Is It Ethical for a News Network to Actively Advocate Against a Sitting President
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Is It Ethical for a News Network to Actively Advocate Against a Sitting President

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | September 12, 2012 | Comments ()


It's no secret to anyone that Fox News is a conservative news network. It promotes conservative causes, it echoes conservative talking points (an anchor from their morning news program actually read from their talking points a few months ago), and it advocates for conservative politicians. The people they have on to present opposing viewpoints are typically easy straw men to knock over, and they're typically shouted over, anyway.

Most of us understand this about Fox News. We also know that they're not a fan of President Obama. But how deep does that dislike run?

Media Matters did four years of extensive research, fascinatingly put what we already knew into stark headlines by collating information proving that Fox News has made a concerted effort to turn President Obama into a one-term president. You should check out the entire report, but the headlines demonstrate their point effectively enough:

Since the election of President Obama in 2008, Fox News has engaged in an ongoing and escalating campaign to prevent him from winning a second term. At all levels, the network has continued to violate ethical standards by promoting any and all causes that further its goal of making Obama a one-term president.

  • After Obama's Election, Fox News Declared Itself "The Voice Of The Opposition"

  • Fox Parent Company Donated Millions To Republican Causes

  • Fox Figures Aggressively Supported GOP Candidates And Organizations

  • Fox Played Key Role In Shaping And Promoting The GOP Presidential Primary

  • Fox Aggressively Supported The Anti-Obama Tea Party Movement

  • Fox Provided Republicans With In-Kind Donations of Airtime

  • Fox Continues To Employ Prominent GOP Fundraiser Karl Rove Despite Ethical Conflict

  • Fox Newsers And Executives Tried To Influence GOP Elections And Causes

  • Fox Executives Pushed Fox News' Anti-Obama Messaging Coverage Against Obama


    Is this an ethical way to run a news organization?

    Moreover, as someone who listens to a fair amount of conservative talk radio -- because I like the theater and absurdity of it -- I often wonder if Fox News and conservative talk radio would actually suffer if President Obama were defeated? I mean, if you counted the number of times they mention Obama and the number of times they mention Romney, I'm guessing the former would outweigh the latter at least three to one. They spend the lion's share of their air time, not building up their own candidate, but tearing down Obama. Attacking Obama is a billion dollar industry. Without him, how would they fill their space?

    The best television dramas need an awesome villain. What would Fox News do without their Big Bad? In the long-term, beating up President Obama may not be just bad ethics, it may be bad business. Indeed, in the financial grand scheme of things, what's one day of celebrating for the conservatives compared to four more years of complaining?

    (Source: Media Matters)

    This Television News Has Given Me Violent Convulsions. Please Join Me in a Seizure! | Guilty Pleasures, Schmuilty Schmleasures: Or, Only the Penitent Man Will Pass (Judgment)

  • Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

    • BierceAmbrose

      Is It Ethical for a News Network to Actively Advocate Against a Sitting President

      Yes, as I've said. It is, however, unethical for a news or public access network to actively advocate for a sitting president ... or candidate. You didn't ask that question.

      This NPR puff piece reminded me:

      Today I encountered an Orwell quote that seems on point - "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations." We oughta have Journalists (not journolist - look it up). That's why we put up with them.

    • John W

      I hope media matters didn't spend too much money on that study. I have a news flash for them: water is wet and fire is hot.

    • BierceAmbrose

      Is It Ethical for a News Network to Actively Advocate Against a Sitting President?

      Yes. In fact, it is required.

      The sitting president works for us, including after the election. S/he doesn't get a signet to proclaim any damn thing. We don't anoint rulers, we appoint agents, agents we delegate specific, limited authorities, toward specific, limited ends, using specific, enumerated means. If you want to change the employment contract we offer, let's talk about it. I'd like to see a bit more competence in what they're doing already before letting them do more, but that's just me.

      As citizens vs. subjects we are required to monitor our employee, and to advocate against a sitting president we disagree with. We tolerate an independent press as a way to know what the government, including the sitting president, is up to - because they won't tell us, and a way to shout into the wind when we need to be heard - because they have the bully pulpit.

      An active, independent press is one of the few tools we have to control these agents given the terrible, distant powers we've let them wield on our behalf. A press that isn't the opposition - what good are they?

    • Strand

      There's a distinct difference between criticising a President on his flaws and what Fox is doing. The fear-mongering, muck-raking and smears that they've been doing these past 4 years is unprecedented.

      What do we get out of Fox bringing Donald Trump or Glenn Beck on to talk about the birther shit? Does it help anyone for Fox to mine ridiculous conspiracy theories, or pull the "Coincidence" above? It helps no-one. It doesn't add anything meaningful to national discourse when they propagate outright lies like the cost of Obama's trip to India, or that he secretly hates white people and has an anti-colonialist agenda (what that even means in 2012, I don't know).

      MSNBC does it as well, but you cannot with a straight face, say that it's even comparable to Fox.

    • BierceAmbrose

      I can, with a perfectly straight face, compare what Fox has been doing with President Obama & his administration to what MSNBC, CNN & the rest of a long list did with President George W. Bush.

      So, no. I call bullshit. The comparison is perfectly apt, not least because quite a few of the usual suspects set out to de-legitimize Bush II from the get go. Some said so, out loud. (Like he needed help with that.)

      Use the google if your memory needs help.

      For some real fun, go dig up old political cartoons. I've found tons or relentless, vicious stuff from the early 20th century, mid 19th and from the revolutionary war to two administrations past the constitutional convention. Great reading.

      Or look up the origin of the term "muckraking."

      The guys these days are lightweights.

    • Strand

      Bullshit. Jumping from "MSN is left, Fox is right" to "They're just as bad as each other!" is just false equivalence. You can't just say "let's call it even" because the truth is not down the middle. During Bush II's presidency, what big stories did MSNBC run on loop? He's not particularly intelligent, he's privileged, started a war on false pretences, is a member of a secret society.

