Category Archives: Fox News

For Fox sake

hannity in california

Rallying: Hannity in California

Many pixels have been spilled (as well as a few quarts of ink) about the Obama administration aggressively snubbing Fox News.  Most commentators have chosen to use Nixonian analogies, typically concluding that presidencies rarely win in such conflicts.  This may be Obama’s fate as well.  I’m not smart enough to know.

But I think the analogy is the wrong one to use.  Obama’s people argue that Fox is the “research arm or communications arm of the Republican Party.”   To me, that’s not a problem.   The media is supposed to research what’s wrong with government.  If Fox unearths legitimate issues that undermine the administration’s agenda, so be it.

Likewise, if Fox approaches news from a conservative viewpoint, so be it.  From the dawn of the Republic, newspapers have been rooted in political viewpoints.  There’s no reason why Fox or MSNBC should be any different.

But for some reason, I never hear this argument:  Fox is a political organization in and of itself.  Fox crosses the line when it organizes and promotes issue-related rallies, like the Tea Parties or Sean Hannity’s water rally in California (wherein he decried what he claimed were environmentalists choosing endangered species over people).

Once a media organization becomes a political organization, then it loses its credibility.  You can’t do both.  You can’t actively rally folks to a viewpoint, then expect the other side (or anybody else, except for your amen chorus in the audience) to take you seriously as a news organization.

Jon Stewart also overlooks this argument.  But he makes some other good points, bolstered by Fox’s own spin.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
RollingGhetto5

With Mike Daly in New Orleans, Sept. 2005

When I worked at WAGA,  folks loved to roll down their windows at stoplights when pulled up alongside marked “Fox 5 News” vehicles and holler passionate words of support for the Fox News Channel.  I always absorbed them with a friendly nod and a fake smile.  Sometimes I threw in a “hell yeah” for comic effect.

One time, a photog and I happened to drive by a small lefty-type protest at Ponce de Leon Ave. and North Highland.  One of the protesters scrunched up his face and spat on the windshield.  The loogie landed squarely in the drivers side.  It was a nice hit on a moving target.

dougkuwait

Sleepless in KC, March 28 2003

He didn’t know that WAGA’s Fox 5 News occasionally uses Fox News Channel as a resource (and vice versa), but otherwise has very little to do them.   In 2007, a few weeks before I left WAGA, I did a live shot on Shepard Smith’s afternoon newscast.   In 2003, I did a live shot from Fox’s bureau in Kuwait City.  (It’s worth noting that as the US/Coalition was invading Iraq, Fox’s staff in Kuwait City showed no behind-the-scenes hint of ideology.  They seemed only interested in covering the story and doing it safely, like any other TV network.)

As of 2007, nobody from Roger Ailes’ office had ever tried to put a political spin on WAGA’s news coverage, to my knowledge.  I suspect WAGA is still a very, very distant blip on Ailes’ radar.  Most folks don’t know that WAGA also had a resources-sharing relationship with CNN until recently.

So the loogie gesture was a bit misplaced.  But I respected the protester’s power to spit accurately.  And I understood his confusion.

Off the plantation

Think you work in a rough environment?  Put yourself in the shoes of Shepard Smith, the Fox News Channel guy who manages to hold his job despite his kool-aid free diet.  Here’s another reason to kinda love Shep.  From Gawker:

Satanic majesties

No doubt, we weren’t the only ones who howled with laughter when we spotted the current Creative Loafing in a box in Decatur.  The cover photo of Bob Barr is delightfully evil.  It is among several taken during a Libertarian Party fundraiser. Photographer Joeff Davis — if that’s his real name — used the tried-and-true technique of below-the-subject lighting.  It put horns on Barr’s head (in the print version) and put Spockian shadows on his eyebrows.  Barr’s reptilian smile is all his own doing.

(Did somebody mention Spock?  Sorry, then resistance is futile.   If the f-word or homoerotic themes offend you, then skip this rather side-splitting video.)

Given the relative anonymity of his presidential candidacy, Barr probably didn’t complain much.  This would contrast sharply with the reaction John McCain’s camp had over a photo that appears in this month’s Atlantic.

Apparently, Atlantic hired a lefty photographer who happily took her political agenda to the shoot.  The result was a photo that McCain’s backers used as ammo to gripe about what they see as a media conspiracy against their guy.

The Fox News Channel was apoplectic.  Its snarling interview with Atlantic’s editor was ringing with naked partisan outrage.  (Regular viewers of Fox News are probably accustomed to this.  We aren’t.)  The Atlantic editor apologized and denounced the photographer.  The dissatisfied Fox anchor all but demanded legal action or, it seemed, a good ol’ fashioned necktie party.