Monday, March 10, 2014

I am either too cynical or too forgiving

A few months ago I wrote this about the new host of CNN’s Reliable Sources.

In an odd way, Howard Kurtz's move from CNN to FNC has made each network more liberal.
Each week confirms my suspicions.

I’m left with this question: Is Brian Stelter clever and dishonest or is he stupid and completely lacking in self-awareness?

This week’s episode offered a perfect case study.

Here’s the set-up:

STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.

We who love TV news know, if you want a conservative point of view, you turn on FOX. If you're looking for liberals, you turn on MSNBC. It's all pretty simple, right?

Well, except you can find Democrats on FOX and you can find Republicans on MSNBC. Just in different ways.

It was really an interesting piece in the "Columbia Journalism Review" about this week. I want to read a quote from it.

"While the liberal hosts of MSNBC often skewer conservatives, those debates happen with villains who are not in the studio, lambasted by proxy in news clips. At FOX, they happen in person, with a real live liberal who is often on staff."
Now here is the sleight of hand:

It's got us thinking about what it is like at FOX and MSNBC, when guests or commentators are in enemy territory.

So, I wanted to bring on two people who know a lot about that.

Sally Kohn is a left leaning community organizer, that job title used against you at FOX, right? And now here at CNN, she appeared on FOX until a few months ago.

And Ben Ferguson is a conservative talk radio show in Dallas with us today, who appears on CNN regularly as well. But in the past before signed at CNN, he repeatedly refused to appear on MSNBC.

Thank you both for being here.



STELTER: Ben, first to you. Back in the days when you weren't signed to any network, why not appear on MSNBC? They're entitled to their leftist points of view, right?
Stelter takes a story which shows that Fox is more open to differing opinions and is more fair to those who hold those opinions, and does a segment equating Fox to MSNBC.

This isn’t the first time he has played that game:

Bad Bad week for NBC News
That framing does two things. First, it takes credit away from the hated Fox News and implies that all “ideological programming” plays the game the same way. I. e., he ignores the conclusions of the article that he just quoted.

Second, it helps his employer, CNN, to position itself and centrist and objective between the liberal MSNBC and the right-wing Fox.

Like I said, he is either clever and dishonest or stupid and completely lacking in self-awareness.

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