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8 Reasons Fox Is Not a News Organization

PR for the GOP? Yes. Platform for right-wing hatemongers? Definitely. But a news organization? Definitely not.

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But when Watters tailed Think Progress blogger Amanda Terkel for two hours and bushwhacked her at a resort town where she was vacationing, he traveled a bridge too far, awarding Terkel a moment of fame that did not play well for O'Reilly.

Fox defenders reply that Watters uses techniques developed by the legendary Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes fame, neglecting to mention that Wallace does not sic his producers on people who criticize him -- only on people alleged to have committed crimes who refuse to return his calls.

5. Sunday talk-show host who promotes Republican falsehoods -- Once upon a time, Chris Wallace, son of the aforementioned Mike, was a real journalist, just like his dad. Then he joined the Fox team, as host of Fox News Sunday, which airs on the Fox's broadcast network.

Wallace fell full-fledged into Fox's wing-nuttery when, in the heat of the town hall madness this summer, he promoted a Bush administration official's mischaracterization of a booklet recommended for patients in the Veterans Affairs medical system as a "death book" for veterans. The guest who made the allegations was an author whose book about end-of-life options had been rejected for distribution by the VA -- a guy named Jim Towey, the former director of the Bush administration's office of faith-based initiatives.

The pretext for Towey's appearance on the show was an op-ed he published in the Wall Street Journal slamming the Obama administration's VA department. While we don't always love the framing of issues on NBC's Meet the Press, CBS' Face the Nation, or ABC's This Week (or the frequent absence of progressives on those shows), we don't recall David Gregory, Bob Scheiffer or George Stephanopoulos promoting a similar misrepresentation of any Bush administration policy.

6. Fox News anchors, show hosts and pundits parrot GOP press releases, or just make up stuff -- Promoting the notion that their organization is on some sort of Nixonian White House "enemies list," Fox News personalities first trotted out the "enemies list" theme in August, when they suggested that the White House, asking for Americans to send the administration any unsolicited e-mails they received that promoted false information about health care reform legislation, was actually compiling an "enemies list."

The idea was promoted by Steve Doocy of the Fox and Friends morning program, and a number of other Fox talking heads. (Note: Nixon's enemies list was a list of targets for dirty tricks.) After Obama administration officials began hitting back at Fox for its misrepresentation of administration policies, Fox personalities, ever sounding a theme of victimization, declared themselves to be targets on the imaginary "enemies list."

Just this week, Fox and Friends anchors Brian Kilmeade, Doocy and Gretchen Carlton recited as fact a false claim in a GOP press release that reported administration projections for 2011 of jobs to be created by the stimulus package as 2009 figures, which the GOP then, of course knocks down based on current data. A graphic on-screen during the segment read: "STIMULUS GENERATES UNEMPLOYMENT," a claim no credible economist has made.

This isn't the first time Fox News has looked to Republican press releases as substitutes for scripts. In February, Media Matters caught Fox passing off as its own research slides apparently cut-and-pasted from a Senate Republican Communications Center release. How did Fox get caught? They passed on a typo from the SRCC document, citing the date for a WSJ report as "12/19/09."

7. Fox News hosts urge viewers to join a particular political group -- During the run-up to the big right-wing 9-12/Tea Party march on Washington, Fox News entities and personalities repeatedly flogged viewers to join the Tea Party Express, a bus tour of anti-Obama activists.

 
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