03/09/04 — Fox News: Fair and balanced? That’s a stretch.

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Fox News: Fair and balanced? That’s a stretch.

This newspaper in the past has praised Fox News as a refreshing change of pace from the liberal extremist nightly reports from such talking heads as Dan Rather and Peter Jennings.

But contrary to its slogan, Fox News is not “fair and balanced.”

“Balancing” would be more accurate description. Fox News provides a conservative viewpoint counter to the unabashedly left wing positions promoted by the other networks.

As appreciated as it might be by the conservatives among us, Fox also has a disconcerting, sometimes offensive, problem.

And it obviously is orchestrated — a part of the Fox News format.

On Fox News, everyone talks at the same time. Even on mundane subjects, regulars on the program prattle on simultaneously — raising their voices in obvious efforts to dominate discussions and be heard above each other.

Particularly objectionable is the unbridled rudeness to guests who have agreed to be interviewed. They routinely are interrupted in mid-sentence by people like Bill O’Reilly who seem to be more interested in putting their own spin on the issues than letting invited guests give their views.

Fox is a welcome alternative to the other networks. But “fair and balanced” is a misnomer, further compromised by bad manners.

Viewers are compelled to bounce back and forth between the networks and use their own good judgment in order to filter out the possible truth from what they hear on the “evening news.”

Unfortunately, the same applies to what they read in the various newspapers and wire service reports. But we must be thankful that we have such opportunities.

Published in Editorials on March 9, 2004 10:11 AM