt, in the sense that many people are “pretty sure” they know what went on, when in reality, they don’t. Hearst and Pulitzer didn’t start the Cuban rebellion or throw the rebels into concentration camps. The circulation war was confined to New York City and most people in the US, including the people who ran the government, didn’t read either paper. Did they go crazy with the sensationalism? Yes, but that’s a far cry from starting the war. Criticizing (and disliking) people is one thing but using a bastardized version of history to do it is ridiculous.

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  50. Newt says:

    Hearst and Pulitzer owned a string of newspaper across the nation, and they competed for the most sensation stories to sell papers. Hearst’s was based in San Francisco. A Hearst reporter broke a Cuban woman, allegedly a rebel, out of prison so he could write a story about her breaking out prison. The papers did not cause the war by themselves, but the war very likely would not have happened without them

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