The Sky is Blue, The World is Round, and now there’s another story about FOX News having a conservative bias.
This one comes from Timothy Noah in Slate. Noah claims to have FOX dead to right this time and as proof offers up an Op-Ed by a FOX News’ London Bureau Chief Scott Norvell in the Wall Street Journal’s European edition. The supposed smoking gun seems to center around the following quote…
Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren’t subsidizing Bill’s bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don’t enjoy that peace of mind.
If this is the only ammunition Noah has, it’s circumstancial at best. A straight reading of the Op Ed shows a heck of a lot more about the opinions and leanings of the Norvell than it does of FOX. Norvell is clearly exaggerating FOX’s treatment of liberals because anyone who’s watched the network any amount of time clearly knows that FOX regularly has liberals on; not the “occasionally” that Norvell says. This not at all insignificant naunce was apparently overlooked by Noah in his zeal to nail FOX to the wall.
This isn’t to argue that FOX isn’t targeting an audience that tends to lean conservative. I think the case could easily be made that that is the case (but I’m not going to make it now…I’ve got more productive things to do…like wash my car). But, as I’ve argued before, targeting an audience is not in and of itself proof of bias. Noah fails to demonstrate a clear connection between Norvell’s somewhat sarchastic comments and a de facto conservative bias at FOX. This really is the quintessential non-story….