Obama vs Fox News; does the US media have a left wing bias?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by saturn5, Oct 25, 2009.

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  1. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    I gotta say I was quite bemused by the election, especially the way several big newspapers ignored the John Edwards adultery stories and even forbade their bloggers to discuss it on their forums. The Dan Rather Bush National Guard story was also distrubing, Rather coming across as very arrogant and challenging people to disprove his story rather than the other way around.
    Now Obama is clashing with Fox News.
    Is the press biased? I think one of the reasons why Fox is so popular is that they are an alternative to the other news which is notoriously left wing. I read in a survey that 60% of US journalists regard themselves as Democrats and only 20% republican. I laughed my heart out when George Clooney said he preferred it when there were just 3 big news networks because they 'covered all spectrum of opinion' in other words maybe a few dozen editors and journalists controlled the opinion of the nation and they were almost inevitably left leaning. One of the great things about the Internet and cable/satellite TV is that you now have a genuine choice and ordinary people can actively challenge the assertions of media giants and call them to account as the Rather affair proved.
    So, does the US media have a left wing bias?
  2. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Well, what do you consider 'left-wing'?
  3. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Well what exactly do you consider to be left-wing bias?

    Edit: lol at above post.
  4. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Heh. Predictable Senate folk, us.
  5. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 5
    I don't really think this question has a correct answer. It depends on what you consider to be "media" and "left-wing bias". The left-wing may have more of an influence over the news stations, but in this day-and-age, bloggers, etc. are considered to be in the "media".
  6. keynote23 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2006
    star 1

    I believe some left side media selectively chooses which stories to run which is bias by selectivity.
    I believe that to be a MUCH BETTER alternative to Fox News which lies about facts outright.


    There's three levels of biased
    1) The essentially unavoidable (i.e. you can always accuse someone of bias simply for holding one fact or story as more newsworthy than another)
    2) The carefully applied without resorting to falsification to convey a desired image
    3) The absolutely blatant which lies to your face and counts on you being too dumb/too bigoted to seek a second opinion or even confirm the most basic of facts involved

    To wit:
    The Mark Foley "mislabelling" which naturally happened during a critical election period.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tj8018NX6Q&feature=related

    And from a summary on wikipedia on a wrongful dismissal suit from fox

    "In 1997, it was alleged Fox News cooperated with Monsanto in suppressing an investigative report on the health risks associated with Monsanto's bovine growth hormone product, Posilac.[50] Posilac, a synthetic hormone used to increase milk production in cows, while banned in many first-world countries, is used in the United States. Steve Wilson and Jane Akre disagreed with the inclusion of material in the story they felt was slanted or misleading. Both reporters were eventually fired. Wilson and Akre alleged the firing was for retaliation, while the FOX affiliate contended they were fired for insubordination. The reporters then sued Fox in Florida state court, claiming they could not be fired for refusing to do something that they believed to be illegal. In 2000, a Florida jury found that while there was no evidence FOX had bowed to any pressure from Monsanto to alter the story, Akre, but not Wilson, was unjustly fired.[51]. The decision in Akre's favor was then overturned in 2003 by an appeals court because the whistleblower's statute under which the original case had been filed did not actually apply to the case. The court held that Fox News had no obligation to report truthfully, and the First Amendment protects their right to lie.[52]. Therefore, the court held that firing a reporter for refusing to lie is not actionable under the whistleblower statute. The story can be seen in the feature length documentary film The Corporation."

    We're dealing with a "news" station that demands the right to lie to you and can fire employees for refusing to be willing accomplices to that end.

    Bias is one thing but there are INFINITELY better resources to turn to than FOX. Why slant when you can just lie outright?

    But changing facts is changing facts and there's absolutely NO excuse for that.
  7. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 5
    [image=http://static.crooksandliars.com/files/uploads/2009/06/Sanford-D_f3174.JPG]
  8. keynote23 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2006
    star 1
    God almighty.

    Fox news is truly for idiots.

    Anyways Saturn.

    Yes. The Media is biased. That's the nature of the game.

    No matter what you watch or listen to you, you'd be wise to dig a bit to make sure you're getting the straight dope.

    Though with Fox there's a good chance you'll need a much bigger shovel.

  9. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    All media is unavoidably biased (in the selection of/prominence of) what stories are "newsworthy." Reasonable outlets try to minimize such, and thus are "less biased."

    Each journalist should also strive for objectivity and the professionals do.

    Strangely enough, as much as some decry "the liberal bias" - big business runs and owns the press. Big Business is considered anything but left wing. Why don't we decry the business bias - "if it bleeds it leads" mentality?
  10. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    Sure it does. It doesn't seem to matter a lot, however.
  11. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2009
    star 4
    [image=http://i43.tinypic.com/29bzh3c.jpg]

    ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz... What, the news is on? Yeah, hun. Just give me
    five.....ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
  12. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
  13. KGhobgoblin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2009
    star 1
    Good classifications for purposes of the discussion. Level 1 and your commentary is a key point of this whole discussion.

