On Friday, the rather liberal AlterNet published responses to a series of 20 questions asked of John Moody, a senior vice president at Fox News, concerning issues of media bias and the “fair and balanced” approach of his network. His answers were quite interesting. When asked if the media are biased, and, if so, are they too liberal or conservative, Moody answered:
“‘Because of the qualities it takes to succeed in the media, we have bright and responsible people in this business -- and bright people have opinions about everything. These opinions stay with them when they put on a reporter's hat,’ he continued. ‘The challenge is not to let those opinions cross the line into their reporting. So there are biases -- not at the corporate level -- but biases that can creep in to become part of the mindset of a news organization.’"
Moody then addressed the belief in some circles that Fox News employees must have a certain political ideology to get hired:
“‘I've hired more than 100 people here in ten years, and I have never asked about anyone's personal political beliefs,’ Moody replied. ‘Because that wouldn't be fair and wouldn't be effective. That's no way to start a relationship, with defensiveness and suspicion. This is a place where anybody can question or voice an opinion without fear of retaliation.’"
Moody then addressed charges by a previous Fox News producer that employees each day receive a memo instructing them as to what stories should be covered, and how they should be covered: “‘It's not even called a 'memo,' it's an editorial note. It is not a political directive -- that's a specious charge -- but my attempt to communicate about what are important stories.’"
Finally, Moody was asked his opinion concerning the belief that the media weren’t vigilant enough in questioning the rationale for the Iraq war before the invasion occurred. Moody didn’t buy it:
“‘This is a form of 20/20 flagellation that can never be satisfied. It's also a form of questioning and criticism that most people would find offensive,’ he said. ‘We did our job, and the contention that the press or media should have somehow stopped the government is a misunderstanding of the nature of the two institutions.’”
He accurately concluded: “‘There's a misbegotten, self-comforting notion that we live in a country where nothing should ever go wrong -- and if it does, someone must be at fault,’ he said. ‘I think that's an unrealistic view of the world, and my viewers don't think that either.’"
Yes it is, John, but most of the media are clearly not as realistic as you.