Yes, Glenn Beck, Fox's News Department Has An "Opinion"

Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

Fox News president Roger Ailes is big on loyalty. In the wake of criticism of Glenn Beck by members of the Fox News staff, Ailes told Howard Kurtz that it was "the first time in our 14 years we've had people apparently shooting in the tent, from within the tent." He added that "We prefer people in the tent not dumping on other people in the tent."

Ailes' message of unity has apparently been received by his staff. It's why, for example, Fox News host Andrew Napolitano can reveal himself to be a 9-11 truther and not a single Fox News staffer makes a peep (even after they had spent years enthusiastically attacking truthers as "mentally ill" "idiots.")

When Fox employees are confronted publicly with any of a wide variety of things their colleagues have done that should cause the network embarrassment, their response is often to obfuscate and defend their kin at all costs.

Last week, America Live host Megyn Kelly responded to the (inarguably correct) allegation that Fox's opinion hosts regularly traffic in Nazi analogies by claiming she watches the network "every night" and never hears anything like that. And, just as the news division covers for the "opinion" division, Fox's nighttime hosts are happy to return the favor.

On his radio show today, during a lecture to MSNBC and CNN about why their ratings aren't higher, Glenn Beck said that Fox's "news department doesn't have any opinion."

This is often the canard you hear from Fox execs when they are trying to distance people like Bret Baier and Chris Wallace from Beck's nightly fantastical conspiracy-mongering. Beck is clearly happy to play along in order to insulate his colleagues.

But no matter how many times Fox News personalities repeat variations of "our news is straight down the middle," it won't be true. In addition to their news programming regularly echoing the falsehoods and distortions from Fox's opinion shows (including following Beck's lead on stories), Fox's DC News Bureau is run by Bill Sammon.

As we detailed last year, Sammon has been exerting pressure on Fox's DC news staff -- in the form of written directives -- to slant their coverage to the right.

If Fox actually cared about the objectivity of their news department, they certainly wouldn't have a conservative ideologue like Bill Sammon running their Washington bureau. At the very least they would have fired him after it became clear that he was using his position to alter Fox's "news" to benefit the GOP.

Of course, they haven't done a thing to Sammon in light of the damning emails, because they surely knew what they were getting when they promoted him in the first place.

If CNN and MSNBC want advice on how to divide news and opinion programming, they'd be best served finding a better guru.

Person
Glenn Beck, Bill Sammon
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