October 23, 2009
The Obama administration’s decision to treat FOX News as a political opponent rather than a viable news outlet has angered many conservatives. Not me. FOX News is not and never has been “objective journalism.” But neither is MSNBC, CNN and every other corporate outlet that disseminates politically-biased disinformation. It’s no secret that Obama and FOX have long been “ready to rumble,” so why not finally remove the blinders and the gloves so that FOX can get to their business, unfettered, of beating this administration into a bloody pulp?
Which is exactly what MSNBC, CNN and every other liberal news outlet should have done to the last president. For all the bad press conservatives complained about Bush getting from the liberal media, where in the hell was any hard-nosed journalism leading up to the invasion of Iraq, where more thorough investigation into the administration’s allegations about WMDs and Saddam Hussein’s alleged ties to Osama Bin Laden could have swayed public opinion, maybe preventing a costly and unnecessary war?
When former Bush White House press secretary Scott McClellan expressed regret in his recent book that the media had been too easy on the administration in the lead up to the Iraq war, CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin explained her colleagues failure, saying that the “press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the President’s high approval ratings.”
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Favoring ratings over objective journalism? Who would do such a monstrous thing? Obama senior adviser David Axelrod now says with a straight face, FOX News is “not a news organization” but simply “geared toward making money.” Fellow rocket scientist and White House communications director Anita Dunn says that FOX is just “opinion journalism masquerading as news.” Axelrod and Dunn’s supposed reasons for not allowing FOX News equal White House access also easily applies to every other news outlet Obama gladly indulges.
Our compromised media is nothing new precisely because there is no such thing as objective journalism. Before the 20th century, people got their information from newspapers that were explicitly “Whig” or “Tory” or later, “Republican” or “Democrat” that would engage in nakedly partisan public battles, leaving objectivity to the mind of the reader. Newspapers served the political and corporate interests of those who owned them and everyone knew it.
News outlets still operate this way, the only difference is that Republican news services like FOX and Democrat shills like MSNBC pretend they aren’t biased. FOX News isn’t always “fair” in attacking Obama, nor were they “balanced” with their Bush propaganda. MSNBC laughably continues their charade of objectivity while practically worshipping Obama, even adopting the slogan, “Experience the power of change,” which I do on a regular basis by changing the channel. A year ago I could barely stomach FOX and their Bush worship, finding myself watching MSNBC because they were more inclined to attack the president. Today, MSNBC’s Obama propaganda makes me gag and FOX News is better than ever in its role as one of the new president’s most vicious critics.
There can be no true objective journalism because there are no truly objective human beings, journalists and editors included. Publications take political stances not only in their opinion pages, but in what stories they include or omit, not to mention the slant and tone of those stories. Charleston’s own Post & Courier reflects a moderate, Republican establishment mindset and my conservative readers often wonder why I write for that “liberal rag” the Charleston City Paper, a rather obvious political bias my editor Chris Haire, to his credit, readily admits.
And Americans would be much better informed if all news outlets would openly admit their bias. Liberal Noam Chomsky has argued that the illusion of media objectivity has led to major news outlets becoming the instruments of government and corporate interests rather than society’s watchdog, investigative journalism’s alleged purpose. World-renowned reporter Robert Fisk, who the New York Times once described as “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain” shares Chomsky’s sentiments: “There is a misconception that journalists can be objective … What journalism is really about is to monitor power and the centres of power.”
As the Democrats proceed with arguably the most ambitious big government agenda in history, conservatives should hope for a more explicitly partisan FOX News – completely on the outs with the president – that might monitor that “centre of power” that is Obama’s Washington, DC. MSNBC and CNN certainly aren’t going to do it. FOX should do to Obama what MSNBC and CNN should have done to Bush – attempt to cripple the president’s agenda by actually reporting on it. Forget objectivity, how about some actual productivity, in which partisan media outlets might finally do a competent job of keeping an eye on the other party? And far from being offended by the recent White House snub, FOX News should do America a favor by embracing its explicitly partisan role as an enemy of Obama’s state.