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Reply #30: Media Matters: Fox News' ever-expanding ethics nightmare [View All]

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tiptoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-26-10 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #26
30. Media Matters: Fox News' ever-expanding ethics nightmare
Edited on Mon Apr-26-10 10:30 PM by tiptoe

Media Matters: Fox News' ever-expanding ethics nightmare

April 23, 2010 6:33 pm ET
Another week, another handful of ethical scandals that should permanently sink Fox's claim of being a legitimate news organization.

To recap: Last week, they gave us twin scandals starring Fox News stalwarts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. "Furious" Fox News execs pulled Sean Hannity from his planned show filming/fundraiser for the Cincinnati Tea Party after numerous news veterans and watchdogs called foul.

O'Reilly spent last week reminding us of his willful ignorance by repeatedly falsely asserting that "no one" on Fox promoted the falsehood that "jail time" was a penalty for not buying insurance under the health care reform bill. He was outrageously wrong.

Though Howard Kurtz reported that Fox plans to "keep a tighter rein on Hannity and others" in the wake of the tea party scandal, we remain skeptical. Fox has a long history of promising change in the wake of damaging ethics scandals, then failing to deliver on those promises.

Indeed, despite cancelling Hannity's tea party event, Fox News has yet to cancel a planned appearance by Fox Business host John Stossel at a paid event for a nonprofit organization with very close ties to the energy industry. If history is any indicator, Fox will hold its breath and hope that everyone forgets about the Stossel fundraiser.

Of course, this being Fox News, Stossel's planned fundraiser wasn't even the cable channel's biggest ethics scandal this week.

While a great deal of attention has deservedly been given to Rupert Murdoch's statement that Fox News "shouldn't be promoting the tea party," the rest of his comment -- "or any other party" -- is equally notable. So, how's Fox's supposedly frowned-upon promotion of that "other party" -- the GOP -- going? In a word: lucratively.

As we detailed last week, Fox News hosts and contributors have raised millions of dollars for Republican candidates and causes using PACs, 527s, and 501(c)(4) organizations.

In a follow-up report this week, we detailed the massive scope of Fox's fundraising for the GOP:

In recent years, at least twenty Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or causes, or against Democratic candidates or causes, in more than 300 instances and in at least 49 states. Republican parties and officials have routinely touted these personalities' affiliations with Fox News to sell and promote their events.

Were Fox an actual news organization that cared about journalistic standards, all of these ethics scandals would be excellent fodder for its weekly media criticism show, Fox News Watch. Unfortunately, as we noted last weekend, they ignored the O'Reilly and Hannity scandals in favor of such pressing stories as media coverage of the new Oprah bio. Forthcoming coverage of the Fox Newsers' fundraising seems unlikely.

Media Matters reporter and senior editor Joe Strupp pointed out that while Fox News Watch was once a source of legitimate media criticism, the show has increasingly transformed into yet another megaphone for GOP talking points.

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