Fox News sunk to a new low this week with the airing on Fox and Friends of a 4-minute infomercial for the Republican Party.
Billed as an objective look at Obama’s first 3 and a half years in office, in reality it was a blatant cheap shot, an advertisement for the GOP mixed in with negative attacks on Obama’s 2008 campaign theme of hope and change.
Given that this is the same news organization that engages in rampant wiretapping and spying, perhaps nothing done in the name of Rupert Murdoch should surprise us. Of course, the same show that aired the GOP attack ad under the guise of objective journalism also took the lead in defending their parent company’s phone hacking habits.
This behavior is par for the course of anything-but-fair-and-balanced journalism. Media Matters, a media watchdog group, has a lengthy list of all of Fox News’s misdeeds. There are too many to name; in fact, Media Matters maintains an entire page just to keep track of Fox’s lack of balance. They estimate that the GOP received $100,000 in free advertising because Fox and Friends aired the attack ad twice in just one episode.
As a liberal or a Dem you would not pay attention to Fox, and now if you’re Independent you have even less reason to trust Fox. Just as importantly, this makes it even harder to take serious the Republican partisans that do watch Fox.
We already know that Fox News viewers are actually less informed than television viewers who watch no news at all, but now it is more evident than ever that the network has eliminated all pretense of journalistic balance.
The real story is not just that Fox News is a mouthpiece for conservative Republicans it is that the network literally sets the conservative agenda. Remember Tony Snow? He was the Fox News personality who jumped straight to the George W. Bush White House as press secretary? It would be laughable to even consider David Gregory, Matt Lauer or Brian Williams of NBC doing something comparable.
It was Fox News that helped the Birther movement enter mainstream consciousness and it was Fox News that choreographed Tea Party coverage.
It is a systematic effort to not just cover politics from a conservative perspective, few would disagree with that. But the real goal is setting the nation’s political agenda. And it is a dangerous game given its blatant disregard for journalistic objectivity.