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Posts Tagged ‘TV’

To be ‘Fair and Balanced’

In journalism on June 15, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Now comes word that Fox News plans to drop its storied “Fair and Balanced” motto. The television network rode the tagline through the Clinton/Bush/Obama years to the top of the ratings. The intimation was that others, well, weren’t. That Fox was staking out true north while other national news organizations were lost in the woods of partisanship.

Well, obviously, it was never that simple. I think most folks would agree that Fox News has long been a right-of-center news organization. So what did it mean to be “Fair and Balanced?”

In his story in New York magazine, Gabriel Sherman suggests that former Fox Chairman Roger Ailes used the slogan for unfair and unbalanced purposes:

Ailes invented the slogan when he launched the network in 1996, and over the years it became a quasi-religious doctrine among Fox’s anchors and viewers. The effectiveness of Fox News as a vehicle for conservative ideology depended on it. “If you come out and you try to do right-wing news, you’re gonna die. You can’t get away with it,” Ailes once told a reporter.

Inside Fox, Ailes held “Fair & Balanced” seminars with staff members. “He would call a group of senior producers and make you watch the channel and he’d point out stuff, like a banner that’s slightly liberal,” a senior producer told me. “He would say, ‘The news is like a ship. If you take hands off the wheel, it pulls hard to the left.’” Ailes also used “Fair & Balanced” when making hiring decisions, such as saying a job candidate “wasn’t ‘fair & balanced,’” because the person went to a college he didn’t like…

Is that fair and balanced? I don’t know. Ailes is no longer here to defend himself. For all I know, he thought his televised child lived up to the sloganeering. … Read the rest of this entry »

Murdered on the job

In Crime on August 27, 2015 at 5:05 pm

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Poynter told it like this: “WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward became the 31st and 32nd journalist murdered this year while doing their jobs.” The New York Times noted that the this week’s top story, “marked a horrific turn in the national intersection of video, violence and social media.”

Both of those statements require some reflection.

We usually think of dangerous assignments as those that take reporters to war zones or put them in the path of drug kingpins or dictators. We don’t usually consider an early-morning stand-up with a chamber representative to be particularly hazardous duty. But, in the United States of America, too many people have guns. Some of them are crazy. Others are criminal. Consequently, we all take our lives in our hands every time we leave home, whether we’re going to the movie theater, the school classroom or out to a news assignment.

I think this particular act of violence is particularly notable because of the killer’s use of the media – both social and traditional. He apparently waited until his victims were on the air to assure the killing would be broadcast live. He took GoPro video of the killing and posted it on Facebook. Then he Tweeted followers so they knew where to look.

And that’s not all. News agencies quickly scoured the Web to find out more about the killer and those slain. They uncovered LinkedIn profiles. They plastered tweets from the TV station in the middle of their stories. They ran stills from the videos. … Read the rest of this entry »