      Now look at what Fox is willing to give airtime to: Obama's a secret socialist, a Muslim, a Kenyan, FEMA death camps, secretly hates white people and their success, wants to implement martial law, is serving the NWO. That's their MO, they give a soapbox to lunatics like Glenn Beck or Donald Trump, and when their opinions sour and become unpopular (like the birther conspiracy), they simply disown them as not representing Fox. These stories aren't legitimate complaints about a President, they're the ramblings of a paranoid, delusional crazy person.

      You think that's incomparable to what MSNBC does with Republican politicians? Not even the same ball game.

    • BierceAmbrose

      Bullshit. Jumping from "MSN is left, Fox is right" to "They're just as
      bad as each other!" is just false equivalence. You can't just say "let's
      call it even" because the truth is not down the middle.

      I sad nothing about left, right or where the truth might be found. I'm talking about muckraking, of which is abundant and universal.

      I am talking about this: Is It Ethical for a News Network to Actively Advocate Against a Sitting President? I only wish they'd all do a better job of it.

      What are you talking about?

    • BierceAmbrose

      You think that's incomparable to what MSNBC does with Republican politicians? Not even the same ball game.

      Oh, you're right. As I've said several times, FOX & Friends (See what I did there?) are amateurs at this.

    • BierceAmbrose

      Oh, come on.

      Of course, FOX has a POV, an audience, and even an agenda. I could go point for point on your bill of particulars filling in not one but several networks, "news" organizations, or channels ... except they like the other guys. As for broadcasting batshittery, I watched the convention. The D one. They're not unique in their behavior. They exist and they're on the wrong side - that's what bugs you.

      And of course, your argument about media separate from politics is the straw-y-ist of straw haired anchor-babes. Media has been deeply interwingled in politics literally forever. The problem here, dear overlord is you aren't a dumb guy, so you know all this.

      Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but ...

      This isn't about integrity. This is about a bunch of people who aren't in the tank for the guys you like, and won't shut up. This is about *those other guys* playing the same game the ones you like do all the time. And BTW The Bad Guys aren't terribly good at it. FOX? Really? Clumsy, obvious and semi-coherent. Media as an extension of politics is as old as, let's say NPR, just to tweak people. (Yes, Breitbart had issues. Thing is, *that* video says what it says - no matter where it came from. There's NPR guy on tape with what he said coming out of his mouth. Go see for yourself)

      So, how's that integrity of an independent press thing going? You know, the whole press including the "non-fox" press.

      The hack-o-sphere is shilling so hard for The Good Guys(r)(tm), they - you - are making the other guys look good. That ain't easy. Really. Kudos. I wouldn't have thought it possible had I not seen it. Yet, there it is. For fucks' sake, show me a piece on President Obama since, well, ever, that the NYT - "paper of record", people - hasn't had to walk back. Latest one, no, he wasn't offered tenure. That's a piece of the "genius-scholar" story, but no, not a professor, a "lecturer" a difference which matters in academia, and editor of the law review but does not have a corpus of published scholarly work & etc.

      The point isn't Obama's smart or not, or accomplished or not. The point is, get the facts straight or we'll stop believing you. At all. Ever. And come on, your very own personal messiah has only walked on water with small waves vs. calming raging storms - this isn't enough, for now?

      Here's the other problem - you do them no favors letting them slide. Administrations in the US need a vigorous, skeptical press to check their degenerate impulses - to keep them maintaining the vague semblance of honesty. They'd have never dumped the money into Solyndra if they really believed they could get caught. So, that "investment" with bad results and bad optics discredited the idea of investing in alternative energy. That and pissed away a bunch of money on fancy chairs and a new factory, without, you know, making piles of solar panels. Every good energy initiative that can't get traction from now on can trace that impediment back to a lazy press.

      Here's how it ought to work, chosen to raise hackles. Of course Akin is an idiot, blah, blah, blah. Reince Priebus, chairman of the RNC responds on record - even it it's a dead heat, the RNC won't send Akin any money. I remember because I was so shocked. The RNC did the only right and politically viable thing, unequivocally, in public, and without hesitation. What is this opposites week? The point is, because the press comes at them so hard, The Stupid Party did the right thing (for once.)

      We should maybe afford the party & administration on the side of the angels the same support. FOX, being relentless, is performing a public service. I wish they had more help. We might have gotten health care changes that actually fix the three problems pretty much everyone can agree on had the press been WTF-ing all over that exercise, rather than "obstructionists" & "just let them do this thing."

      Here's a kicker for the shill / trolls ... I think the press and opposition party should have gone way harder at the last administration. Not stupid stuff like mocking a Texican strut. Real stuff like "So, you're gonna invade Afghanistan. Then what? You do remember the Soviet invasion of the same place? WTF?" How about "Explain again how this quick-baked behemoth you call 'Homeland Security' doesn't become a police state? And BTW, could you have picked a creepier name? WTF?" "Two years after the commission reported on what to do about our security, how many of their recommendations are in place? WTF?"

      Without the backstop of a vigorous, critical press the current administration is making a butt-load of unforced errors. If you agree with their agenda, that's just plain bad for them and for you.

      Fox "news" richly deserves to be watched through brita, zerowater *and* those andromda-strain masks the agents of unspecified agency always wear when telling people nothing's wrong. Yet, their "agenda-journalism" ranking is somewhere in the middle, so says I, based on watching them all, then checking for myself the stuff I care about.

      Integrity in reporting would be, for today's example, juxtaposing President Obama's comments on the politicization of a tragedy with candidate Obama's comments on ... politicization of a tragedy. Same thing, opposite position. (Google is your friend. When will these people realize that if it happened, it's out there?) Same thing, opposite position. Also, throwing that kind of critique, right now, today, at the other candidate isn't political, apparently. (In "remarks" as a campaign event yesterday. So much for no campaigning.)

