Sunday, April 02, 2023

Critics of Fox News Need To Look in the Mirror

Seizing an opening in their long war against Fox News, mainstream news outlets are blasting out reports that some of the network’s leading stars appear to have knowingly lied about the 2020 election.

In blanket coverage that echoes reporting on the invasion of Normandy, they are hammering Fox with one-sided court documents that suggest they deceived their audience by pretending Trump might have won when they knew he had lost. The charge that this episode proves Fox is not a legitimate news outlet is overkill, but if the emails and texts released so far are not just cherry-picked tidbits, the actions of some of its hosts were indefensible.

At a time when trust in the media is near all-time lows, it is heartening to see news outlets draw a red line by defining dishonesty as one of our profession’s grave sins. We must never lie to you.

But this raises a question for Fox’s accusers: Do you ever look in the mirror? During the past few years, the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, CNN, and the many national and local outlets that take their cues from them have advanced a cavalcade of false narratives.

If they are not lying about their commitment to truth, they must honestly believe that:

  • Donald Trump and his advisors conspired with Vladimir Putin to steal the 2020 election.
  • Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation.
  • The summer protests of 2020 were mostly peaceful.
  • Jan. 6 was a dress rehearsal for civil war.
  • Antifa is just an idea.
  • The southern U.S. border is secure.
  • John Fetterman was healthy enough to serve in the Senate.
  • Only a racist conspiracy theorist could suspect that COVID-19 could have leaked from the Chinese lab that was experimenting with similar viruses.
  • Critical race theory is only taught in a few law school classes.
  • The American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery.
  • Ron DeSantis is seeking to prevent Florida teachers from discussing slavery or saying the word “gay.”
  • Men can menstruate and give birth.
  • Six-year-olds are capable of making irrevocable life decisions.
  • A gang of MAGA Republicans carrying nooses were roaming the frigid streets of Chicago at 2 a.m. when they happened upon Jussie Smollett.
  • A man repeatedly shouted racial slurs during a Duke v. Brigham Young volleyball game and not a single fan in the crowded arena tried to stop him.

Though far from complete, this list suggests the blizzard of misinformation mainstream outlets are burying us in. You wonder: Are they intentionally dishonest or just damn fools?

Journalists occupy a special place in our society – they are members of the vaunted Fourth Estate – because they are supposed to be honest brokers in a world of shading spinners. Their mandate is to combine open-minded curiosity with unforgiving skepticism to challenge claims.

Instead, they have embraced ideology and result-oriented activism that seeks to shape reality rather than report it, which has eroded trust in the industry – and hurt the country in the process.

The Fox News critics who falsely claim that they are as pure as Caesar’s wife are more akin to Captain Louis Renault in “Casablanca” who pretended to be “… shocked! shocked!” to find that gambling was going on at Rick’s Cafe (as he was handed his winnings).

None of this excuses Fox. Instead, this episode is another reminder of how far journalism, on both the left and right, has fallen. Americans don’t trust much of what they see and hear because they shouldn’t.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.