    A definition of "left-wing bias" could possibly be: a story reported in the news helping Democrats/hurting Republicans when an analogous story that hurts Democrats/helps Republicans is ignored or doctored in such a way as to take the sting off. Your thoughts?

    I think Saturn's larger point is that between NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC, no one can make the argument that they lean even a little bit right. Having one conservative network in the face of five liberal ones is hardly a reason to get excited. And if Fox did put on a deliberately false story ten years ago, how is it any different than the CBS debacle mentioned by Saturn above? News, like all other TV, is really about entertainment and the quality of the reporting will always be secondary.

    Using your classifications, one could make an argument that a continued use of Level 2 bias is worse than Level 3 because while Level 3 is obvious, quickly discovered, and eternally damaging to a news organization's reputation, Level 2 carries plausible deniability and goes unnoticed to all but the most observant and informed.

    I'll look a little deeper into the Fox lawsuit story you mentioned to see if there was any room for reasonable disagreement. I have to think Fox (or any news organization) shies away from "Level 3" bias because they won't survive very long. Most people in general chose not to lie for the same reason. Even totally biased sites like Media Matters or Newsbusters depend on the truthfulness of their reporting, so I suspect this was merely a statement of law made by the court as opposed to a finding of fact (but I could be wrong).

    One of the things that started this war between the White House and Fox News was an incident in August where Chris Wallace fact checked someone from the Obama administration on his show. The full story is available here.

    I'm worried by anyone who doesn't want to be fact checked, Democrat or Republican.
  14. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    You know what, let splay a game. Since you just said every single other network leans left, I want you to name the 5 liberals at NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN. I'll give a pass on MSNBC sinc eI can name 4 liberals there off the top of my head.

    My bet? you're just painting with a brush because someone told you they're all liberal and you have no facts to back it up.
  15. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    I like how you talk about 'ordinary' people here, versus the big 'media' giants, who you then accuse of being 'left wing'. What is it, with the American right, that they constantly seem to be banking on 'the ordinary people' ?

    Also, I would hardly call CNN left wing, I'm not going to take the word 'liberal' up, since I associate liberal with the kind of ideology the 'Economist' pushes, but that's not exactly the same thing as what it stands for in American Politics.

    Fox news, on the other hand, is genius. No matter what your views are, you basically feel vindicated watching it. However, opinions are not 'news' as we are taught to understand it.

    I personally prefer Le Monde Diplomatique, but that's left wing that even MSNBC can't catch up to. =)
  16. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    Frankly the best way for Obama to beat Fox News is to appear on Fox news. And then just be himself. Then it makes it harder for them to portray him the want they want to.

  17. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I'll echo the complaint of calling CNN "left-wing" or even "left-leaning"; it's the most centrist of the news organizations listed. Hell, Beck and Geraldo were on CNN before going over to FOX.
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I think a stronger case can be made for calling all national US media right-wing.
  19. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I gotta say I was quite bemused by the election, especially the way several big newspapers ignored the John Edwards adultery stories and even forbade their bloggers to discuss it on their forums.

    I don't follow this -- didn't Edwards's adultary stories come out AFTER the election? I mean there were adultary stories concerning John McCain and a staffer as well and I don't remember much of a focus on THOSE, either. Not that a lot of people complained.

    I don't recall hearing that several big newspapers forbade the subject. On what grounds? Did they not give the John McCain adultery story the same treatment?


    A definition of "left-wing bias" could possibly be: a story reported in the news helping Democrats/hurting Republicans when an analogous story that hurts Democrats/helps Republicans is ignored or doctored in such a way as to take the sting off. Your thoughts?

    See above about John McCain. My thoughts: stories that can hurt Republicans get ignored by mainstream media too. But an audience that feels that it's side is getting unacceptably misrepresented only notices stories favorable to them getting noticed, and often is unwilling to acknowledge that these stories probably weren't as newsworthy or as legitimate as they believe them to be. It's really pretty much happening on both sides, and if it happens that the left gets more favorable treatment, it's not such that much of a distortion from reality is actually created than if they were treating both sides equally.

    In other words, if there IS any mainstream leftwing bias, it's not of sufficient weight to do anything except get overly noticed and overly reacted to by those of the audience who themselves favor the right-wing.
  20. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
    Not that I consider most of these particularly dangerous or anything, but there is definitely a left-leaning slant to the media and there has been for some time.

    CNN and MSNBC (this being as bad as Fox News in my opinion), SNL, Daily Show and Colbert (both of whom I love), NY Times, Huffington Post, LA Times, Most of Hollywood, etc.