      It is the job of the press to say to *every* administration that would rule us - WTF? Say it loud, say it proud, say it all the time - Just what the H-E-double toothpicks do you think you are doing there?!

      WTF, when an Ambassiddor gets killed in our own consulate. (Unconfirmed as yet - Marines not permitted to carry ammo in some / one of the compounds. Seriously? They're there for one reason. Arm them up or send them home. Leave them as split the difference window dressing and all they can do is die. WTF?)

      WTF, when our new allies and friends storm our consulates / embassies & so on - how many at this moment?

      WTF, when some Jr. staffer sends out "We were mean." tweets in the middle of the riots. (BTW, if that's policy - WTF? If some Jr. staffer is spewing such stuff without adult supervision - WTF? If the administrative culture lets people think they can & should do such stuff - WTF?)

      They - the idiot, shill press - didn't even ask the hard questions with the previous administration, really ...

      WTF, vague war powers & a rejigger of the entire internal "security" apparatus to give you more freedom of action, when you didn't see the attacks that prompt this request coming in the first place - WTF?

      We, the folks who appoint these agents to do stuff for us (only when we can't find a better way to do the same thing, because Godtopus knows, they're corrupt when they can manage it, and feckless the rest of the time), need all the help we can get keeping them under control. Fucking giving the current president (& for a longer time this president's party) a free ride drives people to Fox with their primary-color barbies.

      We, the citizens should go at everybody hard, just to try to keep them in line.

      For fuck's sake, people, and I mean you, yes, you, you smug, self-righteous, sneering, preening jackholes. I would like to be on "your side" if you could just quit chasing me the hell away. You, you with your relentless, ruthless, one-sided, dishonest, dismissive, abusive crap at which FOX are phishers by comparison, you'd have me if you'd go after all of them, all the time. If you could be a scooch less snotty as well, that would be nice, but not required.

    • Yeah Right

      If Obama were defeated they would find someone else to complain about.

    • Mertens

      Is it ethical? I don't know. Why don't you ask ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC because they sure advocated against Bush for 8 years. Actually the new question should be, "Is it ethical to campaign for the Main stream media to campaign for a president?" As all the aforementioned channels are doing as we speak for Obama.

    • BierceAmbrose

      "Is it ethical for the media to campaign for a president?

      In theory, no.

      In practice, you get all kinds of tangles when you try to stop the press from doing whatever they want.

      For example, there was great angst last election cycle about the timing of a book & a movie. Whining-D's got all tripped up by that pesky "free speech" thing. Thing is, this election there are how many puff-piece books about the wonders of the current administration?

      Bob Woodward, Godtopus bless him, still acts like a journolist - sorry, journalist. He goes at everybody.

      We do try to limit how much *campaigns* and *current administrations* can influence media, especially spending public funds to do so.

    • Jezzer

      Once again, no, they fucking did not. Show me one -- just ONE -- fucking example of the other major media news outlets acting like Fox News does on a regular basis. You can't, and you won't, because you don't have a fucking leg to stand on and you know it.

    • BierceAmbrose

      Conveniently ... last night's prime time news coverage ran about 9 minutes on Romney's statement, to under a minute on trashed embassies, dead state department staff, and so on. The exact numbers depend on who counts, and how you time it. It's the right ballpark, about 9:1.

      So, who's in the tank, here?

      For Godtopus' sake, people, I don't like The Stupid Party, I am so concerned with the free pass the current administration's had I may have to vote for a major party candidate for the first time, ever. How bothered am I to have to consider choosing the greater evil because they'll be able to get away with less?

    • Jezzer

      Did they follow the segment by showing the anchors rolling their eyes and asking the question, "Is THIS who America needs as its next President?" Then did they have Ann Fucking Coulter and Karl Fucking Rove come on as talking heads to explain how liberals are destroying America? Did they invite a "guest" with an opposing viewpoint and shout him down and do everything short of muting his microphone so that his point couldn't be heard?

    • BierceAmbrose

      "Is THIS who America needs as its next President?"

      Apparently you slept through the Bush administration? Or the last presidential campaign?

    • BierceAmbrose

      I'll see your Ann Coulter and raise you "Tingles" Matthews. I'm holding Olby in reserve.

      Sadly, I lost all respect for Rachel Maddows, who has done great interviews, when I heard her hatched job on a candidate. She goes completely "gotcha" on a scientist from Cal Tech running for a local office, pulling something out of his newsletter & not letting him answer. I *heard it with my own ears* & know enough about nuclear stuff to understand what he was getting at. She kept "asking" and wouldn't let him answer.

      As near as I can tell, he was in danger of winning, so anything goes.

      The latest instance I know of, of slut shaming in prime time was the liberal commentator, on Fox as I recall, who said on air that Michelle Malkin needs to get laid. Given a chance to walk it back, she doubled down.

      (I don't generally watch Fox. That one made one of the aggregaters, maybe Mediaite. Anyway, google is your friend if you care to find it.)

      As for shouting down, Soledad O’Brien shouting down & talking over that guy about "Critical Race Theory?" Reading somebody else's talking points. I had a WTF over that one - never had a handle on "Critical Race Theory." So, I went digging, and in among the ret-con edits to Wikipedia found ... that the "guest" was perfectly correct.

      It's damn inconvenient having the text of the guy's books on line when you're trying to claim he never said that.

      However, you make my point for me. Here you are, all "fair and balanced" and not a word about the behavior of the folks you happen to agree with. Plus, of course, the name calling. When ad homenim is what you got, you've already lost.

      As an unreliable narrator, there is no point in listening to you.

    • hater from siloam springs

      Dustin: You cannot possibly be serious. The question is not even remotely credible.

      Here's why I say that, in one utterly-innocuous example. You'll remember that there was a previously-sitting president -- I know, it was a long time ago in blog years, but before the era of Hope and Change there was a guy named George Bush who was President of the United States. I know you haven't forgotten him because, at least, President Obama still blames him for the steaming shit-pile which is still in operation in Washington.

      When that Previous Fellow was in office, the following was run-of-the-mill for reporting on the price of gasoline and the effectiveness of his presidency:

      Meanwhile, these days, this is run-of-the-mill for media coverage of gasoline prices (which are now 2x [and in some places: 3x] what they were under that Previous Fellow)
      vis a vis the sitting President who will move us Forward :

      Now: you ask us, is it right for a news network, on the front side, to tell anyone watching what their political slant is when interpreting the events of the day? And is it also right for them to actually say, "we are the voice of political opposition to the sitting president?"

      It seems to me that at least this is an honest approach to coverage: this is putting your cards on the table. You might watch them and at least say, "well, at least I know they are trying to advocate for a particular point of view." When the other folks in this industry are plainly doing what they can to advocate for the kind of politics the sitting president, and did what they could to advocate against the Previous Guy, and they make no mention of their own biases, it seems to me to be more of a problem that some people simply need a reason to bitch about the reason their guy looks so bad in spite of utterly-fatuous and deferential treatment by all the usual suspects in the traditional media outlets.

      It used to be called "hard hitting" when the media was out to find the faults of politicians. Now it needs to be called "unethical"? Bullshit, Mr. Rowles. I call Bullshit.

    • Pajiba_Pragmatist

      I'll echo Jezzer here and note that the second article you linked has the word "editorial" right in the by-line! It's there to show that the following article is not to be taken as news, but as opinion.

      The editorial page of the NYT has included pieces like this one on why we shouldn't break up the banks . It's written by "William B. Harrison Jr." who "was an architect of the 2000 merger that created JPMorgan Chase and was the bank’s chairman and chief executive. He retired in 2006."

      I think it's safe to say that Mr. Harrison's view does not match that of the larger NYT reporter staff.

      Has there always been yellow journalism? Sure. Have there been people that the press liked more than others? Sure. But you are looking for deeper conspiracy and coordinated action, and it's just not there.

    • Jezzer

      Are you seriously trying to present and the New York Times as equivalent news sources?

    • Cooper

      I honestly don't know if people on the left are all hypocrites or just lack any form of self-awareness!

      Do you honestly think MSNBC and all the other left-of-center outlets would give a Republican president a pass on a single issue or not advocate against him?! Quit being such babies! You know damn well you would be applauding if instead of Fox against Obama this was MSNBC against a Republican president. And you ain't fooling anybody with all this bitching and moaning.

    • kirbyjay

      I seem to remember a Republican president named George W Bush and I do not recall any of the news networks assassinating his character like Fox does with Obama. The other networks basically reported on the stupid things he did, no comments added or needed.

    • Cooper

      If you're even half-serious you are lying through your teeth! No president was as harshly treated by the mainstream media the way Bush was, and I didn't even like the guy! Get real!

    • Pajiba_Pragmatist

      I will get real, and is simplest terms, you are utterly wrong. Bush, mostly because his press operation brilliantly managed access to the White House, had a pretty easy time of it on domestic issues up until the last 2 years or so.

      Between 9/11 and the collapse of the Iraq war plan, Bush was given considerable latitude on foreign policy as well.

      He was subject to attacks from MSNBC, and Jon Stewart, but most of those revolved around lightweight attacks on his verbal missteps, or his hands off attitude. He was not exposed to the same level of personal attacks.

      To wit - Cheney's daughter is a lesbian, proudly out of the closet and in fact a "professional" lesbian insomuch as she was hired to be the "face" for Coors to the LGBT community. Yet any mention of the bizarre dissonance between how the Vice President insisted on having his family treated and how Bush advocated others in the LGBT community be treated was grounds to have a reporter barred from all WH press functions. That threat alone essentially silenced one whole "personal" attack angle.

      Bush's niece had significant problems with crack cocaine; she was also a verboten subject for the press covering "war on drugs" if you wanted to keep your WH press pass.

      Bush himself refused to provide any answers about his cocaine use, his time in the national guard, his odd faux texan persona (he's east-coast born and raised, at the best schools). Again, mainstream media coverage of these topics after 2000 was basically risking your press pass.

      After the Democrats gained seats in 2006, and the economy was clearly heading downhill, reporters became willing to risk access again and you saw almost a pile-on of built up resentment.

      But no, Bush enjoyed at least 5 years of relative peace compared to Obama, who got, at most, 8 months.

      I must note that this was intentional. Friends of mine who are on the right were very resolute that 1. They would never be out raised again, and 2. Obama's persona must be destroyed if they were to have any chance at completing #1.

    • Jezzer

      At this point, I'm ready to have Pajiba Pragmatism declared a religion and follow it the rest of my days.

    • Jezzer

      No President should "get a pass" on wrong-doing, Republican or Democrat, but only someone either intellectually dishonest or a total fucking moron would try to claim Fox News wasn't out to perform character assassination, or that MSNBC has ever acted out as badly as Fox News.

    • ,

      FOX would probably say it's just trying to balance the disdain ABC/NBC/CBS/MSNBC/CNN/NPR etc. etc. have for Republicans.

      And just wait, FOX will find plenty not to like about Romney, once he doesn't have to pander to the far right anymore.

    • ,

      Look, if I read The New Yorker (and I do) and listen to NPR (and I do), I know what I'm going to get. I do it largely to find out what the enemy is thinking, but also because sometimes they do some pretty damn good stuff. I don't piss and moan, though, about how liberal they are, because they aren't going to change their stripes because I raise hell about it. And because I don't care that much. Some outlet somewhere is always going to try to undermine the guy in charge. Some of the things that got written and disseminated about Washington and Lincoln were horrible. No point in acting like this is your first media rodeo.

    • Jezzer

      When you paint an opposing viewpoint as "the enemy," you're pretty much illustrating what's wrong with the state of politics in America.

