Fox News: a Journalistic Joke

had always heard that Fox News was biased and slanted towards the right but being that I didn’t watch much television news anyway, I never really paid much attention.  However, that all changed about a year ago when I got a new roommate who happened to be very conservative.

I would come home after school and Fox would be on in the living room.  Sometimes it was Bill O’Reilly, other times Hannity or even Glenn Beck.  I would sit down and watch, thinking it would be the same news that I would get from any other channel because it was advertised as “news.”  It didn’t take me long to realize that I was very, very wrong.  Fox’s idea of “Fair and Balanced” is quite a perverted one and it scares me that many people watch it to get their daily dose of news.  A recent article by Jacob Weisberg for Newsweek, “The O’Garbage Factor: Fox News isn’t just bad. It’s un-American,” strongly criticizes its propaganda values and backs up the many concerns I have with the channel.

Weisberg talks about how one of the most important aspects of the “American press is not its century-old tradition of independence [but] that it serves the public interest rather than those of parties, persuasions, or pressure groups.”  This idea actually fits into the mission statement I wrote early on in this class.  I feel that as a journalist it is extremely important to be as devoid of bias as possible.  It is our job to present the public with information, and if that information is tainted by party ideals or pressure groups then it really isn’t journalistic news but propaganda and should be advertised as such.  As Weisberg states, Fox’s advertisement of “Fair and Balanced” is an outright lie that should be called out.

In the article, Weisberg writes about how reporters who appear on Fox “validate its propaganda values and help to undermine the role of legitimate news organizations.”  I completely agree with this statement.  I feel that it is important for journalists to stand up for the morals and standards of journalism and to not participate in biased coverage.  By participating they are sending the message to viewers that Fox actually has a legitimate standing in the journalistic world, which I believe it absolutely does not.

I was especially interested in Weisberg’s statement that “Fox hasn’t just corrupted its own coverage. Its example has made all of cable news unpleasant and unreliable.”  I think this is extremely important for journalists to take into account.  In an attempt to combat Fox, other news organizations have started to politicize and slant their coverage, which I believe to be the exact wrong thing to do.  Fighting fire with fire in this scenario is bad news, literally.  Instead, journalists should stand strong to the values and ethics of good journalism and work to be the true example of fair and balanced.

About Madeline Dickerson

I am a recent graduate of the University of Oregon with Bachelor of Arts degrees in magazine journalism and cinema studies. I am currently interning at the "Chinook Observer" in Long Beach, Washington. I plan on pursuing a career in photojournalism and reporting.
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