imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Fox News:Miles from 'fair and balanced'

by Tim Rutten Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 11:01 AM

LA Times article on bias at Fox News, and who's responsible.

Los Angeles Times

November 1, 2002


Miles from 'fair and balanced'

By Tim Rutten

A veteran producer this week alleged that Fox News

executives issue a daily memorandum to staff on news

coverage to bend the network's reporting into

conformity with management's political views,

refocusing attention on the partisan bias of America's

most watched cable news operation.

The charges by Charlie Reina, 55, whose six-year tenure

at Fox ended April 9, first surfaced Wednesday in a

letter he posted on an influential Web site

( by Jim Romenesko for

the Poynter Institute, an organization that promotes

journalistic education and ethics.

Concerns about Fox, which styles its news coverage as

"fair and balanced," begin with its owner, Australian-

born Rupert Murdoch. The corporate boards and family

investors who control most of the American news media

generally feel obliged to maintain a wall of separation

between news and editorial opinion. Murdoch, by

contrast, operates in the style of the traditional

Fleet Street proprietors, who dismiss such distinctions

as inconvenient fictions.

And as a deeply conservative man, he is willing to put

his money where his politics are: Murdoch, a

naturalized U.S. citizen, subsidizes publication of the

Weekly Standard, one of the country's most influential

right-wing journals. According to a forthcoming book by

the New Yorker's Ken Auletta, he loses as much as

million a year maintaining the New York Post as an

outlet of conservatism in Manhattan.

As Fox's founding president, he hired Roger Ailes, a

shrewd Republican political operative who earned a

well-founded reputation for bare-knuckle campaigning

while working for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. As

one of the architects of the elder George Bush's media

strategy in his campaign for president against

Democratic rival Michael Dukakis, Ailes helped devise

the notorious Willie Horton commercials. As he told

Time magazine in August 1988, "The only question is

whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his

hand or without it."

The late Lee Atwater, another Bush aide, described

Ailes as having "two speeds - attack and destroy."

Before joining Fox, where he serves now as chairman,

Ailes produced Rush Limbaugh's short-lived television

talk show.

According to Reina's letter, "Daily life at [Fox] is

all about management politics".Editorially, the FNC

newsroom is under the constant control and vigilance of

management. The pressure ranges from subtle to direct.

First, it's a news network run by one of the most high-

profile political operatives of recent times. Everyone

there understands that [Fox] is, to a large extent,

'Roger's Revenge' against what he considers a liberal,

pro-Democrat media establishment that has shunned him

for decades. For the staffers, many of whom are too

young to have come up through the ranks of objective

journalism, and all of whom are nonunion, with no

protections regarding what they can be made to do,

there is undue motivation to please the big boss."

Fox News spokesman Rob Zimmerman told The Times that

"these accusations are the rantings of a bitter,

disgruntled former employee. It's unfortunate that

Charlie's career ended the way it did, but we wish him

well." Asked whether Reina's quotations from the memos

were inaccurate or taken out of context, Zimmerman

said, "All we are saying is that these are false

accusations." The Times' request to speak with Ailes

was denied: "Roger is not addressing this and is not

available," Zimmerman said.

Reina, who told The Times he left Fox in a dispute over

salary and workload - not politics - hardly comes

across as a knee-jerk liberal. He is at pains, for

example, to say that he believes his former employer's

cable rivals - CNN and MSNBC - also air news reports

riven with bias on both ends of the political spectrum.

At Fox, he not only produced the network's weekly media

criticism show, "News- Watch," but also a series of

specials on Newt Gingrich and a talk show with

conservative religious commentator Cal Thomas.

Still, Reina, whose 30-year career includes stints at

the Associated Press, ABC News and CBS, said Fox's

ideological problems begin with Ailes.

"Roger is such a high-profile and partisan political

operative that everyone in the newsroom knows what his

political feelings are and acts accordingly. I'd never

worked in a newsroom like that," he said in an

interview. "Never. At ABC, for example, I never knew

what management or my bosses' political views were,

much less felt pressure from them to make things come

out a certain way. I'm talking about news bias, and I

never experienced it there. At CBS or the AP, if a word

got in that suggested bias - liberal or conservative -

it was taken out.

