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MacCallum Urges Conservatives To Attack Other Media

Reported by Judy - November 30, 2006 -

Howard Dean poked a little fun at Fox News while giving a speech in Canada recently, but Fox News' Martha MacCallum used her report on it to suggest that conservatives attack the mainstream media for being too liberal. After a couple high-profile -- and long overdue -- critiques of Fox News by liberals, could Fox News be trying to foment a counterattack by conservatives against other media in order to take some of the heat off itself?

It certainly looked that way on the "Live Desk" on Thursday (November 30, 2006) MacCallum showed a short clip of Dean, whom she described as the "controversial" head of the Democratic National Committee, speaking to members of the Liberal Party in Canada. He was speaking in French (which Fox News did not bother to translate) when he paused, laughed, and said, "Won't Fox News hate this?"

Throughout the segment, Fox News displayed a banner which read, "Howard Dean's Rant," although there was nothing in his brief remarks in French about the election results that could be construed as a rant. But for Fox, that's a minor transgression.

MacCallum's guest was Brent Bozell, head of the right-wing Media Research Center, funded by people like the Scaifes and the Coors. Bozell first interpreted Dean's remark as a tribute to Fox News' standing in the ratings and then called it something else.

"This is cheap shots that are taken at Fox," he said. "And by the way, he's not the only one. Barney Frank has taken shots at Fox. Bill Clinton went after Chris Wallace in what I think was a disgraceful manner. They're doing that because Fox has broken from the pack. Fox is not behaving like all the other networks, kow-towing to the left. Fox is being, I think, very, very even-handed on both sides, and the left just can't stand with that, especially when they look at the ratings and they see that their friends are at the bottom and Fox is on top."

(Fox is on top, but slipping -- It was down 12 percent in total viewers in November versus a year ago. MSNBC, on the other hand, is up 25 percent, according to mediabistro.)

MacCallum then asked, "Tell me what you think about why that same line of attack, if you will, hasn't been turned against some of the mainstream media by conservatives?. Why is there a hesitancy on the part of conservatives, maybe, to point the finger in this kind of very public way at the other folks?"

Bozell responded that conservatives should do so. "In fact, I believe that when somebody is interviewed on a network and a network anchor says something that is either inaccurate or distorted or just a flat-out untruth, then I think it is incumbent on the Republican or the conservative to challenge the anchor. For far too long, they haven't done so," he claimed.

In actuality, conservatives have been complaining about the "liberal media" for 35 years and their constant carping about alleged bias has resulted in a mainstream media that it conservative, not liberal.

Guess MacCallum missed all the activities of Accuracy in Media over the last 35 years, as well as more recent events, like that liberal ABC's docudrama on the lead-up to 9/11.

Maybe I should send her a copy of my book.

Interestingly, MacCallum segued from urging conservatives to attack the mainstream media to a piece on Frank's recent appearance on Bill O'Reilly's "O'Reilly Factor," in which O'Reilly repeatedly interrupted Frank and tried to force him to admit that he wants to "redistribute income."

If a conservative ever gets that kind of bullying from the mainstream media, I think they should complain. But when Fox News does it to liberals, MacCallum apparently thinks they should just swallow it meekly.

This segment smacks of something that came down in the daily memo from John Moody, senior vice president for news. We already know that MacCallum slavishly follows Moody's directives, to the point of taking material out of them and reporting them as fact rather than doing actual reporting.

Moody may be figuring that Fox News will be at a disadvantage come January, when Democrats officially take over control of the House and Senate. It will be the first time in Fox News' existence that Republicans were not in control. Since many Democrats won't come on Fox News, the news channel may find itself shut out of access to top newsmakers. What better way to undercut the competition than to claim that the competition is featuring Democrats, not because Democrats hold power, but because the competition is biased against Republicans?