Time magazine’s Karl Vick offered a fairly positive profile of Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace in their June 15 issue, but one line just wasn’t true at all. Vick claimed Fox News was “the network that pioneered spin.” This is ridiculous, since the liberal networks have been spinning furiously from the left for at least 50 years.
Vick mentioned Wallace’s new book Countdown, on the days leading up to America dropping nuclear bombs in Japan:
As a work of history written by a Fox News personality, the book aims for the best-seller list long crowded by the ousted Bill O’Reilly, whose Killing series has sold millions. But Countdown also reflects the rigor and fealty to facts that have distinguished Wallace, and made him a bit of an outlier at the network that pioneered spin.
Vick reversed himself within a few paragraphs, admitting that the Smothers Brothers signified a new liberal orthodoxy in the media at the end of the Sixties:
His own stepchildren were fathered by Dick Smothers, half of the folk-singer comedic team that, via The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the latter 1960s, became a touchstone for a liberal sensibility that eventually enforced a new orthodoxy across the national media.
Wallace underlined how Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and founding president Roger Ailes designed the network as a counterpoint to unanimous liberal bias:
"‘We think there’s a big untapped market out there that feels, Hey, I haven’t been getting the news, the news as they understand it, as straight news, ever. And that these three broadcast networks are all telling a version of the news, and it’s all very similar–as you say, one set of facts. But they’re not speaking to us’ … And that’s the secret to the success of Fox News.”
But Vick then suggested that some people have complained that Fox bears responsibility for coronavirus deaths:
Control of the parent company passed in 2018 from Rupert Murdoch to his son Lachlan, but Fox News remains (as well as the most popular channel on cable) so synched to the White House that it has faced complaints that it may bear responsibility for deaths that resulted from its amplification of Trump’s early dismissal of the virus.
In other words, Vick insisted the pandemic is too serious for anyone to spin it. "But science is nothing if not facts. And public health requires consistent, clear messaging to coax the behavioral changes necessary to contain contagion."
But any story as huge as the pandemic is going to come with spin in it. Ask Andrew Cuomo how it's worked out for him, as New York was the epicenter of death, and he was a national-media hero.