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Columns December 3, 2010 //  by  // 8 Comments

Fox News isn’t fair or balanced

Would someone please sit Rupert Murdoch and his cronies at Fox News down and give them a lesson on what Nazism really is? It seems as though every day there is another claim launched by Fox affiliates that some left-leaning person or group is communist, socialist, elitist, terrorist-linked or most frequently a Nazi.

This idea is not meant to be taken literally; for them, referring to someone as a Nazi is just another way of saying “of a different opinion than our own.” It seems that until recently we reserved the moniker for only the cruelest of cruel, the most sinful corrupt tyrants and murderous hooligans around. So what gives?

The most recent example of this blatant mischaracterization was leveled against NPR by Fox news chief Roger Ailes when he said, “They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view.”

This attack was in response to NPR’s recent firing of anchor Juan Williams for his paranoid ramblings about Muslims. NPR’s reason for firing Williams was that, “His remarks on The O’Reilly Factor … were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”

I suppose there are two ways to look at this. One, Williams was fired because his statements were borderline discriminative against a major religion and, being a news organization that is supposed to be fair and balanced, NPR didn’t want comments tarnishing their reputation.

Or there is the opinion of the self-prescribed fair and balanced folks at Fox who feel like by firing Williams, NPR was abusively exercising censorship. Ailes retracted his previous statements last Thursday after receiving negative feedback from the Anti-Defamation League: “my now considered opinion nasty, inflexible bigot, would have worked better.”

Frankly, this assertion by folks at Fox News seems like a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black, or even the right-wing, corporate funded, aggressive, bully-like news channel calling anyone that questions their opinion a Nazi.

As for the claim that NPR bigwigs are censoring their output, perhaps they should take a better look at themselves. The GOP’s ties to Fox news is not merely a rumor; during the first house debate since the mid-term elections, the GOP proposed to cease federal funding of National Public Radio.

This attempt to defund NPR was supported and lobbied by House Minority Leader and Republican all-star Eric Cantor, who also spoke out in the debate against NPR’s firing of Juan Williams.

Some other examples of news media’s finest publicly calling for the de-funding of NPR are Juan Williams (go figure), Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.

All of them are affiliated with Fox News, all admittedly conservative and all (some might speculate) a little bit crazy.

In what has been called “a new low in American television”, Fox News pundit Beck launched a two-day long tirade on billionaire holocaust survivor and NPR financial contributor George Soros.

It almost seems futile to discuss the fanatical opinions of Beck, but the fact remains — he still has an audience.

In his ramblings, Beck tried to paint Soros as an anti-Semite and insisted that Soros is on a mission to overthrow our country, a claim that has the ADL and the Jewish community riled up. So congratulations, Mr. Beck, you have retained your title as world’s biggest idiot.

John Gervais is a psychology senior and may be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com.


  • http://twitter.com/GPackwood @GPackwood

    Good opinion piece!

    Just…
    Think Outside the Fox

  • Cole

    Don't get it mixed up, Juan Williams was fired because "his statements were borderline discriminative," against Muslims. He could have said anything "borderline discriminative" against Christians and been fine. Write your next piece about that double standard.

  • Arafat

    How were William's comments untrue? When the truth becomes discrimination or prejudicial than a society is in trouble.

    Let's quit pretending Muslims are not culpable for every single airline terrorist incident and for every single failed attempt at bringing down airplanes.

    It is John who is doing exactly what he accuses Fox News of doing, i.e., spinning a story to jibe with his own prejudicial views of the world.

  • Arafat

    John Gervais is not fair or balanced, but that does not prevent him from accusing others of the same thing.
    http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelMedved/2010

  • Bring It

    "Fair and Balanced"-I think by now the cat's out of the bag…

    Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck- these are the same people that are "outraged" about something or other on a daily basis. Its how they get people to pay attention to them. It no longer matters if what they are doing is fair, or if they lie. If you repeat something often enough, it becomes the truth, and that is the business model of Fox.

  • Jon H

    Are the choices of relevant news topics seriously thin. Everybody knows fox news makes random politically incorrect accusations numerous times a day. Nobody cares. We all know they're just trying to rile up the die hard fox news fanatics. They don't believe half the crap they publish.

  • http://www.facebook.com/godsblink Anthony DiRisio

    Nice read. I think fox should change their slogan to "Fox News: Unfair and Biased"

    I'm pretty amazed by how many people actually believe some of the disinformation that Fox News 'reports' on. I will never forget the day that Fox News sunk so low as to blatantly lie about the cost of Barack Obama's diplomatic trip to Asia. They reported that it would cost $200,000,000 for his 6 day trip. Turns out that their 'source' was a blogger in India who was just pulling a number out of his ass. It's no wonder educated people can no longer trust the mainstream media.

    Thanks again for the great article!

  • Mike G

    This opinion piece is as spun as its caricature of Fox News.

    I think if one were to actually watch all the news options (as I do and have for the past two and half decades), it ‘s obvious that every news outlet has a slant on what it promotes as news. The networks do a pretty decent job, but don’t provide a balanced approach to any story (i.e. avoid reporting all the facts from both sides). It’s also obvious that MSNBC is as outwardly Left and Fox News is Right. CNN and Headline News? They’re a lost cause and out of date.

    As the viewer, we have choices here and I like that. We can choose to watch or listen to news programs that purposely do not report both sides equally, opt for the left leaning screamers and pundits or opt for the right leaning screamers and pundits. The market is the viewer and the channels ultimately cater to their respective markets. There are more than enough options to combat Fox News (NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, HN, PBS, NPR), they’re all just failing at their ultimate job at attracting more viewers/listeners and increasing ad dollars/viewer donations. I’ve been hoping to see some good options for the past 22 years, I’ve subscribed to and watched several other news outlets during that time (Newsweek, NPR, PBS, MSNBC, Internet news sites), but all failed to provide anything worth watching for more than a few weeks.

    So the real issue is that competitor program directors are not providing good, solid viewing options. Does Chris Mathews, Joy Behar, Ed Schultz, Katie Couric or Keith Olbermann do the job? I’ve watched all of them and the decidedly accurate answer is “no they don’t'”. MSNBC, CBS and others would be smart to hire better talent and provide better programming to lure away viewers and advertisers.

    The fact that Fox News is dominating the other cable providers and even some of the network offerings should light a fire under the competition and the people who want a dynamic alternative to Fox News. The reality is they aren’t doing a good job, but like most things in life (which most of you students will discover), trends change over time and today’s dominant player will be the next “also-ran” (CNN).

    The trend will change so stay tuned.

    Mike G

    UH Class of ’93

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