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November 1, 2003
The Pot Calls The Kettle Black

The LA Times features an article today on how Fox News intentionally skews its news writing to support a conservative bias:

A veteran producer this week alleged that Fox News executives issue a daily memorandum to staff on news coverage to bend the network's reporting into conformity with management's political views, refocusing attention on the partisan bias of America's most watched cable news operation.

The charges by Charlie Reina, 55, whose six-year tenure at Fox ended April 9, first surfaced Wednesday in a letter he posted on an influential Web site maintained by Jim Romenesko for the Poynter Institute, an organization that promotes journalistic education and ethics.

(Romanesko's site, BTW, is on my blogroll to the left.) Read on for a taste of delicious irony:

The corporate boards and family investors who control most of the American news media generally feel obliged to maintain a wall of separation between news and editorial opinion. Murdoch, by contrast, operates in the style of the traditional Fleet Street proprietors, who dismiss such distinctions as inconvenient fictions.

Fictions -- an excellent choice of words, as the LA Times well knows, from incidents such as this, and this, as well as this, all of which have occurred during the one month that I've been blogging. The rest of the article contains various whining and crying about Rupert Murdoch's politics, the people he's hired and their political backgrounds, but never once talks about John Carroll's politics, the people he's hired and their political backgrounds (William Arkin, a Greenpeace activist who they employ as a military affairs specialist), or his behavior in the recall election, where he sicced dozens of reporters on Schwarzenegger to dig up salacious dirt without doing the same thing to either Gray Davis or Cruz Bustamante.

There is no wall between newsgathering and editorial direction, as anyone who reads more than one newspaper knows; it's all an elegant fiction, designed to set readers at ease while stories are punched up or pushed out to remote pages according to whether they fit the philosophical direction of the publisher and/or managing editor. CNN reflected Ted Turner's politics (and still does) in the exact same way that Fox reflects Murdoch's. For the LA Times, of all news outlets, to squeal like a schoolgirl at this practice is both hilarious and maddening.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 1, 2003 8:46 AM

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