America’s journalism elite has a nasty habit of associating journalism with liberalism. They only believe in half of a First Amendment. They don’t believe in press freedom for the conservative media...because they think those outlets should be shunned as fake-news factories.
See the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), which claims it “promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens” and “fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.” But when it comes to Fox News, they put those ideals through a shredder.
The Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News has become deeply embarrassing in revealing internal discussions in the weeks after the 2020 election, a tumultuous period for the leading cable-news network. The Trump army was in full cry against anyone who suggested Joe Biden had won. Fox bizarrely called Arizona for Biden before all the liberal networks did. Then they worried about their audience leaving in droves for Newsmax and OAN.
So Dominion’s lawyers have thrilled the liberal media with texts and emails showing powerful Fox people were worrying out loud about how it was “bad for business” to fact-check Trump allies. Trump lawyers were uncorking wild conspiracy theories about voting machines that they could not prove. It’s plausible to argue these flagrant theories – combined with Trump’s self-absorbed refusal to concede he lost – led to rioting at the Capitol.
This is why the SPJ did not advocate for press freedom, but slammed Fox instead: “News organizations have a fundamental obligation to be honest in the reporting and opinion they disseminate. It is unprofessional, unethical and potentially harmful for a journalist or news organization to deliberately mislead their audience, no matter the motivation or format....No responsible journalist can accept or excuse this behavior.”
SPJ finds the allegations against Fox News deeply troubling. News organizations have a fundamental obligation to be honest in the reporting & opinion they disseminate. It is unprofessional, unethical & potentially harmful to deliberately mislead audiences. https://t.co/cSQf1nF3E5— Society of Professional Journalists (@spj_tweets) March 29, 2023
That sounds great as a principle, but is that applied to all media outlets? Try Googling “SPJ statement on CNN” and see if you can find them ever whacking CNN for deliberately misleading their audience on anything. If someone sued CNN or NBC, do we think we would never find juicy texts like Fox’s?
We can guess liberal journalists would defend other liberal journalists on the “deliberately misleading” part of the statement. Did the SPJ ever speak out against CNN and MSNBC journalists standing in front of raging fires at big-city riots and saying it was “not unruly”? Or was that too obviously misleading to matter?
“Professional journalists” only hate Fox, apparently. On March 25, SPJ also tweeted out an article from the liberal Nieman Lab arguing Fox News was Fake News. Their tweet promoted this quote from radical journalism professor Jay Rosen: “It’s not just journalism schools — the whole journalism profession in the U.S. has been involved in this make-believe game of Fox as a normal colleague. And now it’s slowly beginning to question that.”
"“It’s not just journalism schools — the whole journalism profession in the U.S. has been involved in this make-believe game of Fox as a normal colleague. And now it’s slowly beginning to question that.” https://t.co/G4kT1iw9oh— Society of Professional Journalists (@spj_tweets) March 25, 2023
The Nieman Lab article was titled “Why journalism schools won’t quit Fox News.” The author, Mark Jacob of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, questioned why any journalism school would treat Fox News as anything other than a pariah. “Interviews with three prominent journalism school deans and other news educators showed no interest in an outright ban on dealing with Fox News on internships, job opportunities and campus appearances.”
The SPJ and these other Fox haters are too lost in their negative emotions to appreciate that if Fox News loses in court to Dominion, it opens the rest of the media to lawsuits whenever they pass along allegations that turn out to be false. The legal system doesn’t have a double standard on this. Only the “professional journalists” do.