The War on Fox News Continues

There’s nothing like devout liberal NY Times columnists who launch into tired diatribes about right-leaning media coverage. -I mean, after all, Fox News is a threat to our democracy.

(Paul Krugman, NY Times) -The Murdoch Factor- In October 2003, the non-partisan Program on International Policy Attitudes published a study titled 'Misperceptions, the media and the Iraq war'.

It found that 60 per cent of Americans believed at least one of the following: clear evidence had been found of links between Iraq and Al-Qaida; WMD had been found in Iraq; world public opinion favoured the United States going to war with Iraq.

The prevalence of these misperceptions, however, depended crucially on where people got their news. Only 23 per cent of those who got their information mainly from PBS or NPR believed any of these untrue things, but the number was 80 per cent among those relying primarily on Fox News.

In particular, two-thirds of Fox devotees believed that the United States had “found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the Al-Qaida terrorist organisation”.

The problem with Murdoch isn't that he's a right-wing ideologue. If that were all he was, he'd be much less dangerous. What he is, rather, is an opportunist who exploits a rule-free media environment - one created, in part, by conservative political power - by slanting news coverage to favour whoever he thinks will serve his business interests.

In the US, that strategy has mainly meant blatant bias in favour of the Bush administration and the Republican Party -

Instead, they usually convey misinformation through innuendo. During the early months of the Iraq occupation, for example, Fox gave breathless coverage to each report of possible WMDs, with little or no coverage of the subsequent discovery that it was a false alarm.

Last year, Fox relentlessly pushed claims that the “liberal media” were failing to report the “good news” from Iraq.

Once that line became untenable - well, the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that in the first quarter of 2007 daytime programmes on Fox News devoted only 6 per cent of their time to the Iraq war, compared with 18 per cent at MSNBC and 20 per cent at CNN.

In any case, do we want to see one of America's two serious national newspapers in the hands of a man who has done so much to mislead so many...?

Maybe Congress should hold hearings. If Murdoch does acquire The Journal, it will be a dark day for America's news media - and American democracy.

Just a quick side note: the Media overwhelming
support Democrats and the BBC has admitted it carries a leftist bias.