Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

How biased is Fox News?

Jerry Stratton, August 22, 2011

Democrats and others on the left like to complain about how biased Fox News is, how it’s a shill for the right compared to everyone else, who are all less biased. Another way of putting this is that Fox News is the outlet with the most conservative bias: every other outlet is further to the left than Fox.

So, how does Fox’s bias manifest? William A. Jacobson linked to a Brett Baier interview with the White House’s Bill Burton and Karl Rove this morning. Watch this video from a media bias perspective, and remember that this is Fox News, what our leftist friends say is the most conservative news channel. In other words, according to the left every other media outlet is more biased to the left than this video.

Bill Burton makes several assertions about the Republicans; Brett Baier lets them stand unopposed and simply moves to another unrelated question for Karl Rove to answer.

Burton is so unprepared that he’s literally just giving talking points. The reason you have talking points is to stay on message—they’re supposed to be what you want to talk about not something you just list out. You give yourself examples and policies to support your easily-remembered points. For example, Sarah Palin’s famous hand notes were talking points. They were a list of topics she wanted to cover, and she built a full speech and full answers on that handful of points.

Burton is just listing his talking points without supporting them and without even expecting any opposition to them.

When Baier moves to Rove for a different question, Rove chooses to address Burton’s assertions after answering his own question. Baier immediately gives Burton a chance to counter Rove; then, when Burton is finished, he asks Burton another question to keep Rove from addressing what Burton said.

When he then moves to Rove with another, different, question, he actively tries to stop Rove from addressing Burton’s talking points.

Then, he takes one of the things in Rove’s answer—the White House has no plan—and turns it into the question for Burton, giving Burton the opportunity to address it; and again, he attempts to allow Burton‘s assertions to stand unopposed.

Burton is always given a chance to answer Rove; Rove is never offered a chance to address Burton. Burton is so unprepared to back up his assertions that he just throws ad hominem attacks against the television in hopes to derail the discussion. Baier lets him do it; it’s when Rove starts successfully refuting Burton’s assertions, Baier decides to step in “as traffic cop.”

Burton’s not stupid. He knew exactly what to expect from Fox. He came on expecting no challenges. And except for the persistence of Karl Rove he would have been right. This is what the most conservative media outlet, according to the left, does. Every other media outlet is even more blatantly biased.

I’m not complaining about Baier—he really is less biased than his counterparts in CNN, for example. He actually lets Rove talk when Rove persists. But that doesn’t make him biased toward conservatives. Remember the next time you hear how biased Fox News is: it allows bare Democrat talking points to go unchallenged, yet offers Democrats a chance to counter the supported assertions of Republicans. If that’s Fox, how bad is everyone else?

  1. <- 20/12 Hindsight
  2. Perry’s government ->