Fox News practices irresponsible journalismBy Chandler Gory | 11/10/2017 1:06am
In the wake of some particularly gross journalistic negligence, whoever is in charge of Fox News’ branding should go ahead and remove the word “news” from the title.
The hyper-conservative news outlet is known for its opinion-laden newscasts. The morning starts a little shaky with the heavily pro-Trump “Fox and Friends,” but it picks up a little in the middle of the day with “Shepard Smith Reporting.” Shep Smith is surprisingly, well, normal. He doesn’t typically buy into conspiracy theories and he’s shown that he can report on events relatively fairly. But as the daytime lineup ends and the evening shows begin, the news starts to get ugly.
Fox’s primetime shows are atrocious displays of opinion billed as news. Bret Baier, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity are the triumvirate of opinion-heavy “reporting.” Fox’s website describes Hannity’s show as “candid, controversial, and completely unleashed, Sean brings you political news of the day!”
Sean Hannity absolutely does not bring you the news of the day. Or, rather, he brings the news packaged and prepared for a specific subset of people, and they love it. Hannity is particularly guilty of skewing the news beyond recognition. There may be facts buried under there — deep, deep, deep down there — but they’re so obscured by opinion that the news of the day becomes unrecognizable.
“Hannity” is full of softball interviews designed to make the president look good, and unbalanced commentary from contributors like former-White House aide Sebastian Gorka, with no one on the other side to counter his statements. That’s not news, and Fox is doing a disservice to its viewers by calling it that.
The big story on Tuesday, Nov. 7 was the Democratic sweep of several key gubernatorial and state-level elections. Sean Hannity covered it in six seconds at the top of his show. “Those results in Virginia, New Jersey, and New York, by the way – not states that Donald Trump won.”
Hannity then promptly transitioned to a conversation about President Trump’s visit to South Korea with none other than Hannity’s favorite guest, good ‘ole Gorka. That’s unacceptable. The election coverage dominated the other news outlets, with a break to broadcast and discuss the president’s speech in South Korea, but Fox News barely touched the elections. In fact, some Fox News viewers may not even know there was an election, especially older viewers who may not use the internet or social media. Everyone at Fox News should be ashamed.
Though I may be at risk of harkening back to the tired “back-in-my-day” argument, journalists used to report the news. Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather – these men would give it to you straight. Sean Hannity is a far cry from Cronkite.
I know that other news outlets are equally guilty. I previously wrote a column titled “American media must be less partisan” that discussed the problems of ultra-partisan news like Fox and MSNBC, its liberal counterpart.
However, there is a distinct difference between Fox and MSNBC: at least MSNBC reports what’s happening. Fox News ignores important news in favor of protecting its editorial loyalty to the president. They shift the focus of stories like the Russia investigation to fit their Conservative angle, obfuscating facts and redirecting the story always back to Hillary Clinton.
Fox News anchors need to seriously reconsider the direction their news outlet is moving in. At what point will they stop editorializing and start reporting the news? If they care about their viewers, or the integrity of our free press, then they should take a step back and consider the facts next time they open their mouths.
Hannity, I’m looking at you.
Chandler Gory is a junior majoring in political science. Her column runs biweekly.