News is biased. It is impossible to avoid this. Someone decides what news to focus on, how to display, and more importantly, how to contextualize it. No example demonstrates this more strongly than FOX News.
It is uncertain how FOX News will respond to politics after the Bush administration. This fledgling news station of twelve years has enjoyed much of its prosperity and ratings through its coverage and promotion of the current Republican executive branch. In many ways, FOX News offers what most news did not: a conservative talking point on domestic and foreign issues. However, on a more deeper level, they capitalized on commercialized news more so than any news station in U.S history.
If one examines carefully the journalistic values of FOX News, they will find that there is less promotion and advocacy for conservative issues, than Republican issues. The distinction here is in terms of political fluidity. The Republican Party’s platform has changed dramatically in the past eight years, whereas traditional conservative values of small government and laissez faire economics remain the same. This point is more fully developed in commentaries by Conservative Girl, who regularly writes in the Commentary section for YouDecide2008.com.
Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” has become the dynamic liberal equivalent to FOX News, although it only broadcasts 2.5 hours a week. Recently The Daily Show took on FOX News directly, raising critical questions and displaying FOX’s coverage of the Bush and Clinton presidencies, FOX New’s overwhelming bias.
Certainly there are biases from other news networks, but the intensity present in FOX News is unparalleled. This bias is not toward conservatism, it is toward an administration. In a country where the media has historically challenged the government and become a behind-the-scenes check-and-balance, this development carries with it worrisome implications. Conservative news coverage should be present in the U.S media– but a blanket check for an administration, arguably, should not.
Update on May 8, 2008
Once again, the Daily Show in its unique in-and-outside-the-media position, gave severe and specific critiques of FOX News coverage, showing multiple clips of how poorly they covered the Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. After critiquing different networks such as CNN for their poor coverage, Jon Stewart turns to FOX, 4.5 minutes into the clip:
Again, pretty striking footage for what is supposed to be general and important national political coverage.