"At Fox it was all about viewpoint. I'm not talking

about the nighttime personalities. I'm talking about

the news report. Fox executives will say their network

only appears conservative because it is fair, when

everyone else is liberal and biased. That's bull. Fox

doesn't 'seem' conservative and Republican. It is

conservative and Republican."

In his letter, Reina wrote that "the roots of [Fox's]

day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come

in the form of an executive memo" written by John

Moody, the network's vice president for news, and

"distributed electronically each morning, addressing

what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how

they should be covered. To the newsroom personnel

responsible for the channel's daytime programming, The

Memo is the bible. If, on any given day, you notice

that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a

particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind

it. The Memo was born with the Bush administration,

early in 2001, and, intentionally or not, has ensured

that the administration's point of view consistently

comes across on [Fox]".

"For instance, from the March 20th memo: 'There is

something utterly incomprehensible about [U.N.

Secretary-General] Kofi Annan's remarks in which he

allows that his thoughts are 'with the Iraqi people.'

One could ask where those thoughts were during the 23

years Saddam Hussein was brutalizing those same Iraqis.

Food for thought.' Can there be any doubt that the memo

was offering not only 'food for thought,' but a

direction for the FNC writers and anchors to go?

Especially after describing the U.N. Secretary

General's remarks as 'utterly incomprehensible'?".

"One day this past spring, just after the U.S. invaded

Iraq, The Memo warned us that anti-war protesters would

be 'whining' about U.S. bombs killing Iraqi civilians

and suggested they could tell that to the families of

American soldiers dying there. Editing copy that

morning, I was not surprised when an eager young

producer killed a correspondent's report on the day's

fighting - simply because it included a brief shot of

children in an Iraqi hospital".

"These are not isolated incidents at Fox News Channel,

where virtually no one of authority in the newsroom

makes a move unmeasured against management's politics,

actual or perceived. At the Fair and Balanced network,

everyone knows management's point of view, and, in case

they're not sure how to get it on air, The Memo is

there to remind them."

Av Westin, a longtime ABC news executive who is now

executive director of the National Television Academy,

examined Reina's letter and said: "Nothing about this

surprises me. The uniform smirks and body language that

are apparent in Fox's reports throughout the day

reflect an operation that is quite tightly controlled.

The fact that young and inexperienced producers

acquiesce to that control by pulling stories is further

evidence that nonjournalistic forces are at work in

that newsroom.

"Roger runs the place with an iron hand and he was put

in place there by Murdoch, who selected him for his

politics. In that sense, what's happened at Fox is a

carry-over from all Murdoch's print publications, where

the publisher's politics and editorial preference is

reflected in the news hole to an extent that isn't true

anywhere else in American journalism."

Reina is out of television news these days, supporting

himself in New York with a small woodworking business.

Looking back on his time with Fox, his greatest concern

is for its young staff. "Many of them wanted to be on

television but not necessarily in news. They haven't

had the benefit of traditional journalistic training,

so they're easily molded.

"Time after time I watched what management's politics

did to the young anchors. As they near the time to get

their own show, the hair gets blonder and the bias gets


Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times,1,7939167.story

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 17 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Fox News ex-leftist activist Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 12:23 PM
axiomatic Grimm Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 1:01 PM
Very funny... ex-leftist activist Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 1:56 PM
ex-leftist activist Grimm Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 2:52 PM
Grimmy nonanarchist Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 3:26 PM
Hey daveman Grimm Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:36 PM
WVP=an idiot's opinion oregon trail Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:39 PM
Aaargh! nonanarchist Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:41 PM
yup, I noticed Grimm Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:43 PM
grimster gladflystone Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:46 PM
well then, fucking bring it on Smarmster Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:48 PM
Grimm's Dictionary nonanarchist Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:49 PM
grimster portlandarea Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:51 PM
Hey smarmster... the Riddler Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 4:56 PM
Time in on my side. Right. Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 5:02 PM
The Doors Jim Morrison Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003 at 5:05 PM
Grimm ex-leftist Wednesday, Nov. 05, 2003 at 8:01 AM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy