October 21, 2009

It used to be that, when you got a persistent, high-pitched and annoying whine emanating from your TV set -- you know the kind, that high-pitched squeal that feels like a drill in your eardrums -- you'd just go whack the TV set until it stopped, or call your repairman.

Now, it just means you have to turn the channel off Fox News.

All this week, nearly every single Fox News program has tackled the insidious "war on Fox" being waged by the Obama White House. It's been constant and petulant -- and bereft of any awareness whatsoever that they're actually constantly proving the White House's point about a bias in not just the opinion shows but also their "news" product.

It has, however, produced surreal moments like the one above, on Sean Hannity's program last night, with a panel featuring (among others) Steven Crowder of Pajamas Media TV, when the host burst forth with one of his "factual" declarations that actually was a falsehood, followed by a surreally un-self-aware discussion about how the White House doesn't want to be fact-checked:

Hannity: Let me see if I can sum this up. Is it that they want to distract from the debates that they're losing -- the American public overwhelmingly, according to every credible poll, is against Obamacare -- are they trying to distract? Are they trying to intimidate? What's the strategy?

Crowder: I think this is a huge indictment on every other mainstream news source. The fact that the fact-checking is so appalling -- I mean, what does that say about other news networks, that they've given them this free pass, this open lane to this administration?

Yyyyeah. Right. Well, speaking of fact-checking, how about this fact: According to every recent credible poll -- including the most recent Washington Post/ABC poll released just yesterday morning -- the public in fact strongly supports a public option with its health-care reform package. In fact, support has risen from 52 percent to 57 percent in recent months. The most recent CBS poll pegs the support at 62 percent.

If by "Obamacare" Hannity means a public option (and he does, having used the term that way previously), then he not only is wrong on the facts -- he has reality exactly reversed.

These are, of course, "opinion" shows. But "opinions" should be based on, you know, actual facts. Because otherwise, they're just lies. Maybe on Fox, we should stop calling them "opinion shows" and start calling them "Newspeak shows."

And the excuse that Fox's bias is relegated only to these "opinion shows" and does not extend to its news reportage is, as we've noted, a grand load of hooey:

If you watch Fox's daytime "news" programs -- from Fox & Friends to Happening Now to Special Report with Bret Baier (where this report aired) -- you'll find that, while they lack the viciousness of the "opinion" programs, they nonetheless are heavily slanted with an anti-administration bias. "Reporters" like Carl Cameron and James Rosen constantly bring on Republican spokespeople and reliably transmit GOP talking points as though they represent fact (when in reality they usually have an estranged relationship with the truth). Anchors like Gretchen Carlson and Trace Gallagher regularly comment on the news they're reporting with an unmistakable right-wing slant.

Media Matters has documented this in extensive detail. They've also come up with a video that illustrates the point beautifully:

Remember: Friends don't let friends do Fox.

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