There Is No News & Opinion "Divide" At Fox News
They Made It Up To Spin Reporters, Advertisers, And The Public
A few years ago I saw a curious assertion made in an article about Fox News. According to the story I was reading, the network had two different types of programming: Opinion programming during primetime, and “news” during the mornings and daytime.
The first thought that came to my mind was “bullshit.”
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Some background to explain my expletive: I have spent more time than any sane person should watching Fox News Channel. I was part of the team that first launched Media Matters for America back in 2004 and I spent the next 13 years working there, until January of 2017.
Not only have I watched a lot of Fox News, but I’ve watched it so long I have seen multiple incarnations of Fox News. All that watching forms a big part of my belief that people should watch way less of cable news, in general.
All that time watching Fox, I never saw anything resembling any kind of “divide” between so-called “news” programming and “opinion” programming at Fox. Because that isn’t a real thing.
Fox News from day one was as envisioned by founder and serial sexual assaulter Roger Ailes when he wrote a memo during his tenure working for Richard Nixon: It is GOP TV. Fox is a channel devoted to praising and hailing the Republican Party and the wider conservative movement, while also attacking and smearing everything to its left, including the Democratic Party. (That’s why its so self-destructive when a Democratic president sends his cabinet secretaries and press secretary to appear on the network, by the way)
Fox’s defense of a so-called “divide” is an attempt to throw media reporters, prospective advertisers, and the public at large off. Fox News and owner Rupert Murdoch don’t like it when people connect the outlet to repeated instances of white supremacy, misogyny, racism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, and blatant shilling for the GOP and conservatism. It isn’t a great look under the glare of daylight and it’s bad for advertising sales.
Unfortunately, the divide assertion strategy has had some success, as I have even seen liberals who are aware of the dangers of Fox News refer to the mythological “divide” between the purported straight news “dayside” programming and the opinion shows like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.
During Fox’s purportedly straight news programming, one can find hour after hour every day of Democratic/liberal bashing. Not just from the network’s roster of conservative pundits and Republican guests, but from Fox’s anchors and reporters, who it passes off as neutral journalists.
Just look at the network’s White House correspondent, Peter Doocy, who White House press secretary Jen Psaki seems to go out of her way to call on during most press briefings. Doocy’s questions are always about the right-wing generated conversation of the day, and are always phrased with the mindset of “when will Joe Biden stopping hitting his wife?” His questions are not serious journalistic questions but instead designed to further conservative/Republican Party talking points and to extend their life with a Democratic response.
If you listened to Fox’s spin, Doocy is not part of the network’s “opinion” side, but rather part of the straight news team.
But that doesn’t exist at Fox. They don’t have the divide between the opinion section that traditional journalistic outlets do. There is no firewall in any way.
Fox gets away with this assertion because far too many people who have the job of reporting on media and politics do not truly pay attention to Fox. To them, there is merely the idea of Fox, as a news outlet with some conservative opinion elements, but essentially working under the same concept of journalism as the Washington Post, Associated Press, CNN, and the New York Times.
But if you truly watch Fox, or in the case of myself and my former colleagues at Media Matters, watch way too much Fox, this notion is utterly laughable.
If you ever see this assertion made, be aware that it is at best ill-informed and quite possibly a straight up lie. The “divide” is a myth.
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Exclusive Kal-El Photo
As I wrote this post, Kal-El sat on my shoulder, watching my blind side for possible Fox News attacks. Luckily, I was safe.