    • ,

      People not recognizing sarcasm is what's wrong with pretty much the rest of America. But if it makes you feel better: "What the loyal opposition who are fine and upstanding people and generally decent human beings but are usually amiss about politics are thinking."

    • Jezzer

      I somehow doubt that remark was "sarcasm" before I called you out on it.

    • AM

      Is this a question or a statement

    • blacksred

      My biggest problem with Fox News or as I call it Faux News is the complete and utter disregard for the office of just THIS PRESIDENT and their blatant hypocrisy. I mean Jon Stewart deserves a medal of honor for how often he points it out.

    • lowercase_ryan

      This is not an ethical way for a news network to conduct itself, but have you considered that Fox News is not a news network? It is a propaganda machine plain and simple.

    • googergieger

      I don't know, is it ethical to spank it while Rugrats reruns are blaring on in the background? In either case, I imagine I still sleep easier than most of Fox News. Though to be fair sleeping on piles of money seems like it'd be pretty uncomfortable. So maybe they got an excuse.

    • Archie Leach

      Wait, did you actually use fox "news" in the same sentence with "ethical standards"??

    • Clancys_Daddy

      "Is this an ethical way to run a news organization?" The question only applies if you believe fox is actually a "news organization". Personally I don't buy it.

    • Yossarian

      Fox News has no ethical obligation here. They are a television channel, they cater to their audience, deliver ratings, and flaunt their editorial bias. Concepts like journalistic integrity, honesty, objectivity, and impartiality are not ethical requirements of a news channel, they are self-imposed standards.

      And the people who watch Fox News know what they are getting. That's why they watch. They want a narrative that reinforces their ideological worldview, they want everything to be high-stakes and outrageous and provocative. It is much more entertaining than the banality of reasonable representations of events. People like a villain because they want to feel important and imbued with meaning and significance, even if (especially if) it is doom-and-gloom negativity. "Our way of life is under imminent threat- don't touch that dial."

      But what can you do? Reflexive outrage over what other people are watching on TV is just as silly. It's not the end of the world just because a bunch of idiots are taking in 3 hours of Fox News every night. It's mostly harmless, and even when it's not there is a free press. Yellow journalism & propaganda is not exactly historically unprecedented, and contrary to popular opinion the stakes are not as dire and the threats are not as insidious as they have been in the past. Information- tons of it- is out there. Lies are refuted in minutes. Abuses of power are exposed and criticized. The truth can't be so easily suppressed when it is beamed around the world and copied on thousands of redundant servers in an instant.

      Pick your battles. Don't assume you're always right and they are always wrong. Don't cry over every little slight. When something is worth fighting for, stand up and take action.

    • kirbyjay

      The thing that bothers me about Fox News is that it spews so much hate and it's viewers ( believers) regurgitate it. The so-called Liberal Media may have a more liberal bent, but I've never heard venom coming out of their broadcasts.
      Fox turns issues like gun control ( they'll take all your guns, how will you protect yourself from those darkies) to gay marriage ( those damn queers will be having anal sex in front of our children) to religious freedom ( them damn Muslims will build a mosque on every corner, burn down our churches and turn our government into Sharia laws) into hate and fear.
      I'm a Democrat, I respect Republicans right to their opinions, but it's the irrational opinions of the ultra-conservatives that I fear.

    • Strand

      Don't worry, they're already running on fumes. The GOP has gone so far to the right that it doesn't appeal to mainstream Americans. Most of their voting base is old, white people who are being outnumbered by increasingly moderate/liberal youths, Texas is becoming more blue with each election (simply by virtue of hispanics gradually displacing whites as the majority). The current GOP's days are numbered and Fox's with it. Now we just have to sit back and see whether they'll reinvent themselves as a Center-Right party or just implode under the weight of their hate and ignorance.

    • Carlito

      And some people believe that misinformation and warping of narrative, regardless of source, is something worth fighting for, and subsequently standing up and taking action. Of course this has a historical precedence, and you remember as well as anyone what happened before, right? People and other journalists working their damnedest to dispel and educate, especially when those news outlets/television channels have been shown to have clear influence over national issues.

    • Marie

      Seriously, read this.

    • Seriously, fuck you guys

      Pajibans are supposed to be better than this. This group is incapable of discussing politics of any kind (or religion for that matter) without resorting to name calling, accusations, and blanket dismissals of opposing views as wrong or stupid. I have seen some pretty thoughtful and open-minded discussions on a number of topics here, as well as a pretty broad spectrum of humor. But bring up politics and the commentors become a buch of feces-flinging idiots. It's sad on many levels, not the least of which is if this is how the smart people behave what of the stupid? No side is right in every way and no side is wrong in every way. To believe otherwise is as stupid and misinformed as believing that your fake wedding can be, in any way, like dealing with cancer. That's right, fuckers, when it comes to politics that's how stupid this site gets.
      Pajibans=Kardashians! I said it! Thanks for ruining my day assholes!

    • Pajiba_Pragmatist

      Here's the problem, you are unwittingly outlining the worst problem with Fox News today, and to a lesser degree MSNBC. Fox News is _never_ wrong. Ever. President Clinton summed it up best at the convention when he said 'we have reached a stage where one side believes they are always right, and to compromise is to show weakness'.

      At this point, both sides have adopted this posture, but the Democrats far less for very pragmatic reasons: the Democrats are still a coalition party rather than an ideological party.

      Prior to the internal pogroms of the 90's, Republicans were made up of Social conservatives who were relatively populist in economics, and Social agnostics who were very conservative on the economic side. Newt Gingrich recognized the obvious (there are more social conservatives than socially agnostic/economic conservatives) and moved to rid the party of social agnostics, focusing on growing the party through social conservatives.

      Dems through the time of Clinton were incredibly diverse ideologically, and even sought to maintain that diversity through the "blue dogs". That diversity is is jeopardy, and is part of the reason both sides are hardening into "there is only one true answer for all things, and we have it".

