Fox's Sammon abandons "A-section" charade

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

The political operatives over at Fox News have long pretended that there's a difference between opinion programs hosted by the likes of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and the rest of the channel's offerings, which, they claim, are "objective" newscasts. The distinction is nonsense, but Fox is consistent in pretending it exists. (Or it has been until now. But we'll get to that in a moment.)

Fox senior vice president for news* Michael Clemente once explained the purported distinction between Fox programs: "An increasing number of viewers are relying on FOX News for both news and opinion. And the average news consumer can certainly distinguish between the A-section of the newspaper and the editorial page, which is what our programming represents."

Keep that history in mind when you read Fox managing editor Bill Sammon's defense of his instruction that "news" staff refer to the public option as a "government-run plan":

Sammon said in an interview that the term "public option" "is a vague, bland, undescriptive phrase," and that after all, "who would be against a public park?" The phrase "government-run plan," he said, is "a more neutral term," and was used just last week by a New York Times columnist.

Got that? Fox, which has long insisted that while Beck and Hannity are like opinion writers, its objective news broadcasts are like "the A-section of the newspaper," defends the ethics of instructing news staff to use GOP-friendly terminology by pointing out that a columnist recently used the same terminology.

* Seriously, that's his title. It's like being "senior vice president for pelicans" at BP.

Fox News Channel
Bill Sammon
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