Questions for Political True Believers, Part 4

This entry is part 25 of 47 in the series Blog1

Fox News & Bias

Thinker: I understand you have a problem with Fox News

True Believer: You got that right.

 

Thinker: And what exactly is your beef?

True Believer: For starters they say they are fair and balanced and are neither fair nor balanced.

 

Thinker: So let’s start with the actual newscast. The newscasts of all the media claim to not be biased and just present the news as it comes up.  Do you see Fox as being different than this?

True Believer: Yes, you’d think they are an arm of the Republican  Party.  They are very biased.

 

Thinker: Are you aware that their head news anchor, giving the news almost every night, Shepard Smith, is a Democrat?

True Believer: No way!

 

Thinker: Yes, way. Can you give me any proof that Shepard has skewed the news in favor of Republicans or conservatives?

True Believer: I’m sure I could come up with lots of material if I had a few hours.

 

Thinker: I’ll give you a day.  Let’s talk again tomorrow.

True Believer: Deal!

 

A day passes.

 

Thinker: So, did you find any evidence of bias from Shepard Smith?

True Believer: I checked and you are right that he is a Democrat and it seems that a lot of Democrats actually like him. He seems to be the one good apple at Fox News.

 

Thinker: And since he heads up the news and is a Democrat, that even liberals admit is fair, then why do you say the news at Fox is not fair and balanced?

True Believer: Most everyone else there is biased and right wing. Shepard is only one guy.

 

Thinker: But he’s the one guy in charge of the news and the main one on the air giving it out.  Do you even watch Fox News?

True Believer: Sometimes

 

Thinker: How often?

True Believer: Enough

 

Thinker: Sounds to me that you do not watch it much and get your opinions of it from others who hate Fox.

True Believer: I’ve watch enough to know that it is biased.

 

Thinker: But you didn’t even know that the main newscaster is a Democrat.  Tell me, do you know of any news anchor on any network who is a Republican?

True Believer: I’m sure there must be several.  I hear right wing bias from a number of sources.

 

Thinker: Let me set you straight.  There are no Republican anchors anywhere, even at Fox, and over 80% of all media people vote for Democrats. Do you call that fair and balanced?

True Believer: Even if what you say is true, the right wing pundits more than compensate for Democrat newscasters.

 

Thinker: But let’s cover one thing at a time.  We were talking about news not opinionated commentators. What gets reported in the news is of extreme importance because that will provide most of the material that the commentators use. The biggest problem with newscasters is not that they distort news but they decide what gets reported and what does not. A lot of the news that does not get covered just isn’t available to commentators, biased or not. Since most of the media people deciding what will be covered are Democrats then what do you suppose happens to a lot of news unfavorable to their views?

True Believer: I suppose you think it doesn’t get reported.

 

Thinker: You’d be surprised what doesn’t get reported. The Fast and Furious gun running fiasco is a recent example.  The media ignored reporting on this except when they absolutely had to.

 

For now forget about the Fox commentators.  As far as the actual news goes you have to admit that Fox is fair toward Democrats.

True Believer: Perhaps, but their commentators are over the top with bias.

 

 

Fair and Balanced

Thinker: Now let us move on to the rest of the programs which consists mostly of commentators. A lot of people think that Fox leans to the right just as the rest of television news media leans to the left.

True Believer: Most of the other media are objective but Fox is extreme right wing.

 

Thinker: So you don’t think Fox is fair and balanced?

True Believer: Are you kidding?  That’s a big lie.

 

Thinker: A recent poll shows 46% of the public agree that Fox is fair and balanced whereas only 38% do not. The rest have no opinion.  Why do you think only about a third of the public agree with you?

True Believer: Those 46% are brainwashed

 

Thinker: A Rasmussen poll reveals that 31% of Americans say Fox News has a conservative bias and 15% say it has a liberal bias. The poll also reported “that 36% believe Fox News delivers news with neither a conservative or liberal bias, compared to 37% who said NPR delivers news with no conservative or liberal bias and 32% who said the same of CNN”

 

On the other hand by a 39% to 20% margin, American adults believe that the three major broadcast networks deliver news with a bias in favor of liberals. LINK

 

It sounds like the judgment of the public is that Fox leans a little to the right but not as far as the other media leans left.

True Believer: Polls can be made to say anything.

 

Thinker: Rejecting and dismissing evidence does not for a sound argument make. You can’t argue with the fact that Fox has over twice the viewers as any cable competition. They averaged 1.9 million to MSNBC’s 825,000 and CNN’s 755,000.

True Believer: So?  There’s a lot of brainwashed people out there.

 

Thinker: A poll shows that more Democrats watch Fox than ether CNN or MSNBC.  Do you see your fellow liberals as brainwashed?