      But at this point in time, Republicans and Fox News have positioned themselves to such a far extreme that your line "No side is wrong in every way..." would be disputed by the very Republicans you are defending. Just think of the grief Romney has gotten for simply saying "there are parts of ObamaCare I would keep". He has been TORN APART by Fox for saying what you said: "no side is wrong in every way".

      So while I respect your passionate defense for a rational middle, it's not a position those you defend would support.

      (Update #1) I used the term "Blue Dogs" - Blue Dog Democrat is a take on the old term "yellow dog Democrat". Blue Dogs were fiscally conservative Dems, often from southern or rural states, that were willing to compromise or at a minimum ignore some of the more contentious social issues. Several members of the group were pro-life, and most were relatively "pro-gun", but the main focus was on a fiscal middle road. Recent elections have all but wiped out this group of democrats.

      (Update #2) A quick explanation on coalition party vs. ideological party. I was working with one of the drafters of the Republican platform, and he was bitching about how democrats were simply "whores". I said what do you mean? He said "Democrats ask their people 'what can I do for you?' with an eye towards pandering, whereas we tell people what we believe and ask them to join".

      This difference exists because the current Democratic party can never say what it believes because Democrats believe too many different things. A well educated gay jewish man in San Fransisco has virtually nothing in common with a Catholic family who works at the Ford plant in Youngstown Ohio, and neither of them have anything in common with a Black sharecropping farmer in Alabama. Because of this, Democrats are constantly forced to compromise because common ground is rarely obvious.

    • kirbyjay

      Maybe because the Democrats are trying to serve the people, all of the people, instead of just the wealthy, straight, religious white ones.

    • Pajiba_Pragmatist

      Wednesday, your use of the word "serve" is interesting. Dems tend to cobble together solutions that are neither elegant nor idologically pure. It's a reason that Democrats are often seen by conservatives as hypocritical. If hypocrisy is "saying one thing and doing another", then that can be one way to classify Democratic behavior, but I'd argue that Democrats see it as "This is the ideal solution, but I am willing to take 70% of it". But that can lead to some pretty harsh cognitive dissonance. The "Hey, you told me that we MUST HAVE solution X, or the world will collapse, but you accepted solution y".

      For many republicans, this is an unacceptable public stance. I use the word public because many Republicans compromise in practice; they just don't want to use that word in public.

      For Dems, they see compromise as a way to "serve" Republicans see the best way to "serve" is to lead without (visible) compromise.

    • Jezzer

      Dear God, this is the most rational comment yet. I can't believe I'm the first person to upvote.

    • Salieri2

      "Pajibans are supposed to be better than this." Who says?

      I miss Pajiba's original motto: "Scathing Reviews. Bitchy People."

    • Semilitterate

      All of these items could be said of MSNBC, albeit from the other side

      This president does not need fox or anyone else to screw up his reelection bid, he is quite capable of doing it all by his own self

    • Jiffylush

      Is it ethical to exploit the kidnapping, rape and murder of children for ratings and profit?

      Is ethics even a concern with twenty four hour news networks?

    • Uncle Mikey

      Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. succeed because the left has run network and print news for decades. Most of the media openly rooted against Bush and for Obama. If you're not going to even bother to notice that, stop pretending to have an ethical leg to stand on, much less an intellectual one.

      Name me five conservative news reporters (not opinion writers). Hell, name one who's the least bit even-handed other than Jake Tapper. Can't be done.

    • Jezzer

      Show me a major news media outlet openly rooting against Bush. Show me one example of a "leftist" major media outlet acting out as blatantly as Fox News.

    • Rummy

      Pointing out bias on Fox without mentioning the clear bias of Media Matters shows that bias should be defined as information you don't agree with.

    • David Sorenson

      Pointing out bias on media matters for pointing out the bias on fox without mentioning your own bias shows that bias should be defined as information you don't agree with.

      You do realize that this line of thinking pretty much never ends, right? That this constant search for bias in an effort to discredit a piece of information will go on forever? I call out what I perceive to be your bias. You call out what you perceive to be mine. We don't actually learn anything or discuss anything. We just write each other off as one of "the other guys."

      What's worse is how lazy it is. You didn't disprove any of the points that Media Matters made. You just said "bias" and handwaved it away, expending little to no thought. No effort at all.

      We have tremendous access to information now. More and easier access than at any point in human history. If you disagree with something, do some research and attempt to prove them wrong on a factual basis. If you do the research and can't, then maybe you should reexamine your views. It's a risk, but one worth taking.

    • Rummy

      The point was not to say two wrongs make a right. The point is that the source is as important as the 'fact'. Media Matters is a left leaning organization that has publicly stated their negative stance on Foxnews. It doesn't mean their facts are necessarily wrong. It means if I like what they say, I'll tend to believe it. If I don't, I'll say it's biased. Research does not mean much if you only read people that agree with you. And calling an internet comment lazy is Mom.

    • Jezzer

      I love people who handwave facts that get in their way. "FACTS, SCHMACTS! PISH, POSH!"

    • Royce Schnepp


    • mcleodlt

      There isn't a single news organization that reports the news without bias. Not one. They all claim to be unbiased. They all claim to tell the real truth. What you want to believe is the truth for you - I've seen very few on this site that are willing to give the opposing side's version (whichever side that is) an open, unbiased, and honest consideration.
      If you want the truth about anything or anyone, find it out for yourself and stop waiting to be fed your opinion.

    • Wednesday

      Unbiased is the *goal* of responsible journalism, not a reality. Everybody misses that goal, just by the fact of being human.

      But Fox doesn't even aim for it. It's not their goal. Their goal -- stated plainly and stated frequently -- is to be the voice of the conservative movement.

