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      Fox News, CNN both lack journalistic integrity

      Ross Wasserstrom

      Issue date: 4/3/09 Section: Opinion
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      As do many college students, I certainly I have my biases. I recently watched Glenn Beck of Fox News Channel berating a defenseless and clearly overmatched Connecticut State's Attorney on the AIG bonus scandal. I couldn't help but comment to my roommate that Fox News is a disgrace to journalistic integrity and anything but "fair and balanced," the network's slogan.

      Having watched Fox News often enough since middle school, I felt justified in saying so; Fox has increasingly abandoned a search for the "truth" in a quest for conservative grandstanding and ratings. Since Obama entered office, the commitment to reporting the news has taken a back seat as Beck, Sean Hannity, and the all-powerful Bill O'Reilly dominate the conversation over their guests to express their indignation and frustration at liberal reform.

      My roommate, however, took a different tone. Though he has similar political convictions, he said there is no doubt that Fox brings some very important issues to the news media table. Injustice and constitutional infringement, especially here in the United States, has rarely, if ever, escaped the web of Fox's conservative and patriotic fervor. Fox has diligently enlightened us of the perils and frequency of partisan conflict, racial inequality, and sexual and religious discrimination time and again.

      Indeed, Fox has the capacity - nay, the burning desire - to say what should be said in response to liberal pussyfooting. Fox has decided that following the network conscience to right wrongs and draw attention to what they perceive as misconduct, politically and socially, merits suspension of some journalistic honesty.

      This does not imply that Fox lies intentionally or misshapes the truth; the network's infraction is that it has abandoned a deliberate search for the truth. It instead decides on a position for an issue, subsequently reporting it as though its position is infallible. Guests of Fox News programming are brought either to agree with the host or to be browbeaten for their stupidity and incompetence. Unfortunately, Fox has decided as a network not to report stories that do not controvert their values, especially international news, leaving many important stories uncovered because Fox takes no particular position (or feels no injustice has been dealt to conservative values) on the story.

      The other side of the coin represents an opposite, but equally dishonest, portrayal of events. CNN has no political or social convictions. CNN, Fox's liberal counterpart, has decided not to report issues in which the network's position can be inferred. Gay rights and church/state separation infractions have become so taboo for the network that, unless the matter is of dire national consequence, it may not even make CNN's ticker.

      Gone are the days of journalism on television, liberal or conservative. Edward R. Murrow interviewed people on See It Now in the 1950s not to showboat his politics but to allow controversial figures to explain themselves while answering questions critical to the public interest. Fox anchors are entirely disinterested in their guest's opinions, regardless of their expertise, and CNN has become impotent in reporting many important yet controversial stories.

      Having heard this argument from said roommate, I decided to follow Murrow's example. I no longer watch Fox news with the conviction that my liberal ways are infallible, but instead watch and listen to gain new insight and information. While I would challenge readers to do the same, I think it is more important instead that the anchors of these programs follow my roommate, and their illustrious predecessor, in finding valuable information from multiple, if sometimes disagreeable, sources.

      Ross Wasserstrom is a third-year political science major and is a little short to be a stormtrooper.
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      Viewing Comments 1 - 3 of 3

        Alo Konsen

        posted 4/03/09 @ 3:15 AM EST

        Ross, do you understand the difference between news shows and commentary shows? Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, and Neil Cavuto do straight news. Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck do commentary. (Continued…)

        Details   Reply to this comment

        Ross Wasserstrom

        posted 4/06/09 @ 10:31 PM EST

        Mr. Konsen,

        I certainly appreciate your comments, but I would like to point out a few things. I wrote this piece not to whine about "conservative bias" at all. (Continued…)

        Details   Reply to this comment

        come on

        posted 4/08/09 @ 12:54 AM EST

        i don't think wasserstrom understands what konsen was doing in the final part of his criticism. he is pretty clueless.@

        Details   Reply to this comment

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