According to the RealClearPolitics website, Newt Gingrich recently told a Tea Party meeting in Delaware, “I think Fox has been for Romney all the way through. In our experience, Callista and I both believe CNN is less biased than Fox this year. We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we’re more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That’s just a fact.”
Fox News swung back hard and released a statement attacking Gingrich saying, “This is nothing other than Newt auditioning for a windfall of a gig at CNN — that’s the kind of man he is. Not to mention that he’s still bitter about the fact that we terminated his contributor contract.”
Obviously, there is no affection between Fox News and Gingrich.
But Gingrich isn’t alone in his complaints. In March, Rick Santorum complained on air about Fox News bias. Santorum said of Romney: “He’s had Fox News shilling for him every day.”
Fox News holds a special place in Republican primaries. The network was built as an alternative to overtly biased news dispensed at competing mainstream networks. Roger Ailes, the programing genius that constructed Fox News, understood the power of counter-programming against an overtly biased and monolithically liberal competition.
Fox News programing builds a large and loyal audience with Republican sympathies. Thus, a charge of bias in the primary is a significant allegation.
We speak to many conservative activists around the country with fears similar to Gingrich. Some activists make the even more serious charge that Fox News is morphing into just another liberal- leaning voice similar to their mainstream cousins, CNN and MSNBC.
These activists point to the sacking of Glenn Beck and Judge Andrew Napolitano as examples of conservative and libertarian voices being silenced.
Some pro-Israeli organizations also believe that Fox News Middle East coverage has changed also.
Fox News is an important vehicle for sharing right-leaning ideas with a large audience. In our opinion, they have never been pro-conservative, but they allowed conservative ideas to get equal billing. Conservative ideas don’t need promotion by any news outlet, but they do need expression in an outlet.
If Fox News does change, it will lead to the growth of more alternative media. The Internet is the future of news, and if Fox alienates its current right-of-center constituency, then they will move to places with a fairer and more balanced approach.
Fox News is number one because of fair and balanced coverage, but if they become one sided (or don’t allow competing views), they will soon shrink and lose their preeminent position.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)
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