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Fair & Balanced? How Fox Tricks its Viewers into Believing It Is

Reported by Melanie - April 28, 2006

One of the tactics Neil Cavuto employs to help him lead his viewers to believe (and I mean believe) that his program is "fair and balanced" is to have liberals, Democrats, or "oppositional" guests physically appear on his show. That apparently makes such a huge impression on his viewers that they don't realize when he then interrupts and/or talks over the guest such that they can never make their views known and in the end, there's no actual fairness or balance to the show at all.

That happened twice this week, once when Dick Durbin (D-IL) appeared (Transcript. Video.) and once when Nancy Smith, a representative of the AARP appeared. Cavuto touted the Smith segment as one in which he (being the "fair and balanced" guy that he is) was going to give the AARP an opportunity to respond to a segment bashing them that he aired earlier in the week. (Here's a link to video of the Smith segment. Fox also posted a transcript but both it and the Durbin transcript have been gussied up. Fox repeatedly uses the word "crosstalk" when it would be far more accurate to say "Cavuto interrupts," and toward the end it doesn't reflect the many times Cavuto essentially refused to let Smith speak.)

So, while people who represent a view that deviates from the Republican talking points may appear on Your World, the audience isn't permitted to hear what they have to say.

A letter writer called Cavuto on that today (April 28, 2006). He wrote:

You are an idiot Cavuto. You have a guest on but every time you ask a question, three seconds later you interrupt. Why don't you shut the hell up and let your guest answer the questions?

Cavuto's response?

Only if the guest is answering questions and not making speeches. I think that Ms. Smith was making speeches as was Senator Durbin the night before.

Watch the Smith/AARP video. Cavuto's response to the letter writer sounds good but it's a lie. Both Smith and Durbin were trying to answer Cavuto's questions. If anyone was making speeches, it was Cavuto himself.

Then there are those viewers who buy what Fox does, hook, line, and sinker, and who have no idea what's happening right before their eyes. Judging from the letters Cavuto reads, they comprise the vast majority of his audience. For example, here's the letter Cavuto read immediately after the above exchange:

The last two nights were nothing short of spectacular! I witnessed you take down Dick Durbin on oil and Nancy Smith on hypocrisy... Thank you for shining the light of truth on all.

(Emphasis added.)

The truth? The only "truth" that got through during either interview was Cavuto's "truth."

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