Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fox News Channel is an outlet for the Republican Party

In the previous posts comment sections, Scott referred to Fox News Channel as slightly left of center. I actually laughed aloud. Only conservative la-la land can Fox News Channel be considered anything that an extension of the Republican Party’s agenda.

Yet, Scott considers this as not part of the mainstream media. Interesting. The numbers tell a different story.

Neilson Media Research reports that the viewership of FNC is equal to the COMBINED viewership of CCN, MSNBC, and HEADLINE NEWS. Rush Limbaugh’s weekly listenership of 50 million people. This averages to a daily listener number of 10 million, more than the daily circulation numbers of the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times COMBINED.

Furthermore, Scott wants liberals to open their minds to other media outlets, but Neilson reports that 69% of conservatives get their news from only Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and FNC.

There is no doubt that Limbaugh and Hannity are biased towards the Republican agenda. That is their job. Just as MSNBC hired Keith Olberman to do opinion pieces, so does the right.

This is not the big deal.

Scott wants you to believe that the “liberal” media is biased while the “conservative” news organizations are not.

Conservatives claim that only the “opinion” people on Fox News are conservative, but the news shows are without bias. They could not be more long.

Media Matter for America had been compiling a list of obvious bias that is within the news shows on FNC. The list is exhaustive and can be found at http://mediamatters.org/research/200910130047.

It seems as if bias is alive on FNC. Here is a sampling of the bias.

America’s Newsroom (8-10 am Central Time)

During the October 1 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer joined his network's smears against Department of Education official Kevin Jennings by claiming that Jennings knew of a "statutory rape" case involving a student but "never reported it." In fact, as Media Matters has confirmed, the student in question was of legal age of consent at the time he was counseled by Jennings.

On May 6, America's Newsroom pushed the falsehood that Democrats attempted to "protect" pedophiles in voting in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Hemmer teased a segment by stating that Democrats had reportedly "voted to give special protection to pedophiles." During the segment, America's Newsroom ran on-screen text that read, "House Dems vote to protect pedophiles, but not veterans"

During the April 29 edition of America's Newsroom, correspondent Molly Henneberg repeated the right-wing myth that under the proposed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, religious groups "may be prosecuted for their religious beliefs if they believe that homosexuality is a sin," and the disputed claim that the legislation "could gag ministers who preach that [homosexuality is a sin], or even if a church may not want to marry a gay couple."

America's Newsroom encouraged viewers to get involved with April 15 "tea party" protests across the country, which Fox News had described as primarily a response to President Obama's fiscal policies. The program frequently hosted tea party organizers, and posted on-screen organizing information, such as protest dates and locations. America's Newsroom also repeatedly directed viewers to its website, which featured a list of tea party protests.

On the April 3 edition of America's Newsroom, on-screen text falsely claimed that Obama's $3.6 trillion FY 2010 budget is "4x bigger than Bush's costliest plan." In fact, President Bush submitted a $3.1 trillion budget for FY 2009 and a $2.9 trillion budget for FY 2008.

Happening Now (10am-12 Central Time)

During the February 10 edition of Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott purported to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew." In doing so, Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release. The following day, Scott apologized -- for running the typo. Scott's apology was criticized by Washington Post media critic and CNN host Howard Kurtz, who said: "We sometimes jab at the pundits for using talking points, but in the case of Fox News anchor Jon Scott, it was literally true this week. ... You should be apologizing for using partisan propaganda from the GOP without telling your viewers where it came from. Talk about missing the point."

On June 2, Scott asked if "the president's upcoming trip [to Europe and the Middle East will] be what conservatives might call another apology tour," and both Scott and co-host Jane Skinner aired cropped clips of Obama's remarks from an April 3 speech in France to falsely suggest that Obama only criticized the United States. In doing so, Happening Now joined conservative commentators and Fox News hosts who have cropped or misrepresented Obama's overseas remarks to falsely suggest, in the words of host Sean Hannity, that Obama was "blam[ing] America first" and, more broadly, that Obama's earlier overseas trip constituted an "apology tour."

