THE CASE AGAINST FOX
Fox is a Republican mouthpiece masquerading as a neutral "fair and balanced" news source. Democrats would never let Rush Limbaugh moderate a debate as if he were neutral or credible, so why on earth should they let Fox?
The more Democrats legitimize Fox as a neutral or credible source of news, the easier it is for Fox to swiftboat Democratic candidates and progressive ideas in the future – elevating smears and misinformation into the mass media during the 2008 election. CNN and MSNBC should never see a story break on Fox and feel any more compelled to run with that story than if they saw the same story in a Republican National Committee press release -- they are equally credible as a source of unbiased news.
For video evidence of Fox’s agenda, see Outfoxed director Robert Greenwald’s YouTube videos – Fox Attacks: Obama and Fox Attacks: Black America – which have received over a million views.
Below are key pieces of evidence that Fox intentionally serves as a Republican mouthpiece.
Fox executive John Moody sends internal memos each morning, dictating what Republican talking points should be reported on air.
- After Democratic victory in 2006: “Be on the lookout for any statements from the Iraqi insurgents...thrilled at the prospect of a Dem controlled Congress” (11/9/06) Fox reporter Martha MacCallum then claimed on-air that terrorists were dancing in the streets over Democratic congressional victory, with no proof. (11/9/06)
- On George W. Bush, during start of 2004 election: "His political courage and tactical cunning are worth noting in our reporting through the day." (6/3/03)
- On US troops dying in Iraq: “Do not fall into the easy trap of mourning the loss of US lives and asking out loud why are we there? The US is in Iraq to help a country brutalized for 30 years protect the gains made by Operation Iraqi Freedom and set it on the path to democracy.” (4/6/04). Fox anchor Brit Hume then commented on-air about 2000 American deaths in Iraq: “By historic standards, these casualties are negligible.” (Link)
- On Bush judicial nominees: “Let's spend a good deal of time on the battle over judicial nominations, which the President will address this morning. Nominees who both sides admit are qualified are being held up because of their POSSIBLE, not demonstrated, views on one issue -- abortion. This should be a trademark issue for FNC today and in the days to come.” (5/9/03).
- On the 9-11 Commission: “The so-called 9/11 commission has already been meeting… this is not ‘what did he know and when did he know it’ stuff. Do not turn this into Watergate. Remember the fleeting sense of national unity that emerged from this tragedy. Let's not desecrate that.” (3/23/04).
- On Bush tax cuts: “The tax cut passed last night by the Senate, though less than half what Bush originally proposed, contains some important victories for the administration. The DC crew will parse the bill and explain how it will fatten -- marginally -- your wallet.” (5/22/03)
- “Larry Johnson, a former part-time Fox commentator…[said] Moody missives were ‘talking points instructing us what the themes are supposed to be, and God help you if you stray.’” (Washington Post, 7/11/04)
FOX President Roger Ailes sent a secret strategy memo to George W. Bush after 9/11 – telling him how to look strong.
- After 9/11, Fox News President Roger Ailes sent a secret strategy memo to George W. Bush via Karl Rove. It told Bush how to project strength. (Slate, 11/16/02)
- “Ailes was not supposed to be giving political advice," reporter Bob Woodward notes, because he was now running Fox News. (Slate, 11/18/02)
- Ailes was a media adviser for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Richard Nixon (Wikipedia)
FOX hired George W. Bush’s first cousin to run their “decision desk” on Election Night 2000 – he called Florida for Bush, then other media followed
- “The story began on election night at 2:16 AM. Fox News projected George W. Bush as winner of the Florida primary and the Presidential election. In a classic case of pack journalism that college professors will no doubt cite for years to come, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN all followed Fox’s lead during the next four minutes, calling the election for Bush. The telling part of this story is that the call was made by John Ellis, a freelance political advisor contracted by Fox News to head their election night "decision desk." Ellis is also first cousin to George W. Bush and Florida governor John Ellis ‘Jeb’ Bush.” (AlterNet.org, 12/14/00)
- “The head of Fox's projection team said he spoke five times with his cousin, George W. Bush…Publicity about his relationship to Bush has proved an embarrassment to Fox, whose executives were angry with him Monday for writing about it.” (CNN, 12/12/00)
When Democrats cancelled the Fox debate, Fox executives and TV personalities lashed out at progressives – saying things no neutral news organization would ever say.
- Fox News vice president David Rhodes called progressive groups “radical, fringe” (Link)
- Beltway Boys Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes said progressive groups were “Stalinist.” (Link)
- John Gibson invoked Stalin and Trotsky. (Link)
- Bill O’Reilly compared Fox debate opponents to Nazis. (Link) Ironically, he also said that other media like NBC are biased – read daily talking points from MoveOn on the air (video)
- The “Bulls and Bears” business news show said the stock market was worried because of “far-left blogs cancelling a Fox-sponsored presidential debate.” (Link, video)
Some recent examples of Fox smears and misinformation.
- Fox smeared Barack Obama: In January 2007, Fox repeatedly aired false charges that Sen. Barack Obama was schooled in a “madrassa.” Fox has also actively calls Obama “Barack Hussein Obama” and tries to make an issue of Obama’s race. All captured in director Robert Greenwald’s short YouTube film, Fox Attacks: Obama. (Video)
- Fox misinformed viewers about Iraq: A 2003 University of Maryland study found that Fox News viewers were far more likely than other networks’ viewers to be misinformed about whether Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11 Al Qaeda terrorists -- and whether weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. (Link)
- Fox uses questions marks in on-screen headlines to smear Democrats and prop up Bush
- Jon Stewart compiled Fox’s on-screen headlines: “Have Democrats Forgotten The Lessons of 9/11?” “Saddam & 9/11?” “Is The Liberal Media Helping To Fuel Terror?” “The #1 President on Mideast Matters: George W. Bush?” “The Best President?” (Video)
- Jon Stewart: “Yes, Fox has figured out that by simply putting a question mark at the end of something, you can say…anything.” (Video)
- Fox legal show never talked about the Libby trial! “On January 22, 2007, the jury in the "Scooter" Libby trial was seated. At no time, between that day and today, March 6, 2007, when the Libby verdict was handed down, did Fox's high profile legal anchor, Greta Van Susteren, host of ‘On the Record,’ -- and one of its purported ‘liberals’ -- utter the words ‘Libby trial.’” The Newshounds website tracked what she did talk about day by day. (Link)
- Fox on-screen headlines show a blatant agenda and misinform viewers.
- Mark Foley – Democrat. Fox repeatedly labeled scandal-plagued Rep. Mark Foley a Democrat weeks before the 2006 elections – he is actually a Republican. (Link)
- Scooter Libby – not guilty. Fox’s on-screen graphic emphasized that Scooter Libby was found not guilty on one charge when the big news was that he was found guilty of four charges. (Link)
- Smearing Pelosi. When Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as House Speaker and she kicked off Democrats’ 100 Hours Agenda, a Fox headline said, “100 Hours To Turn America Into San Francisco” (Link)
- Hunting Accident Controversy – How is VP Cheney Feeling? This is obviously not the question most media were asking. (Link)
- Liberal blogs = terrorists? Fox asked if liberal bloggers are sending the same message as terrorists. (Link)
- All Out Civic War In Iraq – Could It Be A Good Thing? Now that’s spin. (Link)