President Obama gave an interview to Fox News correspondent Major Garrett in China on Wednesday, signaling what may be the end of a White House feud with the cable news channel. Obama administration critics have said Fox News isn't a true news outlet but a bullhorn for right-wing opinion. But the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a watchdog with conservative funding, says Fox's evening news is more balanced than CBS, NBC, and ABC. Is Fox's news coverage hopelessly biased, or is it more even-handed than its critics say? (Watch MSNBC's Rachel Maddow lash out at Fox News)
Fox offers balance. The others are Obama shills: It's true that Fox News gives President Obama "his worst press," says Center for Media and Public Affairs director and former Fox News contributor S. Robert Lichter in Forbes, but it's also the most balanced. Sounds contradictory, but it's not. During the campaign, CBS, NBC, and ABC were are all "pro-Obama" and anti-McCain, while Fox News was "was tough on both--and most balanced overall."
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Take that with a grain of salt: The Center for Media and Public Affairs is "a right wing front group," says the Village Voice's Roy Edroso in his Alicublog, which is something to remember when pondering its conclusions. And how can ABC, NBC, and CBS be Obama lapdogs if, as S. Robert Lichter points out, they have been nearly as critical of the president since he took office as Fox's evening news?
Leftists are in denial: The howling from the left is predictable, says Tom Blumer in News Busters. And dismissing the CMPA as "conservatively biased (because SourceWatch says so)" is no argument — but it's all liberals can do because the group's scorekeeping methodology "appears to be relatively immune from partisan slant." Fox News critics could watch the footage themselves to "poke holes" in the CMPA's conclusion that Fox News really is "fair and balanced," but "they won't; whining is so much easier."
Fox cheerleaders are the ones in denial: Fox News has repeatedly made a mockery of its claim that it's "fair and balanced," says Christine Schwen in Media Matters for America. Even Fox News senior vice president Bill Shine has said the channel is the "voice of opposition" to the Obama White House. So Fox News personalities and cheerleaders can drop the front — the secret is out.
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