Fox Fever – by Larry Elder


I spoke at a recent town hall forum. The many issues discussed included the Obama administration’s attack on Fox News. Later, one of the audience members came up to me and sneered, “Well, even you must admit that Fox News is biased in favor of Republicans.”

Separate the opinion guys from the news deliverers. Does Fox focus on stuff that the others — MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS — do not? Yes. Is that stuff more critical of liberals and less critical of conservatives? Yes.

The best gauge is who watches these stations. Fox News Channel, as a percentage of viewers, includes more self-described libs and indies than CNN or MSNBC includes self-described conservatives and indies. Pew Research Center recently studied the cable channels’ viewers’ politics. CNN? Fifty-one percent liberal, 23 percent independent and 18 percent conservative. MSNBC? Forty-five percent liberal, 27 percent independent and 18 percent conservative. Don’t know about the “fair” part, but Fox’s audience was the most “balanced,” with 39 percent conservatives, 33 percent liberals and 22 percent independents.

I know from my appearances that the audiences differ — at least as to the e-mail I receive.

When I appear on Fox, as I did to promote my latest book, “What’s Race Got to Do with It,” I get mostly approving e-mail. When I get one that disagrees, the writer points out — using facts, information or analogies — what, in his or her opinion, undermines my position. But when I appear on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN show — oh, man! Hundreds of hostile e-mails accuse me of everything but the Lincoln assassination. Only rarely, such as when someone took exception to the book’s premise — that white racism no longer poses a potent or even significant factor in America — does anyone argue intelligently, with facts or information. It’s snarl, attack, name-call.

On a recent appearance on Ed Schultz’s MSNBC show, I opposed Obamacare — or tried to, given the host’s interruptions. The e-mails I received were unprintable.

The White House loathes Fox News. President Obama pointedly excluded Fox while appearing on ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Obama’s communications director, on CNN, complained about Fox’s year-old coverage of Obama’s campaign. But a Pew Research Center study found that during the last six weeks of the campaign, 61 percent of CNN’s stories on John McCain were negative, compared with 39 percent on Obama. On MSNBC, 73 percent of McCain stories were negative, while only 14 percent of stories on Obama were negative.

But 40 percent of Fox News’ stories on Obama and 40 percent of those on McCain aired during the final six weeks of the race were negative. So, of the three major cable news networks, who can legitimately claim to be more “fair and balanced”?

But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, Fox News slants toward conservatives. On one side stand conservative talk radio, Investor’s Business Daily and some conservative/libertarian publications, writers, bloggers and, yes, Fox News. On the other stand The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and even the news section of The Wall Street Journal, as well as the editorial pages of virtually every big-city newspaper. It includes PBS, NPR, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC. In the 1992 presidential election, for example, almost 90 percent of Washington-based journalists admitted to voting for Bill Clinton for president.

But because Fox News is allegedly biased in favor of conservatives, critics whine like children whose lunch money got snatched. Conservatives have been pummeled for decades. Now that Fox News and conservative talk radio give people alternatives, critics squeal as if being sodomized.

Is Fox skeptical about the “bailout” and Cash for Clunkers or more likely to blame government rather than “greed” for the housing meltdown? Yes. Does Fox appear to focus more on Obama’s dithering over his top Afghanistan commander’s request for the troops the general thinks necessary to succeed? Yes. The better question is, why aren’t the others doing the same thing? The double standards and pro-liberal negligence are mind-boggling. If media malpractice were a crime, many “reporters” would be on death row.

When the Obama administration claimed 640,000 jobs were “saved or created” with $159 billion of the “stimulus,” many “news” outlets blithely “reported” this. Do you know that comes to $250,000 per job?!!! And the administration claimed half the jobs were teachers. How many teachers make $250,000 per year? Very little skepticism. Why didn’t “journalists” immediately challenge this as a matter of who, what, where, when and why? If George W. Bush had done this (God forbid he’d have supported an $800 billion stimulus package), the mainstream media would have — and should have — said, “Why, that comes to $250K per job!!!!!”

But as to Fox News, it’s BMW — bitch, moan and whine. Oh, the humanity!

  • Robert Bernier

    Better see it before it's pulled.

    Without comments…

    No one should miss this video:

    Look to the end ( 10 min.)

  • shanecomeback

    Robert bernier
    Is your link you keep giving out on all of your many posts a virus?

  • rolling thunder

    Fox news should be supported vs any Government opposition. But Fox News has its problems.
    Here are 2 examples:
    According to an extensive report in the New York Times, this man (Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News) has “flattered Communist Party leaders and done business with their children,” met repeatedly with senior members of the communist Politburo, “cooperates closely” with communist censors and propaganda networks, and “cultivates political ties” with communists in the hope that they will “insulate his business ventures.” Not only that, but he “often supports the policies” of communist leaders and “attacks their critics.”
    Its actually worse than that – if you search the internet you'll see what I mean. Then there is example #2: here's a portion from a Debbie Shlussel (conservative commentator) article:
    September 3, 2009, – 1:05 pm
    “I also told you about Prince AlWaleed’s bragging that when FOX News reported on the perennial Muslim riots in France, he called Rupert Murdoch, demanding the word “Muslim” be removed. A half hour later, FOX News was calling these Muslim riots “civilian” riots, with the word Muslim nowhere to be found or heard. This is why I routinely refer to FOX News by it’s real name, PAWNN–the Prince Al-Waleed News Network. “
    I like Fox News, and I read the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal (also now owned by Murdoch), but its important to realize that we have to diversify our sources of information, due to problems above mentioned.

  • therealend

    It's like the standard is that Fox must prove its purity while others don't have to. I'm dissappointed with the analysis I get from everywhere but Fox is far less bad at analysis and opinion than anyone else. If there are uncomplimentary things to be said about politicians, somebody ought to be saying them. The press is supposed to hold their feet to the flame after all. That goes with the job of leadership in a democracy. Get over Mr. President! We can't worship you all the time.

  • larrystokes

    It should be obvious to any objective viewer that the Acorn crackheads were hired to wield the manufactured signs declaring Fox racist.

  • lancelot1954

    Larry, another good inciteful article. Why liberals that wildly claim to be all about fairness and equality just can't handle a station that doesn't follow their beliefs. Call it hate speech they you can justify not counting it as free speech and try to stop it.

  • sflbib

    To liberals, Fox News slants toward conservatives because they see conservatives getting to express an opinion now and then. The best example of this attitude is Buckley's “Firing Line” which was considered “conservative” even though liberals got 50% of the time to talk.

    And one more thing. To minimize the audience but still be able to claim a “conservative” show, the Los Angeles PBS station KCET aired “Firing Line” at 4pm on Saturday afternoons when most people were busy with household and familial activities. Only dedicated conservative viewers were likely to make a point of viewing it in that time slot.