Why Is Bill Sammon Still Shaping Fox's Election Coverage?
Last year, Media Matters began a series of reports on Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon who, according to one source with knowledge of the situation, has pressured his news staff to “slant news to the right.”
In addition to speaking with sources, Media Matters released several internal Fox emails showing Sammon slanting his bureau's reporting by pressing journalists to adopt Republican talking points and misinformation. We also uncovered an audio recording of Sammon admitting that he lied during the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign when he speculated on-air “about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism.”
In the wake of the revelations, Sammon drew criticism from journalists, including several veteran Washington bureau chiefs who said that Sammon acted unethically, and his actions were problematic for someone with a newsroom leadership role.
Perhaps in response to the controversies over his management, Sammon -- who was a regular fixture on Fox programming -- appears to have stopped making TV appearances in 2011. (A search of Media Matters' internal archives and available transcripts in the Nexis and TVEyes.com databases for search terms " 'Sammon' OR 'Bill Salmon' OR 'Bill Samon'" returned no relevant results from 2011.)
Despite the mountains of evidence about Sammon's partiality and lack of journalism ethics, Fox News apparently still values Sammon. In his recent article about Fox News, Howard Kurtz notes that Sammon was involved with the network's preparation for the recent Fox News/YouTube GOP debate. Sammon also appears to have been involved with Fox News' previous debates.
If Fox News chief Roger Ailes really wants to reposition Fox News to the “fair and balanced” middle, keeping Bill Sammon as his DC managing editor isn't the right course of action.