News or editorial? Fox News uses Luntz-approved term “govt option”

Demonstrating once again that the line between Fox News' news and opinion programming is blurred, The Live Desk aired a caption referring to the “govt [government] option,” a term right-wing pollster Frank Luntz suggested Sean Hannity use on his program because the term doesn't poll as well as “public option.” Featuring captions that use language endorsed by a Republican strategist is only the latest evidence that Fox News is actually a conservative political organization.

Luntz to Hannity: Use “government option,” not “public option”

Luntz tells Hannity “the public is overwhelmingly against” the “government option.” On the August 18 edition of Hannity, Luntz explained to Hannity that “If you call it a public option, the American people are split,” but “if you call it the government option, the public is overwhelmingly against it.” Hannity replied that “from now on, I'm going to call it the government option.”

Fox News follows Luntz and Hannity, refers to “govt option”

The Live Desk uses caption referring to “govt option.” Although it airs during the “news hours” that The New York Times reported Fox “argues” are “objective,” The Live Desk featured the caption “SEN REID TO SPEAK ON GOVT OPTION DECISION” [emphasis added] during its October 26 edition.

gov't option

Fox's “news” coverage is often indistinguishable from its “editorial” programming

In response to criticism, Fox News claims its “news hours” are objective. The New York Times reported on October 11 that in response to White House criticism, Fox News claimed that its “news hours” -- which it reportedly defined as “9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays” -- are objective, while its other hours consist of “editorial” programming.

But Fox's news programs echo its “editorial” shows: Smears, doctored videos, GOP talking points. Fox News' purportedly straight news programs echo its “editorial” programs: Media Matters for America has compiled numerous examples -- from this year alone -- documenting how Fox's news programming features smears, falsehoods, doctored and deceptive editing, and GOP talking points.

Fox News is a conservative political organization

“Voice of the opposition”: Fox News openly advocates against Democratic Congress, White House. Since Barack Obama's inauguration, Fox News has frequently engaged in political advocacy against the Democratic Congress and White House. Specifically, Fox News personalities have promoted and encouraged viewers to “join” tea party protests, Glenn Beck's organization The 9-12 Project and its September 12 “March on Washington,” and town hall meetings; engaged in a witch hunt seeking to “get rid of” Obama administration officials and nominees; implored viewers to call Congress and the White House to protest Democratic policies; and celebrated “victor[ies]” when Democratic legislation has been stalled.

Research and communications arm: Fox News is home to GOP in exile. A revolving door exists between the Republican Party and Fox News Channel, with a number of former Bush administration officials, former and potentially future GOP presidential candidates, and Republican strategists on Fox's payroll and airwaves. A Media Matters for America review of Fox coverage since September 1 reveals that these individuals, typically hosted alone or on unbalanced panels, often use their airtime to advance false and misleading claims about Democrats and progressives, as well as to fundraise, further demonstrating that Fox is effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news outlet.