There's a lovely write up in the New York Times today about Sally Kohn, one of Fox News' few muscular voices for progressives. But at the risk of sounding nit-picky, the Times largely gave Fox a pass on the ways it limits Kohn's participation at the same time that it publicly lauds her commentating.
In an article called, "At Fox News, a Liberal Pundit Finds the Spotlight," the Times writes that Kohn - in both looks and attitude - is an unlikely personage to be "making a name for herself in the crowded arena of political punditry." Then we learn that despite its reputation, Fox appreciates what executive vice president Michael Clemente described as Kohn's "fresh thoughts." Clemente, we also learn, "compared her favorably to Geraldine Ferraro."
But the Times doesn't go into much about how Fox News uses Kohn on the air - or not. For example the article cites Kohn's devastating FoxNews.com critique of Paul Ryan's convention speech which somehow got the "innocuous headline, 'Paul Ryan’s speech in 3 words.'” Those three words were "dazzling," "deceiving" and "distracting." In her piece, Kohn said Ryan made "an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.” Then the Times noted:
Although Fox News never put Ms. Kohn on the air to discuss the post, the viral phenomenon collected 2.1 million unique hits, putting it among the site’s top five original posts for the year.
2.1 million unique hits and yet not one appearance on the air to discuss it? Furthermore, Kohn and her "fresh thoughts" have been largely (if not completely) absent from Fox's prime time campaign coverage. Instead, we've gotten the likes of feckless Joe Trippi.
So while I'm an admirer of Kohn's and am glad to see her whenever she does appear on the network, the fact that they pull her punches when they might land the hardest raises significant questions about just what kind of spotlight Fox shines on Kohn. Are they really interested in her opinions for the sake of getting "all sides" or using her for "fair and balanced" window dressing? Sadly, while the article seems to make a point of suggesting the former, there's a lot of nitty gritty to indicate the latter.
It’s frustrating, to say the least.