    Of course now in addition to Fox News, you also have Limbaugh, Hannity, Imus, etc. on talk radio...

    I think it's just that Hollywood and comedians like Maher or Stewart get a lot more attention (What with films coming out like W from Oliver Stone). CNN is immensely popular (although, I don't see them as extremely left-leaning like MSNBC).

    And I'm forgetting talk show hosts, Letterman (obviously being slanted left) and Leno was...but he's sorta gone now (and far less so than Letterman)

    So, CNN, MSNBC, LA TIMES, NY TIMES, HUFFINGTON POST, HOLLYWOOD (which includes an awful lot of people, films, etc.), LETTERMAN, STEWART, COLBERT, SNL...

    that vs.

    Fox News, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck (not sure if he has a talk radio show), and maybe Imus?

    In the left leaning list--CNN is the most trust-worthy in my opinion. I don't think they are biased so much as they are left-leaning. And I think it's fine to be left-leaning in the way that they are since I think they strive to provide the news without so much of an agenda.

    I think what the Whitehouse is doing with Fox News is absurd. So does ABC apparently.

    I don't remember Bush claiming that MSNBC wasn't news...

    Honestly, I think the attack against Fox is a diversionary tactic by the current administration and it's quite disgraceful. While everyone in the media including Fox runs around reporting on it, health care reform is still being debated, we're still waiting for Obama's decision on a troop increase for Afghanistan, negotiations with Iran, the stimulus and taking care of the economy, etc. (these issues are still present--not to mention hardly any coverage of Iraq these days...)

    Not to mention that most journalists ARE left-leaning...

    In fact, I saw a portion of the Situation Room on CNN that was dedicated to Michelle Obama hula-hooping! WTF? They used like 10 minutes of airtime coupled with commercials to report on THAT?

    Edit: as to the whole thing about Mark Foley--come now, first of all show more? Is that really the only instance? Did you notice that the second Fox made a mistake that it was all over the place? If they were "lying" like that all the time or even most of the time--why hasn't someone posted like, 20 cases depicting a story like Foley? Also, while I recognize the seriousness of the mistake--it's not THAT bad. Anyone who's voting purely on a party basis anyways is, in my opinion, biased and already misinformed. I've seen people like Chris Matthews lie all the time on MSNBC with the most recent assertions going along with left-wing rhetoric like "Republicans don't want health care reform" or "Republicans's health plan is for you to die."
  21. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    You're actually accusing The Daily Show as having a bias? If anything it has a distinctly anti-jerk-ass bias. And MSNBC and CNN? On the level of Foxnews? Are you really serious or are you being paid by some Republican group. CNN might as well be a hollywood gossip channel and MSNBC, while leftist, is still more of a journalist station than Fox.
  22. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Left wing means of broadly Democrat/socialist principles whilst right-wing is Republican/Democrat in my book, I consider myself a liberal but that doesn't mean left wing.
    I have to say I find the BBC also having a left wing bias as the recent Question Time demonstrated. Obama has got a pretty free ride so far whilst Bush could do no right. I recently watched the excellent Frost vs Nixon film and was suprised how people wanted to crucify him but let Clinton off scot free (the Vietnam montage and talk of 'radicalising' Cambodia was the only poor bit in the film)
  23. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    'Broadly Democrat/socialist' isn't very helpful. You can see how the discussion is going. If you want real answers to your questions and not just the regular back-and-forth-mudslinging, you need to write down exactly how you define 'left-wing'. For now, as far as I can tell, you seem to see neutral things as having a left-wing bias because your center is on the right. I may be wrong, but only you can correct that, saturn.
  24. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    The only thing I see here is that Obama called Fox news out on what everyone who is not brainwashed by Faux and Right knew already so now they have to get all riled up over it.

    I used to love watching Fox News. I like watching Bill O'Reilly. But in the run up to Bush Part 2 Fox news took a very hard...and very obvious...turn to the Right, didn't deny it, still don't deny it, and basically became almost impossible to watch as a genuine news channel.
  25. keynote23 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2006
    star 1
    And what is your interpretation of that?

    If a journalist is someone who has to look at the facts to build a story then which is the more prevalent statement?

    Journalists belief skews facts?
    or
    Facts sway the beliefs of journalists?

    I'm willing to bet a lot of these people's positions are greatly influenced by the facts they find and witness first hand in their journalistic endeavors. A fair statement no? After all, it would be hard for a journalist of any intelligence (who isn't being bribed) to maintain a position which seems to be in contravention of the facts he/she keeps finding.

    If journalists must research facts to do their jobs and most journalists are democrats, what does that say about the democratic view of the world vs. the republican one?

    Oh you could say it's "that's because journalists are left-leaning" but something had to make them that way the same something made right-wing journalists right-leaning.

    What is it?



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