      I also listen to a variety of news sources, including conservative talk radio, for as long as I can tolerate it. And after about 10 minutes, I just can't take the willful disconnect from truth and reality any longer, and have to turn it all off.

    • mcleodlt

      You proved my point. Your unbiased feelings for Fox win the argument for you. You know your truth and you're sticking with it.

    • Wednesday

      It's not my truth, it's *the* truth. I listen to someone rant about Obama being a Kenyan with a fake birth certificate the first time. Even though they have an agenda (obvious from the tone), it bears examination. Hell, even the National Enquirer has been right about political scandal before. But when the accusation has been debunked, not once but by every possible source, I don't need to listen to the ranting any more. That's someone trying to create truth by repetition and volume. And it doesn't merit being rated as "news".

      I don't listen to 9/11 truthers, either, if you want an example of liberal conspiracy theory. My gut feeling of how I think the world works can't trump evidence.

    • Jezzer

      Fox is extremely conservatively biased. This is not a subjective opinion. This is observational fact for anyone whose brain is grounded in reality.

    • Slash

      I don't really consider Fox a news organization. They're shills for the Republican party. The other cable news assholes aren't so much biased as they are incompetent.

    • Pookie

      I would love to know the income level of everyone here that votes Republican. The answer alone would show me if you’re working with a full deck or not, just sayin'. Call me crazy, but I just don't believe that there are any trust fund babies here.

    • A Guy

      How ethical is it for entire news programs and news networks to actively promote, defend and be vocal cheerleaders for a sitting president?

      No, it's all Fox New's fault.

      The cognitive dissonance on here is cute.

    • Jezzer

      Dude, are you on fucking ketamine? You show me one example from one major news network -- and yes, I'm including the MSNBC your kind so loves to demonize -- that comes even close to what Fox News does EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

      You're talking about Fox News, The GOP and politics. It's a wonder that you would even include the word ethics in any line of this post.

    • Pants-are-a-must

      A friend of mine interned at The Daily Show a couple of years ago. She said all she did was watch Fox News and C-Span, both new and old broadcasts, day-in, day-out, to mine them for joke treasures.

      I can't imagine ever wanting to watch Fox News, unless Jon Stewart himself was going to benefit from it.

    • Jezzer

      What would Fox do without Obama? Probably what they did when Bush, Jr. was in power: put up a big picture of the President's ass and French it all day long.

    • Strand

      Fox exhumed the Lewinsky scandal (something that hasn't been relevant in well over a decade) not a week ago when they covered the DNC. If Romney wins, they'll do what every creatively bankrupt network does and recycle their old material aka illegal aliens, denying climate change, socialist witch hunts.

    • space_oddity

      And even without the President, there are plenty of Democrats to demonize. Nancy Pelosi, for example, who was a prime target during the Bush years.

    • Greedy

      How ethical is it for the President to appoint the CEO of GE (parent of NBC) to be his jobs czar? Fox may advocate for one side over the other, but at least they are transparent about it, which is more ethical than most other news outlets. If you think CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NYTimes, etc. etc are objective and unbiased, you are an idiot. A little intellectual honesty from time to time would be nice Rowles.

    • Jezzer

      I don't think Fox is so much "ethically transparent" as they are blatantly cynical and aware that the people who watch them religiously agree with the bias and believe every word they're spoonfed.

    • Pookie

      Really dude? You equate a cabinet appointment to a news organization that promotes the idea that this President is some sort of Manchurian President that is hell bent on destroying America?

    • macrophage

      News networks should report on an unbiased platform. Everybody has their biases but the news should ideally be based on facts that speak for themselves and while that may not be possible 100%, there should be a great deal of effort to strive for that kind of journalism. What is especially frustrating with Fox News is that they claim that they are unbiased, that they do not serve a Republican platform.

      Regardless, I don't think it's bad business for Fox to prevent a second term for Obama. The Fox News Network seemed to have been doing just fine when Bush was in power.

    • Mrs Pilot

      I watch Fox News, I am a conservative women. I also know they fall to the right as I am sure that many liberals who watch MSNBC know they fall to the left. I also take what I hear on these channels with a healthy dose of salt- they all have to sell advertising.

    • Pookie

      Nice, good to know that you are a part of a party that does not value you in any kind of meaningful way. Good to know that you will leave all of your medical decisions up to a bunch of guys that believe women have some sort of death ray inside of their vaginas.

    • Mrs Pilot

      No death ray in my vagina, it has only shot out golden rays of sunshine - 3 to be exact.

    • Pookie

      So you're a squirter then?

    • Mrs Pilot

      If you call three 10+lbs babies squirters then yes!

    • Pookie

      Honey I know you were talking about babies when you mentioned "3."

    • Mrs Pilot

      but did you know about them being 10+ lbs each? Because while being a conservative had probably dropped me off your points scale I should get a few points for birthing giant babies!

    • Sara_Tonin00

      When is that screengrab from? It's giving me agita.

    • Stephen Nein

      Everyone forgets FOX News existed during George W. Bush's administration and prospered mightily during those times. They will move on down the list of enemies and Do Unto Them As Them Deserve.

    • sherlockzz

      Keep an eye on all of them or don't watch any of them but whatever you do, don't just watch one of them.

    • BierceAmbrose


    • BierceAmbrose

      About a thousand years ago when I was in "College" (In Alexandria. Before the fire. I always said moving to "paper" was risky.) I got a sense that I wasn't getting ... the entire story.

      So, for one subscription cycle I read US News and World Report, and Mother Jones. You're supposed to get edjucummated in college, right? USNW, I must explain, had content and circulation at one time. They were what the euro-weenies call "center-right" at the time. MJ was "center-left" accounting for the range of opinions where I was at the time. Between the two of them, Mother Jones turned out to be better capitalists over time.

      Anyhow, you'd find the same stories. Or rather, very different stories about allegedly the same stuff. And the spin & agenda turned out to be perfectly consistent, yet - and here's the scary part - everybody's story, conclusions and assignment of blame and stupidity was perfectly compelling from inside the echo chamber.