True Believer: Maybe they just find the lies entertaining.

 

Thinker: Yeah, sure. A study that doesn’t rely on opinion surveyed the news stories covering the presidential election between McCain and Obama.  Here’s what they found. The stories on McCain from MSNBC were 73% negative and only 10% could be called positive. The rest couldn’t be called positive or negative. On the other hand Obama had a 43% positive to a 10% negative. For CNN it was 13% positive for McCain vs. 61% negative while Obama received 36% positive stories vs. 39% negative stories. Guess which network gave the candidates the fairest treatment?

True Believer: I suppose you’re going to say Fox.

 

Thinker: You would be correct.  The Fox News Channel treated both candidates to roughly the same level of good and bad press, with Obama doing better than McCain. One-fourth of Obama stories on Fox (25%) were positive, compared to 22% of McCain’s coverage. Both candidates received exactly the same proportion of negative stories on FNC, 40%. Have you considered that you think Fox News is biased because the other networks are so negative toward Republicans and Fox News treats them fairly?

True Believer: Not at all. I don’t care what your contrived studies reveal, I can tell by watching Fox that it drips with bias.

 

Thinker: Name a show that you think is biased.

True Believer: That blowhard, O’Reilly.

 

Thinker: Do you realize that a poll taken by the liberal Boston’s Suffolk University reveals that Bill O’Reilly is rated as the most trusted media person out of 28 submitted?

True Believer: I’ll have to check that out.

 

Thinker: Do you realize that O’Reilly is not a Republican but an independent?

True Believer: He sure sounds like a Republican

 

Thinker: And then there are a lot of conservatives who think he is too liberal. Have you noticed that for every conservative that comes on the show he also has a liberal – that he always tries to have both sides of an issue represented?

True Believer: No, I didn’t notice.

 

Thinker: If you watch his show regularly you’ll see this is true.  Isn’t this the fair and balanced thing to do?

True Believer: Even if you are right that doesn’t help much because he talks over the head of anyone liberal.

 

Thinker: He runs a tight show and beats his competition by miles because he doesn’t let guests get out of control no matter what their beliefs. Independents like this about him. Who else on Fox do you think is unfair?

True Believer: You can’t deny that Hannity is an extreme right winger.

 

Thinker: Yes, he is the one outspoken out-in-the-open right winger on Fox.  Why do you think he is extreme?

True Believer: Just listen to him.  Everything he says is extreme.

 

Thinker: Name one thing

True Believer: He is silent for a moment then retorts, “Like I said, everything.”

 

Thinker: Then it should be easy to name one thing out of everything.

True Believer: He’s against the woman’s right to choose.

 

Thinker: But his view on abortion is the same as half of America.  Are you saying that half of the entire country are extremists? I think you need to try again.

True Believer: He doesn’t want women to have birth control.

 

Thinker: That is just plain silly as well as incorrect. He’s never said or indicated such a position.

True Believer: I heard him say that he was against the Catholic Church giving out birth control pills.

 

Thinker: That’s not what he said.  You don’t really know his position do you?

True Believer: Then you straighten me out.

 

Thinker: Glad to. He has no problem with women getting the birth control they desire.  What he is against is the government forcing a church to go against something contrary to their faith. How would you react if the government told your church they had to buy free guns for their members?

True Believer:  That would be ridiculous.

 

Thinker: Similarly Hannity thinks it is ridiculous to force a church to buy birth control if it is contrary to their established doctrine. Would you be an extremist for being against the government forcing your church to buy guns?

True Believer: But this is different because that church doctrine is outdated and not even supported by most Catholics.

 

Thinker: I agree with you that the doctrine is behind the times but it is still official doctrine and it is up to the Pope to change it, not the government.  Wouldn’t you agree?

True Believer: I’m not sure.

 

Thinker: But you are sure that you don’t want the government forcing your church to go against their belief and buy guns?

True Believer: That’s different.

 

Thinker: Is it?  Don’t you realize the only difference lies in your political beliefs?

True Believer: You’re twisting things.

 

Thinker: Again, I’ve illustrated that Hannity has taken a reasonable position, which is supported by a high percentage of Americans. Even you admit you don’t want the government telling your church what to do. Is there any other extremist positions you think that Hannity takes?

True Believer: It won’t do any good to give you more examples.  You’ll just distort them

 

Thinker: You know I’ve just given you the truth. You have to admit that Hannity is no extremist but represents the views of about has the country. Are you maintaining that half the country is extreme?

True Believer: I don’t think he represents the views of anywhere near half the country.

 

Thinker: You speak, but you have no proof or evidence. Isn’t it the real truth that Hannity is not an extremist but merely supports positions with which you disagree?

