Monday, October 12, 2009

News Flash

There will probably be a lot of overwrought commentary on certain blogs and websites about a comment made yesterday by White House Communications Director Anita Dunn:

The reality of it is that Fox News often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party. And it’s not ideological. I mean, obviously there are many commentators who are conservative, liberal, centrist, and everybody understands that. What I think is fair to say about Fox is — and certainly the way we view it — is that it really is more of a wing of the Republican Party.

You mean… Fox isn’t “fair and balanced”? Oh, lordy, pass me the smelling salts.

I’m guessing the immediate reaction from Fox and friends will be to point to MSNBC and say that they’re all liberals and so there. Nyah. Well, that may easily be — although I think when a network has a three-hour morning show anchored by a former Republican congressman and a proud conservative in the person of Joe Scarborough, and one of their permanent commentators is Pat Buchanan, who vultches* over that and just about every other show, it’s hard to make the case that MSNBC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DNC. But even if it was, MSNBC doesn’t make itself out to be an objective source of news. Their slogan is “The place for politics.” There’s no promise of “we report, you decide” there.

Besides, what has Fox News got to be ashamed of? Why can’t they pick up the label of the conservative news channel and run with it? After all, there are plenty of news magazines and newspapers out there that make no bones about being on one side or the other, and if there is supposed to be some sort of liberal media bias, why doesn’t Fox try to set the record straight instead of hiding behind the obvious falsehood that they’re just like every other news channel?

I have no objection whatsoever to Fox News being the voice of the right wing. I don’t have a problem with them channeling the RNC talking points, and I don’t have a problem with, as Gabriel Winant and Tim Bella at Salon.com report, having Glenn Beck be a de facto Republican strategist. What I object to is the laughably thin veneer of their attempt to portray themselves as anything else. Do they think everyone else is as stupid as they think their viewers are?

*”Vultch” is the verb form of “vulture,” which describes the action of someone hanging around like a harbinger of doom.