The media's active complicity in Fox News' ascent

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

It's good to see a media insider of Howell Raines' stature not only call out Fox News for "conduct[ing] a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration" but rebuke the rest of the media for being too timid to say what needs to be said about Fox:

Why has our profession, through its general silence -- or only spasmodic protest -- helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?

Alas, the situation is worse than Raines imagines. True, the "respectable" media has helped legitimize Fox through tepid at best efforts to challenge Fox's misdeeds. But they've gone further than remaining silent in the face of a massive journalistic fraud: They've actively enhanced Fox's reach and reputation by scurrying to repeat the dubious claims the cable channel promotes -- and by apologizing for not doing so sooner.

It would be bad enough if serious reporters simply averted their eyes, afraid to challenge Fox, as Raines says. But, as I detailed in my column yesterday, top editors at the New York Times and the Washington Post actually say they need to give more credence to the unjournalism that comes from Fox and similar "news" outlets.

Sadly, we're well past the point where legitimate news outlets aide Fox News merely through their silence -- at this point, they aide Fox News much more directly than that.

PS to our conservative friends: I know what you're thinking: Howell Raines! He's just biased against Fox -- a former New York Times editor can't be trusted to give conservatives a fair shake! Well, before you embarrass yourself painting Raines as a partisan warrior, you might want to acquaint yourself with the Times' editorial page's treatment of Bill Clinton while Raines was in charge of the department.

Fox News Channel, The Washington Post, The New York Times
Howell Raines
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