Mickey Kaus has a good post evaluating why FOX is not a news organization, coming down to the idea that it has less to do with "neutrality" than it does with independence. Kaus concludes that FOX is not independent because:
I think Fox is also not neutral (which, again, doesn't bother me) but it's also not independent (which does). This isn't because it's owned by Rupert Murdoch--moguls are, typically among the more independent sorts. It's because it's run by Roger Ailes. I have zero faith that Ailes is independent of the Republican party or, specifically, those Republicans who have occupied the White House recently--the Bushes. As I said, I think if Karl Rove called Ailes in 2003 and said "We don't want so much coverage of X" it's extremely likely that X would not be covered on Fox. A ... suggestive example of Fox's loyalty is the debate on immigration, in which Ailes' network initially seemed to try valiantly--against the beliefs of most of its audience--to push the Bush White House line in favor of "comprehensive" legalization (while brushing aside its viewers' views).
There are endless other examples.
I wrote a post last week saying that I understood why some journalists were defending FOX, and that it should be reporters, rather than the White House, holding FOX to account. But reporters feel uncomfortable doing that, because it would make them look as though they are "biased" against Republicans--while defending FOX makes them look solicitous of Republicans' views and concerns. In other words, FOX's lack of independence from the GOP is reiterated by the fact that attacking FOX would be seen as a partisan act. Liberals may be the ones saying FOX is the communications arm of the GOP, but everyone, including those who are vocally disagreeing, are actually behaving as though it is, pretending they don't see the pink elephant in the room but somehow managing to walk around it every time.
-- A. Serwer
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