Saturday, October 24, 2009

Free FOX!

The Obama administration is going after Fox News, denying it is a legitimate news organization. My thought is that this is unprofessional and counterproductive. Fox is getting many more viewers now that they are the cool rebels, so to speak. The President of the United States should have more pressing things to do than waging a war of words with a cable news network. Fox is not fair and balanced, as it claims, but neither are most of the news organizations in the country. My favorite blogger, the political scientist Brendan Nyhan puts it well here:

While I have no love for Fox, which is a frequent conduit for misleading claims, it's not clear to me that non-"objective" journalism is in principle bad for American democracy or "un-American." The sad reality is that the "he said"/"she said" reporting style practiced by the establishment media legitimizes far more misinformation than Fox ever will. As my co-authors and I argue in the conclusion to All the President's Spin, responsible but non-"objective" journalism is sometimes better at countering spin than the mainstream press.

Is Fox more biased than the New York Times or MSNBC? My intuition says it's about even, but that is a guess and nothing more. (I would say Sean Hannity and Keith Olbermann come out about even on the partisan bias scale). Let the American people decide what is or is not a "legitimate" news organization, not the government.

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