While observing World Press Freedom Day on May 3, MSNBC aired an advertisement encouraging viewers to watch not just that liberal channel, but also follow more than 25 other left-leaning sources and newspapers while not mentioning Fox, the most-watched news network on cable TV.
The spot, which was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), began by stating: “Don’t just watch MSNBC” and concludes with the motto: “Read more. Watch more. Understand more.”
Apparently, that's only appropriate if those outlets subscribe to a liberal philosophy.
Along the way, the spot -- with increasing speed -- pointed to rival CNN and parent network NBC News.
On the print side, it included newspapers as The Guardian, Financial Times, USA Today, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Enquirer, Florida's Sun Sentinel, The Daily Press (Newport News, VA), the Sun (Naperville, Illinois), and the New York Daily News.
Also mentioned were BBC News, the global Inter Press Service and magazines like New York Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic.
The closest the advertisement to conservative outlets were the Wall Street Journal and National Review.
Not surprisingly, the Fox News Channel is not one of the sources mentioned.
That led Jon Levine of The Wrap to state: “I happened to have MSNBC on when the ad flashed by, and I noticed it. Given the size and influence of Fox News, it's hard for me to believe it was left off by accident.”
According to an article from FoxNews.com's Brian Flood, “UNESCO spokesperson Monia Adjiwanou provided…the following statement" when asked why the news organization wasn’t included:
The spirit of this effort is to encourage people to consume all quality, independent news sources.
In the time we had, we tried to include as many of those partners as possible, but as you will see, there are a few that aren’t on this list.
Flood also noted how The Hill's Joe Concha, “tried to get a detailed explanation and didn’t have much luck -- ironic, given that the point of the ad was to promote journalism in the first place.”
“You can't celebrate Press Freedom Day and simultaneously ignore requests for comment,” Concha told Fox News.
He added: “Oftentimes the opinion side gets lumped in with the news side by those looking to push a narrative that Fox shouldn't be taken seriously.”
Concha also noted that Bret Baier won the 2017 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, and Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith are "widely respected" by Fox News competitors.
To be fully transparent, the article cited our very own Curtis Houck as having told Flood that that he “isn’t surprised that Fox News was passed over for the ad but pointed out that the network wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the liberties the day was supposed to represent.”
“If the U.N. was truly concerned about preaching the important need to be well-rounded in one's news consumption, Fox News would seem like a no-brainer to include in any list,” Houck said.
Ben Evansky, a Fox News field producer, approached U.N. Secretary General Spokesman Farhan Haq about the situation.
“There’s no anti-Fox feeling at the U.N.,” Haq indicated. “We work quite well together; look at you and I talking right now.”
According to a United Nations website, the theme for 2018 was: “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law.” That theme “addresses the role of the media in sustainable development, especially during elections -- as a watchdog fostering transparency, accountability and the rule of law.” It also “aims to explore legislative gaps with regard to freedom of expression and information online, and the risks of regulating online speech.”
The site also noted:
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference.
It is an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Of course, no lives were lost while producing the MSNBC advertisement, even though it is yet another blow to the credibility of liberal cable television “news.”