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No Peabody Awards For Fox News? But They’re #1 In Cable News!

Reported by Priscilla - April 2, 2009 -

While media ratings are important for advertising revenue, they don’t necessarily imply quality. Compare any program on NPR with the highly rated Fox&Friends and you know what I’m talking about. Thus, we have Fox News, ”real journalism, fair and balanced,” being #1 in cable news while not receiving any awards from an organization that values real journalism. It’s also funny that the Fox apologists, when faced with the evidence of Fox partisanship and right wing demagoguery (Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity, Fox&Friends), claim that these right wing talking sockpuppets are “conservative commentators” and, thus, not subject to the proper protocol for “real” journalism – which is how Fox defines itself. So, the lack of a Peabody Award might be because the Peabody people don’t value what Fox presents as “real journalism, fair and balanced.” Ya think?!

First, let’s dispense with the notion that the shows are “commentary” shows and not connected to journalism. While the Fox apologists might say so, that’s not how the journalistic community views them because the reports about the ratings talk about Fox News programming as news -with no exceptions for any programs which might be viewed as anything other than news. Real Clear Politics has this to say about the “big three” conservative “commentators:” The article, “Fox News Continues Reign with Big Three” begins with "Led by the trio of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and newcomer Glenn Beck, Fox News maintained its hold as the leading cable news…O'Reilly celebrated his 100th consecutive month as the leading cable news program…” (Bill O’Reilly’s news – for whom, the brain dead?) And we have this about Glenn Beck: “Glenn Beck has top cable news show Website last week.” (Glenn Beck news – for whom, those with paranoid personality disorders?) In other words, say what you want, the Fox shoutfests are considered “news” shows.

Second, let’s talk about the Peabody Awards – which Bill O’Reilly didn’t receive despite what the Paris Business Review said. I went back to 2000 and scanned the list of Peabody Awards and could find nary a one for Fox News. The Fox TV Network got one for “House.” According to Peabody Director Horace Newcomb, “this year's winners reflect new ways to distribute information, as well as diversity of content and genre...” (Comment: Well, golly gosh gee wiz, if “Lost” can get a Peabody, why not Glenn Beck?) The winners, this year, include NBC’s (They’re out to get Bill O’Reilly) Richard Engle’s “Tip of the Spear” which was about the conflict in Afghanistan. (Now, why won’t they give an award to Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity for their Middle East on site reporting – oh, wait a minute, they haven’t done any!) CNN won an award for their coverage of the primaries. Washington Week in Review, moderated by the fabulous Gwen Ifill won an award. (What, no award for the fabulous – just kidding - Brit Hume?) I say good for Gwen, especially after the right wing tried to trash her for having, as Fox News’ Juan Williams said, a “perception problem.” The HBO biopic “John Adams” also received the prize. (If Fox did biopics, what would they do? MLK as a radical communist, Augusto Pinochet as a humanitarian, Phyllis Schlafly as an advocate for women’s rights?) PBS did a documentary on “Depression, Out of the Shadows.” (If Fox had done it, the title would have been “Depression – quite your bitching”) Bill O’Reilly will be upset that the NY Times won an award. HBO got an award for a documentary on the Cristo “Gates” exhibit in Central Park. (If Fox covered art, it would geared towards Hallmark Cards as great American art or Michelangelo as offensive to family values.) Documentaries on Fox seem to be either right wing films, from dubious sources, like the be scared of Muslims documentary “Obsession,” suck up pieces like Bret Baier’s infomercial on Don Rumsfeld.

Fox doesn’t really fit well into the Peabody Award criterion because their way of distributing information is in keeping with the Joe McCarthy methodology and that’s old school. And a network that is geared to white, Christian, right wing conservatives can’t do much with diversity of content. Presenting lies as facts in order to promote a right wing agenda while bashing liberals, democrats, immigrants, Islam, minorities, gays, etc, doesn’t seem to fit the Peabody’s mission which is to “recognize the most outstanding achievements in electronic media…The Award is determined by one criterion – ‘Excellence’...” But Fox “News” is #1 in cable ratings so it’s all good. I’m sure that Fox’s reality challenged audience thinks that the Peabody, like the Nobel, is a left wing, commie plot. Fox leads in cable “news” – but in “excellence,” not so much. Ya think?! And if SNL can win a Peabody for comedy, why can’t Fox News as its entire programming is a joke!