True Believer: You’re twisting things.

 

Thinker: I don’t think so.  Outside of O’Reilly and Hannity, what’s your problem with Fox?

True Believer: Everyone else leans Republican or conservative.  There is no balance.

 

Thinker: I’ve already given you evidence that the other networks lean further left than Fox does right but that means nothing to you.  There is a particular fair and balanced thing that Fox does that the other networks do not do.

True Believer: What is that?

 

Thinker: They employ a lot of Democrats as well as having a lot of Democratic guests.

True Believer: They might have a token Democrat on now and then but that’s about it.

 

Thinker: You must not watch Fox that much or you would know there are a lot of Democrats on the network. Some that actually work for Fox and on their payroll are:

Alan Colmes, Bob Beckel, Kirsten Powers, Leslie Marshall, Ellis Henican, Geraldo Rivera, Greta Van Susteren, Juan Williams, Mara Liasson, Mort Kondracke, Jane Hall, Judith Miller, Marvin Kalb, Ed Henry, Bill Schulz, Joe Trippi, main newscaster Shepard Smith and others.

 

Fox has numerous Democratic guests, many of them regulars.  Here are a few:

Katrina vanden Heuvel, David Corn, Eric Alterman,  Flavia Colgan, Susan Estrich, Ellen Rattner, Jehmu Greene, Eleanor Clift,  Al Sharpton, Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, Erica Payne, Joycelyn Elders, Quanell X, Dan Rather, Michael Kinsley, Sami Al-Arian, Richard Elovich, Michelangelo Signorile, Alec Baldwin, Michael Moore, Phil Donahue, Chris Dodd, Narney Frank, Dennis Kucinich, Hillary Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Rod Blagojevich, Barack Obama, Ed Asner, Jon Stewart, Julian Bond, Rep Martin Frost, Jehmu Greene, Geraldine Ferraro, Susan Rice, Barney Frank, Henry Weiner, Tara Dowdell, Christopher Hahn, Brad Woodhouse, Rod Snyder, Wayne Besen, Simon Rosenberg, Austan Goolsbee, Tamera Holder, Austin Goolsbee, David Callahan, Steve Murphy, Bernard Whitman, Austin Goolsbee, Cathy Areu, Emily, Tisch Sussman, Bernard Whitman, Chris Van Hollen, Penny Lees, Bernard Whitman and more. These are just some I recall.

 

Now let us compare the fairness of Fox, which leans Republican, with other Media which favors Democrats. Can you come up with a comparable list of Republican employees and guests on MSNBC?

True Believer: I don’t know.  I’d have to do some research.

 

Thinker: How about CNN. Have you spotted a lot of Republicans working there and appearing as guests?

True Believer: I’ve seen some

 

Thinker: And how about the news and commentary shows at NBC, ABC and CBS. Where are their Republicans?

True Believer: I’m sure they have them.

 

Thinker: And I’m sure you cannot create a comparable list of Republicans from any of these networks. In fact I’ll bet you $1000 you can’t come up with such a fair and balanced list that matches that of Fox giving Democrats a chance. Want to shake on it?

True Believer: (He doesn’t want to.)

 

Thinker: Since you’re not willing to take the bet then I take this as an admission that you accept that Fox is more fair and balanced toward Democrats than other networks are toward Republicans.

True Believer: I wouldn’t go that far.

 

Thinker: I think that any reasonable person hearing our discussion would have to concede that, while leaning Republican, Fox treats Democrats with greater fairness than the other networks do Republicans.  That said, I see a point of reflection that you should consider.

True Believer: And what would that be?

 

Thinker: You need to consider the real reason you hate Fox so much. You thought it was because they are so biased but the facts I have given you prove that this is cannot be the real reason. If bias was your problem then you would also hate the other networks.

True Believer: So why do you think I hate Fox then?

 

Thinker: You probably will not outwardly accept this but inwardly you have to know it is true. The real reason is you do not accept that those with opposite political views to yourself. You don’t want them to have the right to publicly give out their beliefs.

True Believer: That’s nonsense.

 

Thinker: Then why do you dislike Fox so much.

True Believer: As I said, because of their bias.

 

Thinker: Then you should also dislike the other networks which have even more bias. Obviously the real reason is you don’t like the other side having the freedom to promote their views.

True Believer: I’ve got to go.  I’m late for dinner.

 

Copyright 2012 by J J Dewey

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Comments

  1. A number of my friends are fair and balanced true believers just like the generic on in the above conversation. They claim to “think for themselves” but they parrot many liberal lines such as, “I hate FOX News”. Exactly as your example above, they cannot come up with actual reasons. Perhaps if we hate something but cannot come up with an actual reason for that, we might re-think why we hate it.

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