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Fox News and MLK: It's Ugly

Reported by Melanie - January 17, 2005

It's almost a year to the day since we began monitoring Fox News. In the beginning I was shocked at some of what I saw but over the last year that shock has given way to feelings of anger, sorrow, and profound concern about the unfair, biased and vicious nature of Fox's coverage.

Today, the shock came back.

Fox News showcases George Bush whenever possible. They show him getting on and off helicopters and airplanes. They cover his public utterances. They cover his public speeches. They cover him getting in and out of cars, walking into buildings, walking out of buildings. They cover George Bush. Period.

Today George Bush spoke at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in commemoration of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Bush's speech began at 4:16 p.m. ET. Fox went live to the Kennedy Center and began covering the speech at that time, as did CNN and MSNBC.

At 4:18 p.m. ET the Kennedy Center connection appeared to fizzle and Fox returned to Neil Cavuto. Cavuto signed off for a break. At that moment the live picture of Bush returned to the screen (their feed was restored!) but Fox went to a break anyway. After the break, Fox aired a report about corporate crime by Terry Keenan and then Cavuto interviewed attorney David Bois on the same topic.

At 4:24 p.m. ET, during Cavuto's Bois interview, Fox went to a split screen with Bois in one and Bush speaking at the Kennedy Center in the other (Fox's Kennedy Center feed was still coming in!). After a few seconds, the screen showing Bush quickly cut to pictures of corporate bigwigs doing the perp walk.

Bush's speech ended at 4:30 p.m. ET. (CNN and MSNBC aired the speech in its entirety.)

COMMENT: Why didn't Fox return to coverage of Bush's MLK speech? It seems obvious that the feed was coming into their control room given the two underlined instances above. Cavuto interviewed Earl Graves, Sr., the founder of Black Enterprise at the beginning of the show but Fox blew apart any notion that it cared to honor Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the way it handled Bush's MLK speech. Even Fox's love of all-things-Bush wasn't enough to overcome its apparent - shall I say disregard? - for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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