Last night, Fox host Megyn Kelly and reporter James Rosen hit back at President Obama for his criticisms of the network’s biased and misleading reporting on poverty. But instead of directly answering Obama’s charge and defending its coverage, Kelly and Rosen defended Fox News’ approach as a whole. And each seemed to implicitly acknowledge Fox's bias.
As we previously reported, President Obama said during a summit on poverty yesterday:
I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu—they will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. (Laughter.) They’re like, I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone -- (laughter) -- or whatever. And that becomes an entire narrative—right? -- that gets worked up. And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress—which is much more typical—who’s raising a couple of kids and is doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills.
And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues and how people’s impressions of what it’s like to struggle in this economy looks like, and how budgets connect to that. And that’s a hard process because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.
And I think it’s rather telling that instead of defending Fox’s poster child for moocher food stamp recipients as truly representative of people receiving food benefits, Fox attacked Obama:
ROSEN: Why, exactly, is Fox News so successful, number one for 13 consecutive years? Only one of two things can be true. Either this largest of cable news audiences knows what President Obama knows, namely that Fox News is, as he frames it, a slanted arm of the Republican Party, but still prefers to get its news from such a source – in which case we would assuredly be a center-right nation. Or this largest of cable news audiences just hasn’t caught on to what is so obvious to the president and his aides, isn’t sophisticated enough to see what they see – in which case the White House is effectively insulting the intelligence of the American people, Megyn.
Rosen surely knew that he created a false choice there. The reason why Fox is so successful is that all the news consumers who don’t watch Fox split their viewing between other outlets, whereas Fox has a lock on Republicans.
Meanwhile, the choices Rosen offered both assume Fox is biased: The first choice openly acknowledges it, with the condition that “America is a center-right nation” while Rosen’s second possibility is that Obama sees the bias the public misses.
Host Kelly didn’t disagree. Nor did she counter Obama’s point. Instead, she attacked Obama. First, she sneered that George W. Bush never complained about media criticism “because it was beneath the dignity of the office.” Then Kelly said, “Meantime, the point the president was trying to make today was about poverty which happens to be an area where his approach has undeniably gotten a fair shot long before Fox News ever came on the scene.”
As if that validates any bad thing that Fox says about social safety nets.
Watch it below, from last night’s The Kelly File.
Mr Rosen is entitled to his opinion; he’s NOT, however, entitled to his definition. Politically, “center-right” means the politics starts in the center and veers SLIGHTLY to the right. It does NOT mean the same as “right of center” since, in that scenario, the center is completely ignored.
To put it on a number line from 0 to 100 (with 0 being most left and 100 being most right*), then 50 is THE center. “Center right” would run from 50 to about 70 at most. “Right of center” would run from 51 to 100. If anything, FoxNoise begins at 60 and runs hard right from there.
*The number line as I depicted is standard form in mathematics, especially in graphing along the X-axis.
This asshat is to reporting as professional “rasslin” is to sports!