Fair and Balanced?

This might fall squarely into the arena of opinion but I sure would like to find some good evidence. Is FOX News brainwashing people by droning that they are “fair and balanced”?

My opinion is that they are pretty near the opposite of fair and balanced. I’m pretty solid in the analytical department so I don’t think I’m too far off.

I’m surrounded by people that will watch no news except FOX news. If I try to discuss a point I find that these folks are typically quick to anger and instead of trying to have a rational discussion I often hear those words droned back at me “they’re fair and balanced”.

It kind of reminds me of the very end of the Donald Sutherland remake of the Invation of the Body Snatchers

I’m not looking to argue. Just want some input from some solid minds.

I’m pretty conservative. Fox News is no more fair and balanced than I am likely to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Let’s see how long this thread stays in General Questions.

Fox News has a noticeable right-wing bias.

I doubt you’ll find much disagreement with that on this board.

Because most of the vocal participants on this board tend left, and are quick to agree with right-wing bias.

NPR has a noticeable left-wing bias (although not as much to the left as Fox is to the right).

I doubt you’ll find much agreement with that on this board.

Because most of the vocal participants on this board tend left, and are quick to dismiss, or honestly not notice, left-wing bias.

Your question is of the type that invites opinions. So it looks as if it belongs in IMHO or GD.

Just for the record (if there is a record being kept), there’s nothing wrong with FOX having right-leaning bias. If someone is truly openminded they should be open to listening to stories presented from a variety of views and then make their own oppinion.

Also remember that news is basically for entertainment. No one is making important decisions based on what FOX or CNN or whoever says. People have their beliefs and they see out likeminded people or media sources to validate them.

Bricker is being both accurate and excessively modest. He started what is (in my opinion) one of the most illuminatory threads of recent years on the subject.

You might want to read it for an idea on how difficult it is to establish a standard of “bias” that applies evenly across the spectrum.


I don’t think anyone doubts that FOX news is biased right. I think most people would be willing to acknowledge that NPR has a leftward slant. What seems to annoy the OP is the “:Fair and Balanced” label FOX stuck on itself, and the fact that those in his office seem to take that as a given. To tell the truth, I can’t think of any other news provider (as opposed to analysts) that make such a public claim to lack of bias.

I’ll just repeat here what I’ve said in at least one other thread about this.

When you say Fox News, are you talking about the Fox News channel as a whole or are you referring to the Fox Evening News with Shepard Smith (or whatever the actual name of it is)? It’s an important distinction.

For the past couple of months I’ve recorded both the CBS Evening News and Fox Evening News specifically so I could look for evidence of bias. So far I haven’t found any. Each newscast strikes me as quite professional and gives the news in a perfectly objective manner, however the coverage of Katrina and its aftermath did bring out some WTF-is-going-on type of reactions from both network anchors.

Some have argued with me that I’m just not picking up on some of the subtleties that give CBS or Fox their slant, so I’ve looked harder. Ultimately I’ve had to conclude, based on my own observation, that as far as the true evening news goes there is no real bias coming out of either CBS or Fox. Indeed a lot of the claims otherwise have a certain tin-foil-hat feel to them.

Now this is completely different from the talking heads on Fox, CBS or anywhere else. That is an entirely different discussion.

‘Fair and balanced’ is a trademark, covering “entertainment services in the nature of production and distribution of television news programs.” As a trademark, it affirms reality at exactly the same level as the trademarked ‘God Is A Republican’ found on “shirts and hats.”

OK Bricker, I give. I had remarked in those threads that I did not believe that NPR was biased. I still do not believe that their primary news programs are noticeably biased, but I have since heard several strongly left leaning (bordering on conspiracy theory) programs that pull the final average left as I am aware of no such conservative programs. In their defense, though, I do not think they were national, but rather locally produced.

Thank you very much for the update. I appreciate both the news and the concession.

The thing is “fair and balanced” is a pretty vague term. If Fox was ever forced to defend it, they could argue that it applies because they have a conservative bias which other mainstream media doesn’t, so that provides a balance.

I don’t think you realize that all news is biased by nature, because every story that’s chosen and every picture that’s used is based on a value judgement of what’s important. CBS and Fox News both have a certain view of the world that comes out in their coverage, but the reason CBS is better (though far from perfect) is because unlike their counterpart they at least attempt to be fair.

Following up on Bismillah’s assertion that all news is biased, if you refer to a particular news show as being “right-leaning,” you must follow that with the answer to “right of what?” If you compare Fox News to, say, Dan Rather (the one who said “we won!” when Gore was announced incorrectly as the Presidential winner), then it is definitely right-leaning. No question. But CNN is right-leaning compared to Dan Rather, too.

I tend to flip back and forth between NBC, CNN, and Fox newscasts, and although I find their angles to be different, liberal-conservative bias is rarely blatant on any of the three. What is blatant is their urban bias. Portrayal of the “flyover” states often represents an understandable ignorance of the issues that don’t visibly affect a New Yorker’s life on a day-to-day basis. Since the big cities tend to be far more liberal than the small towns in the center of the country, this becomes an unconscious liberal bias that tends to show up less on Fox than it does on the others.

Most of the people I’ve spoken to that criticize Fox for their conservative bias are looking at their commentary shows like Bill O’Reilly–which definitely lean strongly to the right–rather than their “hard” news, which tends to be more balanced. I tend to be a centrist, and I have no problem with Fox news.

So your claim is that Fox Evening News with Shepard Smith doesn’t even *attempt *to be fair. Please show me some evidence that this is true.

As I mentioned I record both CBS and Fox news every night, and I will be happy to review any examples of conservative news bias on the part of Fox or liberal news bias on the part of CBS.

I want to come out and defend Fox news!

They’re popular media. They’re not politically inclined or biased. Their only goal is to appeal to the widest possible audience, they accomplish this by being biased towards stupid and entertaining. They appeal to the commonfolk by satisfying 5 second attention spans and reporting only things that are even remotely interesting to watch for people who coulnd’t care less about real news (as in political, economic, military, i.e. things that might be relevant to peoples lives and are actually new).

I can’t turn on any TV channel without hearing about Nataly Holloway (or whatever the hell her name is), Peterson trial, some obscure celebrity doing something shocking, War on Terrorism™, War on Drugs ™ or something else equally meaningless and inane. It’s not politically biased news because it’s not news and it’s not really politically biased.

People don’t want to hear about political leaders and civil wars, economic decisions or ups and downs, or scientific and technological advances (unless it’s a cool gadget or a cure for something). Fox news delivers exactly what most people want (as well as pretty much every other TV news network), cheap entertainment that elicits heart-throbbing emotion and fear but very little thought.

I think this is one of the things many people, or at least I, concluded from those threads: FOX may be biased right, but all news it biased stupid.

Do you have a site for that?

Thank you! I wish more people thought like this.

Sadly, that’s too true.

One of my political science profs pointed out that while individual news outlets may be biased one way or the other, overall they tend to balance out since they all make their money by selling the most news, which you don’t do by only appealing to one fringe or the other. So they end up all hovering on various sides of the middle, and thus, by getting your news from various different sources, you can put together a more balanced picture.