Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Fox News Watch Ain’t What It Used To Be

Reported by Priscilla - June 20, 2008 -

Once upon a time, when Eric Burns was the host of Fox News Watch, it was actually a “fair and balanced” program about “real journalism”. Burns, whose love of journalism prompted him to write a book about the history of American journalism, asked straightforward questions to liberals Jane Hall and Neal Gabler and conservatives Jim Pinkerton and Cal Thomas. Pinkerton. The questions concerned the way that journalists and the media were covering major stories of the week. Though representing the “right” side of the aisle, Pinkerton and Thomas were good humored and, for the most part, objective in the criticisms. Gabler and Hall would occasionally level sharp criticism of Fox News for its presentation of the issues of the day. The easy camaraderie of the group made for an interesting, informative, and fun show. Sadly, those days are over and Fox News Watch is just another vehicle for republican/right wing talking points.

Since the departure of Neal Gabler, who once referred to Hannity, O’Reilly, and Gibson as “demagogues,” his chair is rotated on a weekly basis. The first person to occupy the chair was Rachel Sklar, from the Huffington Post followed by David Corn, whose detailed articles, on Mother Jones, about the bizarre worlds of John Hagee and Rod Parsley might have lead to McCain’s rejection of their endorsements. As both Sklar and Corn were a little too liberal (critical of Fox) they have been followed by a parade of non-descript (and non critical of Fox) writers from various media outlet including the “non partisan” Patricia Murphy from Citizen Jane. And while Pinkerton and Thomas are less humorous and more scathing of the criticisms of liberals, Jane Hall seems to be more careful about her responses. There has been a change in the weather which was demonstrable in the very first question that host John Scott asked the panel on last week’ (June 21st) show.

Scott stated that “now that her husband is the presumed Democratic nominee.” Michelle Obama is taking criticism. He played the video clip of Ms. Obama’s comment about being proud of her country for the first time and said that “this comment and others have prompted the criticism at which point he showed the cover of the conservative (he did not identify it as such) magazine “National Review” which had a photo of a scowling Michelle Obama with the caption for the featured article “Mrs. Grievance and Her Discontent.” (article written by Mark Steyn) Scott added, “It seems like some pretty powerful people in the media have up their minds about Michelle Obama.”

Predictably, Thomas said that if Ms. Obama is a surrogate, than criticism of her “within boundaries” is acceptable. Hall and Politico’s Jonathon Martin agreed that Ms. Obama will be used by conservatives to paint both Michelle and Barack Obama in an unflattering light. Pinkerton, venomously, said that the criticism is “legit” because he is “curious” about the Obama’s and the people who surround Obama (Wright, Pflegler, and Rezko) who “don’t really alleviate our concerns.” Thomas made a comment about angry black women like Maxine Waters, Cynthia McKinney and the angry black women whom you see on the nightly news during a report of a “drive-by shooting” to which Hall said what about Oprah Winfrey at which point the group laughed.

Comment: Scott reinforced the image of Michelle Obama, as an angry black woman, with his lead off (leading) question and showing (free promotion) of the National Review cover (“powerful people”?) I would like to think that Burns, if he showed the cover, would have asked if this kind of conservative criticism was appropriate. One thing is for sure – Gabler would have brought up the “terrorist knuckle jab” and the other smears that Fox has directed towards the Obama’s. But sadly, Fox News Watch doesn’t watch what Fox is doing. Rather, it is just another forum for its propaganda. Burns and Gabler are truly missed.