Hostility and rabid right-wing advocacy are the hallmarks of Fox’s business model.
February 15, 2012
This past week presented a revealing lesson in contrast as to how different media enterprises deal differently with anchors and other editorial personnel who fail the test of principles that ought to govern all journalists.
CNN was put to the test this week when Roland Martin posted a tweet that appeared to advocate violence against gays. Martin pointed out that it was not meant seriously and wasn’t even directed at gays, but at the sport of soccer. Nevertheless, CNN acted quickly to suspend Martin indefinitely.
By contrast, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta delivered a commentary on Sunday berating women in the military for complaining that they get raped too often. (Trotta did not define what an “acceptable” amount of rape is.) The news that triggered this revolting commentary was a Pentagon report that rape and sexual assault had increased 64 percent, a statistic Trotta cavalierly dismissed. She further asserted that servicewomen should "expect" to be raped because they work closely with men. Fox News has had no comment on this matter despite fierce criticism from women’s groups and veterans offended by the suggestion that male soldiers are innately rapists and female soldiers should quietly accept assault as a part of military life.
These two examples illustrate the difference between a news enterprise that attempts to act responsibly and one that disregards such restraints in order to forge ahead with a sensationalistic approach and to pander to the scandal-lust of its viewers. CNN has faced this dilemma in the past by meting out punishments for ethical infractions to Lou Dobbs, Rick Sanchez, Octavia Nasr, Susan Roesgen, Peter Arnett, and Eason Jordan. MSNBC has done the same to Keith Olbermann, David Shuster, Mark Halperin, Markos Moulitsas, and Pat Buchanan. Some of these chastisements were warranted (Dobbs, Buchanan), and some were executions of petulant grudges (Markos), and CNN still inexplicably employs miscreants like Erick Erickson and Dana Loesch. So CNN and MSNBC should not necessarily be held up as models of morality. But at least there is some evidence of an internal criteria for ethical behavior of some sort.
Fox News, however, has yet to make any news staffer pay a price for professional indiscretions, despite the fact that things got so bad at Fox it had to distribute a memo asserting a “Zero Tolerance Policy” and warning of “letters to personnel files, suspensions, and other possible actions up to and including termination.” The memo was issued after numerous, embarrassing on-air blunders by Fox reporters and producers. But rather than meting out discipline, Fox News bent over backward to reward reporters who behaved badly. In fact, while other networks were firing such violators, Fox seems to be on a mission to recruit them. For instance: Juan Williams, Don Imus, Doug McKelway, and Lou Dobbs were all put on the Fox payroll after having been terminated for cause at other networks. Even Glenn Beck, while no longer hosting his own program, appears regularly with Bill O’Reilly and others.
Here is a selection of some of the more obviously repulsive people Fox News should have fired for their absence of morality and professionalism, but to date have not even had their wrists slapped. And make no mistake, the job security these weasels enjoy is not due to carelessness on the part of Fox News. Controversy, hostility and rabid right-wing advocacy are the hallmarks of Fox’s business model. It’s how it cultivates and rewards the loyalty of its audience. What other explanation could justify the following?
Alternet for the rest.
They can all all go except for Shepard Smith and some of his lawyer guests are gruesome and should not be on TV.