Slate’s Weisberg: Fox News 'Un-American'; Blames FNC for Left-Wing 'Populist and Ideological Takes' on MSNBC, CNN

October 17th, 2009 3:01 PM

Can you say "bitter"? That's the vibe Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg gave off in an Oct. 17 column, which will appear in the Oct. 26 issue of Newsweek, about Fox News headlined "The O'Garbage Factor."

Weisberg, who once diagnosed former President George W. Bush with a learning disability, contends the Fox News Channel goes beyond just making liberal media elitist like himself cringe - it's actually un-American. Weisberg alluded to the recent rift between the White House and the Fox News Channel.

He contended, with an almost-overdone effort to be self-righteous and snarky, that the analysis of the feud, done on a recent broadcast of "The O'Reilly Factor," was all just too slanted for his tastes. He went along with the left-wing noise machine's notion that Bill O'Reilly, who isn't exactly a Reagan Republican, is some sort of tool of the right-wing.

"If you were watching Fox News Channel, you saw the familiar roster of platinum pundettes and anchor androids reciting the same soundbites: this was Obama's version of Nixon's enemies list, the rest of the news media is in Obama's corner, Obama should get back to governing, and so on," Weisberg wrote. "On The O'Reilly Factor, Alan Colmes, the network's weak, battered house liberal, mumbled semi-agreement while ‘Doctor' Monica Crowley and Bill O'Reilly lit up the scoreboard with these talking points. Any news organization that took its responsibilities seriously would take pains to cover presidential criticism fairly. It would regard doing so as itself a test of integrity."

What's even more laughable about Weisberg's insight is his assertion that Rupert Murdoch's creation of Fox News is responsible for all the left-drivel put out on CNN and MSNBC on a regular basis.

"What matters is the way that Fox's model has invaded the bloodstream of the American media," Weisberg wrote. "By showing that ideologically distorted news can drive ratings, Ailes has provoked his rivals at CNN and MSNBC to develop a variety of populist and ideological takes on the news."

And here's where the un-American part comes into play according to Weisberg. Weisberg maintains that the American press isn't distinctive because of its freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but rather because it doesn't take sides like the Australian and British press does.

"The Australian-British-continental model of politicized media that Murdoch has applied at Fox is un-American, so much so that he has little choice but go on denying what he's doing as he does it," Weisberg wrote.

Obviously Weisberg's version of American history ignores the early part of last century when it wasn't uncommon for newspapers to blatantly cater to one political persuasion, especially in larger cities with multiple papers.

To solve this problem and put Fox News in its place, which by the way is just creaming everybody in the ratings on a regular basis, Weisberg calls for what he deems to be legitimate journalists not to appear on the channel. He called on Fox News regular Mara Liasson of National Public Radio in particular to stop appearing on the network.

"Whether the White House engages with Fox is a tactical political question," Weisberg wrote. "Whether we journalists continue to do so is an ethical one. By appearing on Fox, reporters validate its propaganda values and help to undermine the role of legitimate news organizations. Respectable journalists-I'm talking to you, Mara Liasson-should stop appearing on its programs. A boycott would make Ailes too happy, so let's try just ignoring Fox, shall we? And no, I don't want to come on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss it."