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May 07, 2012

NYT Editor Bill Keller: Gee, That FoxNews Sure Is Creating a Climate of "Corrosive Cynicism" By Claiming To Be Non-Partisan When In Fact It's Biased

I can't really append enough ?'s and !'s to this statement, so I won't.

My gripe against Fox is not that it is conservative. The channel’s pulpit-pounding pundits, with the exception of the avuncular Mike Huckabee, are too shrill for my taste, but they are not masquerading as impartial newsmen. Nor am I indignant that Fox News is the cultural home of the Republican Party and a nonstop Obama roast. Partisan journalism, while not my thing, has a long tradition. Though I do wonder if the folks at Fox appreciate that this genre is more European than American.

My complaint is that Fox pretends very hard to be something it is not, and in the process contributes to the corrosive cynicism that has polarized our public discourse.

I doubt that people at Fox News really believe their programming is “fair and balanced” -- that’s just a slogan for the suckers -- but they probably are convinced that what they have created is the conservative counterweight to a media elite long marinated in liberal bias. They believe that they are doing exactly what other serious news organizations do; they just do it for an audience that had been left out before Fox came along.

He then goes on to claim that he and his fellow leftists in the media -- all the media, apparently, save Fox -- live by a "code" of ethics that prevents them from being biased, so they're different, see.

A few days ago Glenn Reynolds discussed the "code" of journalistic ethics on display on the NYT's front pages.

Readers of last Sunday’s front page, for example, were informed that “In Hopeful Sign, Health Spending Is Flattening Out.”

Hopeful? Well, maybe. The article is full of caveats and to-be-sures like this: “The growth rate mostly slowed as millions of Americans lost insurance coverage along with their jobs. Worried about job security, others may have feared taking time off work for doctor’s visits or surgical procedures, or skipped nonurgent care when money was tight.” Or this: “Some experts caution that there remains too little data to determine whether the current slowdown will become permanent, or whether it is merely a blip caused by the economy’s weakness.”

But, we’re told, “[M]any other health experts say that there is just enough data to start detecting trends — even if the numbers remain murky, and the vast complexity of the national health care market puts definitive answers out of reach.”

At this point, an editor might have spiked the story, commenting that all we’ve got are dueling experts who admit that they don’t really know what’s going on amid their “murky” numbers.

While that might have been good use of editorial discretion, it wouldn’t have advanced the narrative about cost declines, which is this: “If so, it was happening just as the new health care law was coming into force, and before the Supreme Court could weigh in on it or the voters could pronounce their own verdict at the polls.”

There’s your narrative: ObamaCare is working, and the Supreme Court should back off. Oh, and voters, don’t be mean to the Democrats who rammed this down your throat.

They then went on to explain that an Israeli-Iranian war could be averted, if, and only if, the religiously-crazed, radicalized Israelis can make themselves more open to flexibility and reason like the Iranians, and yes, you read that right.


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posted by Ace at 07:26 PM

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