October 29, 2009 by D Stack
Rachel Maddow recently had an interesting segment on why she did not consider Fox News to be a legitimate “News” organization. Assuming it’s not pulled from youtube, it can be found here:
She crystallized something that has been bugging me for a while. Bias in the media is nothing new. You could pick up a newspaper or listen to the radio in the 1930s and learn all of the following:
- FDR was a fascist/socialist/communist
- FDR was the savior of America
- FDR wasn’t doing enough to save America
Every president since Washington has had problems with the media. And every president has had various news organizations fawning over them. But the Obama administration has singled out Fox News.
Maddow’s point is the issue with Fox is not their bias, but rather their involvement in organizing protest against the current administration. There is nothing wrong with protesting the administration, but it is something that a news organization should avoid. You’ve crossed the line from reporting the news, even commenting on the news, to actively making the news. At this point your credibility is tainted.
This is not to say that conservative leaning media outlets need to be “muzzled”. The Wall Street Journal is certainly not a paper with an editorial policy that slants in favor of Obama. George Will is probably unlikely to walk in lockstep with the administration. But you do not see the Wall Street Journal using its own funds to organize protests. Doing things like this horribly damages the credibility of a news organization, turning it from a reporting organization, even one with strong opinions, to an opposition organization. Again, there is nothing wrong with being such an organization. But the current actions (not opinions) of Fox News towards the Obama Administration would seem to lend them the same credibility that MoveOn would be worthy of had they attempted to portray themselves as a news organization.