Frank Rich (NY Times): This Time Bill O’Reilly Got It Right. No matter how long the overlap between Mr. Carville and Mr. Begala’s TV and campaign roles, that brand and CNN itself are now as inextricably bound to the Democrats as Fox is to the Republicans. The network has succeeded in an impossible feat — ceding Mr. O’Reilly the moral high ground. The Bush campaign doesn’t have to enlist Fox hosts for its staff since they’re willing to whore for it without even being asked.
Posted by: Ran Talbott on September 19, 2004 02:05 PM
So, the next time the Merc runs an op-ed piece from Alexander Cockburn, it magically turns into “socialist fishwrap”?
The problem with Faux News isn’t that it has openly-partisan talk show hosts. It’s that management has blurred (some would say “erased”) the line between “news” and “commentary”.
Frankly, Faux isn’t even CNN’s real competition anymore: that role belongs to Google News, which provides the same up-to-the-minute information, with an even wider range of perspectives. anyplace you have access to a computer.
If it remains in its current form, CNN is probably doomed to becoming a sort of “Newzak” for use in airport waiting rooms and similar PC-less venues.
Posted by: Phil Wade on September 19, 2004 08:33 PM
First, I do not watch O’Reilly because his views are too extreme, even for me. But he is like the WWF in that he is positioned as entertainment, rather than serious news. I don’t watch Hardball with Chris Matthews for the same reason. Or Larry King or Joe Scarbrough or any of the myriad other “news” journalists, with “fair & balanced reporting,” be they Fox, MSNBC, CNN, etc. These are one and all political commentary rather than news organizations. Don’t just talk about Fox; the others are tarred with the same brush, only their bias is toward the left, rather than the right.
But when a major news organization, such as CBS or the New York Times, or for that matter, the Merc goes from reporting factual news to news with a pronounced bias, then we have a credibility problem. A NEWS organization is by definition, a reporter of fact, not opinion. An editorial is an appropriate forum for opinion, not the front page or the lead story. Once that corner is turned, the news organization has as much credibility as the National Enquirer. ABC turned that corner several years ago and has now been joined by CBS.
I, for one, do not need a talking head to tell me how to think, or what the speaker said. I do require complete access to the news in order to reach my own conclusions.
Posted by: Michael Markman on September 19, 2004 09:28 PM
Mr. Rich got it wrong (an even rarer occurance than Mr. O’Reilly’s getting it right). Crossfire is clearly a shouting match (would it were a debate, but, alas, not in our era) between partisan sides. The show is more valuable for having voices that are authentically connected with the Kerry campaign. Better to focus attention on the so-called neutral reporters who debase their journalistic calling by failing o challenge or investigate claims made by the spin-meisters of both parties.
Posted by: Michael Markman on September 19, 2004 09:29 PM
Mr. Rich got it wrong (an even rarer occurance than Mr. O’Reilly’s getting it right). Crossfire is clearly a shouting match (would it were a debate, but, alas, not in our era) between partisan sides. The show is more valuable for having voices that are authentically connected with the Kerry campaign. Better to focus attention on the so-called neutral reporters who abandon their journalistic reponsibility by simply parotting and failing to challenge or investigate claims made by the spin-meisters of both parties.
Posted by: aNonMooseCowherd on September 20, 2004 04:17 AM
Phil Wade: you seem to be oblivious of the distinction between news reporting and news analysis.
Posted by: FryGuy on September 20, 2004 05:42 AM
Just wanted to say that I read your book and absolutely loved it. I truly believe that the Internet and blogs are the future of journalism.
Thanks for writing something that all bloggers should read.
Posted by: francine hardaway on September 20, 2004 08:20 AM
As someone who has been blogging for five years, I just pray that grassroots journalism grows even more quickly than it already is. Between Fox, CBS, and the failures of even the New York Times to report the news accurately, it is critical for thoughtful people to have alternatives.
Posted by: pb on September 20, 2004 09:03 AM
“O’Reilly because his views are too extreme”
Anyone who thinks O’Reilly is a knee-jerk far right winger is dead wrong. Sure, he can be testy with guests. But his positions are mostly well-reasoned and he is left of center on many of them.
“Faux isn’t even CNN’s real competition anymore”
No, because Faux is trouncing CNN!!
Also, can anyone explain why Frank Rich gets a weekly front-page article on NYT Sunday A&E section about politics.
Posted by: Owen on September 20, 2004 09:17 AM
I’ve always thought the distinctions among news personnel might be classified as:
//Reporting – gathering and sorting facts to present as objectively as possible a picture of events and effects
//Analysis – putting the facts into a context of history, causes, impacts and relationships, but objectively, without “spin”
//Opinions – making judgments based on ideology, experience or economic incentive
Certainly the first (at least for the broadcast component) is distorted by a combination of reportorial ineptitude, marketing pressure for time and visually enticing topics, and the inability of bite-size news management to deal with complex topics. But they suffer also in the analytical category because good analysis takes time and costs money. Thus, the preponderance of superficial analysis and recycling of predigested packages of interest information.
The rest of the pack…liberals and conservatives alike, are opinionists, more akin to talk show callers than to true journalists. But as long as the public is more concerned about Paris Hilton’s underwear than Bush’s foreign or economic policy (or Kerry’s alternatives) what more can we expect?
Posted by: Cog on September 20, 2004 10:51 AM
Give it a rest Dan.
Calling out Fox News every other week while you promote Michael Moore, and fail to even acknowledge what is coming from move0n.org just demonstrates your bias.
Posted by: Dan Gillmor on September 20, 2004 02:01 PM
Promote Michael Moore? Not me.
Posted by: Cog on September 21, 2004 04:41 PM
Oh, and is it a coincidence that three out of the four journalistic embarassments I mentioned above painted the Bush and Blair administration in a bad light?
Must have been a coincidence, or could it have been a toxic Foxification of the news? LMFAO!