JournoList Part Two -- Gag FOX News, and bias against the Tea Party movement
The very existence of Fox News, meanwhile, sends Journolisters into paroxysms of rage. When Howell Raines charged that the network had a conservative bias, the members of Journolist discussed whether the federal government should shut the channel down.
“I am genuinely scared” of Fox, wrote Guardian columnist Daniel Davies, because it “shows you that a genuinely shameless and unethical media organisation *cannot* be controlled by any form of peer pressure or self-regulation, and nor can it be successfully cold-shouldered or ostracised. In order to have even a semblance of control, you need a tough legal framework.” Davies, a Brit, frequently argued the United States needed stricter libel laws.
“I agree,” said Michael Scherer of Time Magazine. Roger “Ailes understands that his job is to build a tribal identity, not a news organization. You can’t hurt Fox by saying it gets it wrong, if Ailes just uses the criticism to deepen the tribal identity.”
Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air. “I hate to open this can of worms,” he wrote, “but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?”
And so a debate ensued. Time’s Scherer, who had seemed to express support for increased regulation of Fox, suddenly appeared to have qualms: “Do you really want the political parties/white house picking which media operations are news operations and which are a less respectable hybrid of news and political advocacy?”
But Zasloff stuck to his position. “I think that they are doing that anyway; they leak to whom they want to for political purposes,” he wrote. “If this means that some White House reporters don’t get a press pass for the press secretary’s daily briefing and that this means that they actually have to, you know, do some reporting and analysis instead of repeating press releases, then I’ll take that risk.”
Scherer seemed alarmed. “So we would have press briefings in which only media organizations that are deemed by the briefer to be acceptable are invited to attend?”
John Judis, a senior editor at the New Republic, came down on Zasloff’s side, the side of censorship. “Pre-Fox,” he wrote, “I’d say Scherer’s questions made sense as a question of principle. Now it is only tactical.”
Now, is anyone surprised by this discussion, open and candid, amongst journalists? It shouldn't. the alphabet networks and the mainstream news industry have been attacking FOX News since it first took to the cable airwaves. And it has consistently decimated the other cable news networks. At this point in time, MSNBC resembles Air America in its death throes. Their commentators are partisan jokes that no one with a brain takes seriously, and their bias is so evident that it's laughable to think these people still claim to be unbiased news observers, commentators, and reporters.
As for pulling FOX's license, I'm not too sure that would be possible because, as Captain Ed points out in his piece on this topic today FOX may not have an FCC license:
I’m actually unclear on whether Fox News has an FCC license, since it uses satellite transmission rather than actual broadcast through local affiliates. Usually, it’s the affiliates themselves that have to get the licenses, not the network whose content they broadcast, and Fox News doesn’t use traditional TV stations for its content. But that’s a more esoteric point. The point is that Zasloff has no trouble letting government determine whether a news organization should be allowed to publish, apparently based on nothing more than its discomfort with the news itself. Not only does this sound as though Zasloff needs a refresher course on Constitutional law and free speech, it also sounds like an endorsement for fascism, in which governments pick and choose which businesses are allowed to exist based on their level of cooperation with the government.
And speaking of fascism, early on in Mr. Strong's piece he cites Bloomberg's Ryan Donmoyer and his illiteracy when it comes to history when comparing events to the Tea Party movement:
In the summer of 2009, agitated citizens from across the country flocked to town hall meetings to berate lawmakers who had declared support for President Obama’s health care bill. For most people, the protests seemed like an exercise in participatory democracy, rowdy as some of them became.
On Journolist, the question was whether the protestors were garden-variety fascists or actual Nazis.
“You know, at the risk of violating Godwin’s law, is anyone starting to see parallels here between the teabaggers and their tactics and the rise of the Brownshirts?” asked Bloomberg’s Ryan Donmoyer. “Esp. Now that it’s getting violent? Reminds me of the Beer Hall fracases of the 1920s.”
Quick history lesson for Mr. Donmoyer: The Brownshirts were the SA, the precursor to the SS, and were so named because of their uniform. Once the SS was established, it quickly pushed the SA (Brownshirts) out of power. And the point behind their creation was to sweep national socialists into power under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The Tea Party movement is comprised of everyday, average America citizens that aren't pleased with the direction the federal government is going in, they're not happy with the fact their elected representatives aren't listening to them, and they're appalled at the intense and swift growth of government intervention in their lives.
The Tea Party movement wasn't established to commit a coup by election, as the Nazis had been. The movement was established to send a message to Washington, DC to knock off their crap, and listen to the people, and the movement promised repercussions in the midterms if their voice wasn't heeded. And if you've been watching the polls, they're telling a story of a political bloodbath in November. Do I believe the prognostications that are claiming this will be a sweeping victory for the GOP? I take such predictions with a grain of salt.
Is there a chance that the GOP could take the House back? Yes, a very good one, and even Democrats are admitting it. The House is divided with 257 seats controlled by Democrats and 178 seats controlled by the Republicans. The GOP only needs 39 seats to take the majority. So it is a distinct possibility the GOP could retake the House. The Senate is separated by nine votes, and it could also be taken from the Democrats. When the party in charge is the focus of the voter's ire, the voters will take their frustration out on that party. The Tea Party is hardly a putsch, and it's offensive that a journalist would even make such an equivocation.