      See for yourself.

    • Noocyte

      Thread-winner, right there.

    • To the extent that it is ethical for a news network to actively advocate anything, they might as well advocate against the reelection of Obama. Personally, I think a news organisation should at least try to be unbiased, even if they fail at it, but that's just me.

    • Your Site Is Bullshit

      It's no more unethical than Media Matters who takes millions of dollars from Left Wing money man George Soros for the sole purpose of one guy sitting in a dark room monitoring one news outlet.

    • Jezzer

      Well, it turns out that people are less inclined to work for you if you don't pay them. I know, I was gobsmacked too when I found that out.

      OOH! Is this why conservatives are against paying a fair living wage? Because they think paying people for their work is "unethical"?

    • BierceAmbrose


      "Living wage ..."

      People who don't want to work for what I can pay them are free to find something else to do for someone who can pay more. I encourage people who work for me to move on if they can do better. I can't always use everyone's full capabilities. When we're fortunate, people learn and grow while they're working for me, so they can do more & get paid more. I can't always use all the skill that someone uses into - the chef who graduates from CIA while working at a corner diner, for example. Sometimes people can do better somewhere else, and good for them.

      If we want to subsidize everyone up to a particular *standard of living*, that's a conversation to have. Milton Friedman was for it, with a rather elegant proposal for how. Demanding "employers" pay "a living wage" is about the worst possible way.

      The problem is that the "living wage" argument palms a card - that every job produces enough value to support a particular standard of living. We can argue about who captures how much when a job *produces a surplus*, meaning produces more than it consumes. A job must produce a surplus or it can't last - it can't consume more than it adds. That's after the ~15% FICA, social security, income tax plus local employment taxes. Effectively, a job has to produce around a 50% surplus to be viable, that's before cost of capitol, the overhead of employing something or employer or employee gaining anything from the relationship.

      We've seen what happens when wages are driven up, beyond the value a job produces. GM & Chrysler got bailed out in part under the burden of "unsustainable labor costs" - meaning wages greater than what was produced. Meanwhile, Ford fixed themselves and didn't need a bailout, while Volkswagon, Honda, Toyota, Audi & more, all have viable auto manufacturing operations in the US. These other guys manage labor with somewhat lower direct costs. The real advantages are in flexibility (so fewer "work rules") and the overhead of dealing with the UAW.


      I think is is "unethical" to demand that someone support someone else, at the cost of their own livelihood. If you would like to subsidize someone, pleas do so. Demanding that someone else do it is another thing entirely. Companies can't subsidize jobs beyond the value they produce - that extra value has to come from somewhere.

      I am against locking people out of work. I think it is unethical to block people out of work they *could* do, because they can't generate enough value at a nominal 40 hours / week to meet the standard of living we (meaning you) think they should have. I think everyone should have the opportunity to contribute what they can, to the world and to their own upkeep.

    • Gina

      The problem with a mandatory "living wage" for every employee at every job is (1) not every business can afford it, (2) not every employee produces enough value to justify that wage, (3) not everyone needs a "living wage" that can pay all the bills - for example, a teenager working her first job, or a housewife or retiree who is working primarily as a means of social interaction and/or pocket money, and (4) determining the metric for what constitutes a "living wage". Do employers in the cities have to pay differently than employers in the country? Do you have to raise an employee's wages every time (s)he has another child? What standard of living do employers have to provide for their employees?

    • Maguita NYC

      "or a housewife or retiree who is working primarily as a means of social interaction and/or pocket money"

      Well hello there Ann Romney.

      I don't know in which country you actually live in, but in today's USA, you know, where that other pesky 99% of the population lives, very few "housewives" these days work PRIMARILY for social interaction or pocket money. They actually hold 2-3 part-time jobs so they can put food on the table, and afford their children clothing.

      Yet again, that odd dissonance between 1950s' school of outdated thought, and today's reality for the majority.

    • Gina


      Let me ask you a couple questions:
      1) Do you think everyone pays the same amount of bills?
      2) If you want to mandate a "living wage", how do you propose what constitutes a living wage be calculated? Do companies have to alter how much they pay people based on factors like how many children they have?

      I wonder if anyone here will actually try to attempt an answer as to how to go about mandating a "living wage" rather than just spewing bullshit indignation.

    • Maguita NYC


      We simply assumed you have forgotten about the existing US Department of Labor, like in 90% of industrialized countries, a department that sets minimal hours and wages in congruence with the cost of living (CPI), per state. Including obligations for small companies making under 500K per year.

      And even though we have the Fair Labor Standards Act, and thanks to the Obama Administration, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which btw most Republicans voted against, we are unfortunately still seeing a disparaging difference between the classes. Quite unbecoming of a great country such as the US, but understandably, in times of recession fewer high-paying jobs are available, and what is available, is shipped overseas.

    • If your business "can't afford" to pay your workers a living wage, then, motherfucker, maybe you shouldn't be in business.

    • BierceAmbrose

      Well, that's a position. So,

      - We should only have jobs that support the standard of living you think people should have. Jobs that produce less value than that are forbidden. People who would prefer to get by with less are not allowed to do so.

      - If a "living wage" is enough to support a family, which is the usual formulation, in a family where one person works we should not permit a second or third family member to earn some extra at less than a living wage rate. They can't choose to do more work to get beyond that standard of living.

      Do this and you're gonna put a lot more people on the dole, doing nothing, working in the underground economy, or some combination. FWIW, I'm a fan of subsidizing a minimum standard of living. "Living wage" laws are a horrible way to do this.

    • Gina

      Yeah, fuck all the small businesses. Only multinational corporations should be in business. Anyone who doesn't have millions in capital shouldn't even bother.

    • I doubt that most businesses need to have millions in capital to ensure their employees don't have to sell their children for scientific experiments.

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