Live Desk (12-2 pm Central Time)

On March 16, Live Desk co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that "after weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune. Take a look at what was said in recent interviews this weekend." Live Desk then aired clips of administration officials purportedly giving an optimistic view of the economy, which included video of Vice President Joe Biden stating, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." However, Biden did not make those remarks during an "interview" that weekend; he made them at a September 2008 campaign event in which he criticized statements by Sen. John McCain. MacCallum apologized the next day.

On July 30, guest co-host Gregg Jarrett suggested that the Obama Department of Justice "thinks it's OK to intimidate white people, not OK to intimidate black people at the polls."

On September 30, guest co-host Alisyn Camerota pushed the bogus stat that cap-and-trade would cost "every American family $1,761 annually." PolitiFact.com has labeled the statistic false and noted that the talking point has been pushed by Republicans

Fox News Sunday

On the August 23 edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to discuss his Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Death Book for Veterans," and in doing so promoted numerous distortions about an end-of-life educational booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In addition to forwarding the smear that the booklet is a "death book," Wallace promoted Towey's distortion that the booklet encourages veterans to "pull the plug" -- it doesn't; Wallace and Towey both suggested that the Bush administration suspended use of the booklet -- it didn't; and Wallace claimed that a VHA document requires doctors to direct veterans to the booklet -- it doesn't.

On August 16, Wallace repeatedly advanced the conservative talking point that Democrats' health care reform proposals would create a system of rationing care, omitting the fact that rationing already happens under the current system. Indeed, Wallace did not acknowledge that rationing already occurs, even after his guest, American Medical Association president J. James Rohack, said, "[T]here's a myth that rationing doesn't occur right now. ... That's why this bill's important. It gets rid of some of the rationing that's occurring right now."

On February 22, Wallace claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder "got into office by the skin of his teeth." However, Holder was confirmed by the Senate in a 75-21 vote, and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 in favor of reporting his nomination to the full Senate.


These “news” stories from FNC are blatantly biased towards the Republican Party.

We could go even further to show the FNC is just a wing of the Republican Party. Just take a look at the list of new analysts since George W. Bush left the White House. Media Matters for America has also compiled a list of this as well.

Karl Rove, who served as George W. Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff throughout most of his eight-year presidency, is a ubiquitous figure on Fox News. Since September 1, for instance, he has appeared at least 17 times -- roughly twice a week -- on prime-time programs such as Hannity and The O'Reilly Factor in his capacity as Fox News contributor and political analyst. In all but one of those instances, he has appeared alone opposite Fox hosts. (On the October 18 edition of Fox News Sunday, he appeared opposite former Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe.) Moreover, Rove has repeatedly misled and misinformed during these appearances, including falsely claiming that Kevin Jennings, a Department of Education official, had engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA and gay rights and queering elementary school curricula" and advancing the dubious claim, contradicted by the Congressional Budget Office, that the House health care bill will lead employers to "dump" coverage.

After serving as Bush's press secretary, Dana Perino became a Fox News contributor and Fox Forum columnist, appearing on Fox News' prime-time programs at least nine times since September 1, most frequently on Hannity, according to a search of the Nexis database. Perino typically appeared with other guests: She appeared with a Fox Business Network reporter in four instances, she appeared twice with Democrats or liberals (Bob Beckel and Julie Menin), and she appeared once on a Fox News Sunday panel with syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, as well as Mara Liasson and Juan Williams of NPR. She appeared alone twice. During these appearances, Perino has falsely suggested that allowing federally subsidized health plans to cover abortion is inconsistent with current law and suggested that the White House is doing "like dictators do" by criticizing Fox.

