FoxNews.com today published an op-ed by self-described “Fox News Democrat” Doug Schoen defending Fox News from charges that it's “devoted primarily, if not entirely, to promoting Republican candidates and Republican talking points.” Schoen's op-ed is riddled with false defenses of his employer.
For starters, Schoen claims that “I can honestly say that there's never been an effort, organized or otherwise, to get me or to my knowledge anyone else to advance a particular point of view.” But Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon has been recently caught doing exactly that. Internal emails show that Sammon ordered his news staff to cast doubt on established climate science; directed his staff not to use the phrase “public option”; and a source with knowledge of the situation at Fox's Washington bureau told Media Matters that Sammon exerts “pressure” on his staff to “slant news to the right.”
Schoen also writes that “I understand that the point of view presented is not that of the left, but its also not that of the Republican National Committee.” Yet Fox News regularly echoes Republican talking points and has been caught literally plagiarizing material from the GOP.
Schoen adds that Fox News has “sought the highest quality Democrats,” pointing to himself and Pat Caddell, among others, as two examples. But the presence of those two actually illustrates part of the problem. Schoen writes that he and Caddell “tend to be more moderate” than “a mainstream liberal” like Bob Beckel. That's one way of putting it -- as Media Matters has pointed out:
Schoen donated to one GOP congressional candidate [last] cycle, and headlined a fundraiser for a second. In February , Caddell was fired from the campaign of Colorado Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff after video emerged of Caddell at a conservative retreat saying that "[t]he whole idea of the environmental movement" is “to basically deconstruct capitalism.”
We're shown how on issue after issue, it's difficult to find daylight between the commentary of Schoen and Caddell and that of Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing figures. Caddell has accused Obama of conducting a “Potemkin village presidency” and “Chicago gangsterism.” Schoen has claimed that the “real question” raised by the White House's actions is “Is this a democracy?” And on, and on, and on.
In November 2010, Schoen and Caddell were scheduled to appear (.pdf) at a fundraising retreat benefiting conservative activist David Horowitz's organization. Caddell spoke as scheduled, but a note on FrontPageMag.com said that Schoen “got stuck in an airport and couldn't make” his scheduled panel.* Still, Schoen and Caddell are regularly put on Fox News to represent the Democratic side of an issue.
Schoen concludes that Fox News is actually “just good television organized by smart executives, whose political perspective may not be my own, but whose commitment to professionalism and excellence appears clear and unambiguous.” Clarity, it seems, is easy if you're getting a paycheck from Fox News.
*Further information about the retreat added.