Sunday, October 25, 2009

When A News Outlet Is Not

Recently there has been much brouhaha regarding the Obama Administration not regarding Fox News as a news outlet. In much of the discussion from both/all sides of the issue, there seems to be an 800 lb. gorilla in the room about which few are talking. There is nothing wrong with news outlet reporters, personalities, correspondents and anchors expressing their opinions about the news they are reporting. There is nothing wrong with a news outlet hiring all their personnel, organizing and editing all their shows around a particular political and social view. There is even nothing wrong, at least legally, with naming such a concerted, narrow view as "Fair and Balanced". Opinions and news reporting are concepts that are almost impossible to separate. All of us of a certain age remember the day Walter Cronkite expressed an opinion against the Vietnam war. That day was undoubtedly the death knell of American support for the war effort. Some might argue that Walter Cronkite was out of line in his opinion but few would question his ability to report the news as a result of having expressed his opinion.

That which makes Fox News an opposition political outlet to the Democrat Party and the Obama Whitehouse rather than a news channel has nothing to do with any editorial bias on their part, real or imagined. What makes Fox News an opposition political outlet rather than a news channel is that they are expending their money and resources actively organizing anti-government street protests. Example one. Example two. Example three.

THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the difference.

Christopher Dinnes
USNS Yano, T-AKR 297
Violet, LA

P.S. For anyone interested, here is a very well spoken video commentary (i.e., reporting & OPINION) by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow about this 800 lb. gorilla. Regardless of whether one is a Fox News junkie or not, Ms. Maddow should not be dismissed merely because she is liberal, or gay, or works for MSNBC. She is a Rhodes Scholar. She has a degree in public policy from Stamford and her Ph.D. in political science from Lincoln College at Oxford. Regardless of what one feels about her political bent, Ms. Maddow has the intelligence and talent to make a rational and lucid argument to support her views of the news as she sees them. She deserves respect and an honest listen for those reasons alone.