Monday, January 23, 2006

Fair and Balanced?

Alan 'Hit Me Again' Colmes
I generally watch Fox News Sunday (FNS). I like to get a conservative point of view now and then, and it plugs the hole in my area between Meet The Press on NBC and This Week on ABC.

Chris Wallace is generally pretty even handed, but occasionally his convservative bias shows through. He is certainly better than Tony Snow. By the way, I know that Washington, D.C. is not a really large city, but I was surprised several years ago as the Monica Lewinsky story was breaking when Tony Snow admitted on the air that he personally knew Linda Tripp (Monica Lewinsky's "friend"). I appreciated the disclosure, but it seemed odd that a conservative news anchor had some kind of relationship with a low level Pentagon employee who secretly taped conversations to harm a liberal president. I never heard what their relationship was; they could have just been neighbors. It just struck me as very odd.

If you really think Fox is fair and balanced, just watch the panel discussion on FNS. The regular panel members include: Brit Hume, who I suggested in a previous post should be the chairman of the RNC. He doesn't even try to hide his bias. Mara Liasson, who works hard to be fair and balanced. Bill Kristol, who is a well known conservative thinker and writer. He can generally defend his position with reasoned opinion and without name calling or put-downs. Juan Williams is the token liberal. I like Juan, but it is clear that he is on the panel because he often ineffectively states his position and he obviously will take Hume's crap to stay on the show.

Yesterday, Brit Hume responded to a statement by Williams with "That's crap" or something like that. Later, Juan tried to explain that the Abramoff scandal was indeed a Republican scandal. He explained how part of the Republican "K Street Project" was to push lobbying groups to fire their employees who were Democrats and hire Republicans. Instead of a thoughtful discussion of Juan's point, Brit came back with a smart ass remark asking Juan if he was suggesting the need for civil rights legislation for lobbyists. Brit doesn't attempt to hide his disrespect for Williams. One day Juan should stare back at Brit and say, "No, Brit, that is not crap, but I can believe to an asshole like you most things sound like crap". Obviously Juan would never work for Fox again, but wouldn't that be satisfying? Hume is the managing editor of Fox News? Doesn't that make it harder for other commentators to give it back like they are getting it?

While I'm venting about Fox I've got to say that I do like to hear conservative points of view. While I might not agree with them very often, Bill Kristol, George Will and David Brooks are bright people with positions they defend with reasoned responses. A person's personal views of politics, or anything else for that matter, must be tested against well reasoned opinions of people with opposing views. Otherwise your opinions may be no more than illusions.

Having said that, Hannity and Colmes is worthless. I watch some of the Fox shows frequently, but Hannity and Colmes turns my stomach. I try to watch occasionally, but I'm generally nauseous after about five minutes. If you like someone who is unreflective, rude, obnoxious and pontificating, Hannity is probably your man. And, like Juan Williams, Alan Colmes plays the part of the ineffective, out-of-touch, hit me again liberal.

I'm sure Juan Williams and Alan Colmes are fine people, but I couldn't and wouldn't play the part of the liberal patsy. And I can't respect either for staying with Fox.

As far as Fox being "Fair and Balanced", this is just another example of the Republican/conservative belief that if you tell a lie often enough people will start believing it. Why can't they just be honest and say "We are a conservative news organizaion that is committed to balancing the views from the liberal media." Not simple or catchy enough. How about "We are right and proud of it!"

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