John Bolton, formerly Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, now serves as a Fox News contributor and has appeared alone opposite Fox prime-time hosts nine times since September 1. During his appearances, he has advanced misinformation, such as joining Fox host and conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck in suggesting that the Obama administration supports a one-world government.

FNC is also guilty of using former Republican office holders and candidates for office as analysts as well.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee became host of the Fox News program Huckabee after his failed bid for the GOP's presidential candidate in 2008 and has guest-hosted The O'Reilly Factor at least three times during 2009, according to a Nexis search. Moreover, in his capacity as Fox host, Huckabee has directed viewers to "go to balancecutsave.com," which redirects visitors to a Web page soliciting donations for Huckabee's political action committee, which financially supports Republican candidates and also pays his daughter's salary. Additionally, Huckabee has advanced falsehoods during his Fox appearances in 2009, including falsely suggesting that Vice President Joe Biden disclaimed responsibility for the economy and that Bush did not claim to have "inherited" a weakening economy.

Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich, who "joined the network in 1999, marking his first television deal since leaving Congress" that year as Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, repeatedly appears on Fox News prime-time programs alone opposite Fox's conservative hosts -- while considering a run for president in 2012. Since September 1, Gingrich has appeared as a contributor or analyst on Fox News at least 10 times, including four appearances on Hannity and two appearances on The O'Reilly Factor, according to a Nexis search. In seven instances he appeared alone, he appeared twice with his wife, Callista Gingrich, to promote their documentary and books, and he appeared once on a Fox News Sunday panel with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), former DNC chair Howard Dean, and Obama transition team head John Podesta. During these and other appearances on Fox, Gingrich advanced baseless and outrageous claims, including wondering if White House communications director Anita Dunn wants to subject Fox commentators to a "Cultural Revolution" and smearing then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor by claiming that she "clearly supported racial quotas" in the Ricci v. DeStefano case.

FNC also allows conservative strategists and pollster to use the channel as a perch.

Fox News political analyst and Republican strategist Dick Morris is a ubiquitous presence on Fox News' prime-time programs, appearing nearly three times a week every week since September 1, according to a Nexis search. Morris has appeared alone opposite a Fox host since the beginning of September at least 20 times, appearances that are fairly evenly split among The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. During the 2008 election cycle, Morris repeatedly urged viewers to donate to an anti-Obama political action committee without disclosing that that PAC had paid a firm connected to him; in recent days, he has repeatedly used his appearances to fundraise for a conservative group opposed to health care reform for which he is chief strategist. Additionally, while on Fox, Morris has repeatedly smeared Obama and his administration, claiming, for instance, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may challenge Obama in the 2012 primary and that Obama "delay[ed] the decision to commit troops to Afghanistan ... because he wanted this [Nobel] prize."

GOP consultant and pollster Frank Luntz has repeatedly appeared during Fox News' prime-time shows since September 1, interviewed alone a total of six times on Hannity and The O'Reilly Factor and appearing twice on Glenn Beck with several 9-12 Moms. During his Fox News appearances, Luntz -- who authored an anti-reform health-care talking points memo intended to help conservatives defeat the Democrats' health reform initiative -- has repeatedly misinformed about health care reform. For instance, he has falsely suggested that reform legislation reduces physician payments and spawned another GOP talking point, asserting that the Democrats' proposed public insurance plan is a "government option" not a "public option, which is what the White House calls it." Beck also hosted Luntz to instruct his audience on the signs "the tea party people should be carrying."

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I do admit Scott that it is a scary thing when people listen to only one source for their news. I know you are well informed, but I think it would also be wise of conservatives to do the same thing. Fox News Channel is not a source for the “other side” of conservatism. Your claim that is a slightly left leaning organization is unfounded and grossly misrepresentative of the facts.

Whether or not it was wise of the White House to publicly attack FNC in the same way the Bush Administration did with MSNBC is another story. The White House claim that FNC is part of the Republican Party...Well, that one can be factually supported.

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