Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fare and ballast

In what sense is Fox "fair and balanced"?  Roger Ailes gives the game away:
Ailes has a blunt rejoinder to those who say he runs a biased outfit: “Every other network has given all their shows to liberals. We are the balance.”

There is a difference between being the balance and being yourself balanced. If you miss that little distinction, "fair" goes along for the ride. If your notion of "fair" is giving two sides equal opportunity to manipulate and distort information, then Fox arguably makes the mainstream media more "fair."

Most news media other than Fox make a reasonable attempt to be themselves balanced, not ballast. Fox makes it hard for the other cable news networks, though.  It degrades the whole medium.

You can throw shit in equal measure on two ends of a scale and get "balance." That's the Fox version of fairness.

1 comment:

  1. I mostly disagree. There was a huge opening for Fox News because so much of the news wasn't balanced, but was slanted to the left. It wasn't as obvious because they didn't bash conservatives all the time, but it shows in what stories get covered, like people struggling, and implied messages for the government to "do something." How often were these stories balanced with stories about rising government spending or ill effects of dependency on government programs? That is what I mean by biased. I don't know if Fox is worse or not, but arguing about that doesn't get us to actually fair media. http://moderatepoli.blogspot.com/2011/08/truth-about-media-bias.html