David Shuster, former reporter for Fox News and MSNBC, spoke candidly about his days as a Fox News reporter, compared Fox to MSNBC and revealed an instance where Bret Baier refused to report a story that debunked a Republican talking point. (H/T Eric J.)
Shuster discussed his time at Fox News from 1996-2002 when he worked as a correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He told host David Pakman that Fox was a “very different organization back then” and that he “never really had any issue” with bias until the Florida Recount in 2000.
Prior to that, he had issues with hosts using “carefully crafted information” that he had gathered and “tak(ing) it out of context and us(ing) it for their own agenda.” He also said he had felt pressure to do negative stories about John McCain during the 2000 primaries, more so than he thought had been applied to the reporter covering George W. Bush. But while the opinion hosts would take bits from the Fox News memos (immortalized in Outfoxed) and “weave them” into their commentary, Shuster said he never felt a “heavy hand” until the Florida Recount in 2000.
Interestingly, he didn’t reveal much about what that heavy hand did - other than to suggest that there had been pressure to report on supposedly disenfranchised Republican voters in the Florida panhandle. According to Shuster, when then-reporter Bret Baier went to the panhandle and couldn’t find any, he declined to report that information and rock the boat. Shuster said he thought then that Baier would go far “playing to management” but not to journalism.
Reporters at Fox “will report on certain stories and they will not touch other stories... Sometimes the absence of covering stories… that’s where the bias can show up,” Shuster said.
Shuster acknowledge the leftward bias at MSNBC but, he said, it’s “much more of a fact-based approach” than at Fox.
As for Fox’s sinking ratings, he thinks the “credibility gap” is finally catching up with them. Their “credibility simply doesn’t exist any more.” Shuster said Fox is seen as “a Republican house organ, as GOP propaganda.” Even some moderates and conservatives “felt they got burned” in the last election with Fox’s predictions for a Romney victory. “I think more and more Americans feel that what they’re getting from Fox News simply is not accurate and cannot be trusted.”
And yes, I do realize that they’re partially to blame for getting in after they knew what it meant. But that doesn’t change that Fox News is so disreputable.
I can believe that; I’m still waiting to hear Fox’s Special Report on the UK phone hacking scandal . . .
@ Kevin Koster: “One wonders at what point Morris will turn on the hand that fed him over the last ten years…”
If lil’ dick’s treatment of the Clinton’s since they fired him is any indication, I’d guess . . . immediately.
When he was at MSNBC I thought David Shuster did an outstanding job of reporting on the Valerie Plame case. When it comes to the 2000 recount my best memory of Fox’s coverage was their reporting that Democrats were trying to stop members of the military votes from being counted from Florida. They had the Governor from Montana as their face to push this lie, and successfully so.
As far as writing a book on the behind the scenes, doesn’t that ex-producer from Bill O’Reilly show have his coming out soon? I thought it was suppose to be this month. I forget his name.
But Fox News seems to have the large majority of their former employees doing it.