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Editorial: Fair andBalanced? - Broadcasting & Cable

Editorial: Fair andBalanced?

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Much navel-gazing fare has been written about Fox News Channel’s relationship with the media that covers it, which in multiple cases has reportedly been a contentious one. The reasoning for said friction has been well documented elsewhere.

But as we observe some of the coverage of issues ranging from the “Fox News Mole” to the ongoing fallout from the hacking scandal and the Murdoch family, it must be said that while Fox News—and other News Corp. businesses—have been accused by some of operating from an institutional bias, there would appear to be some serious stones being cast from the glass houses of media covering that very network.

Take for example this “mole” that was quickly removed from Fox News. As soon as this person stated his intentions, he was instantly glorified on forums like Twitter and elsewhere in the media world. Even Jimmy Kimmel made the interesting decision to tell a few jokes about him (albeit at his own expense) in his recent White House Correspondents Dinner act, thus unfortunately extending the mole’s long-expired 15 minutes. But as the prominent New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter so accurately noted on Twitter, “There are other ‘Fox moles.’ We just call them ‘sources.’”

Except this “mole” basked in self-promotion, even while failing to unearth anything remotely interesting about Fox News before being rightfully exterminated, first professionally and next, perhaps, legally. This was not a case of persecuting a whistle-blower or harassing a source. This was exercising the right not to have employees systematically undercut your morale and your business. One hopes they were a better employee than a mole, though chances are this person will have a chance to be neither ever again, at least in the media business. People like that certainly shouldn’t bother sending us a (tarnished) resumé.

One wonders what would have happened with the coverage of this “mole” if they were working at CNN, or especially, MSNBC, which one could argue has evening hosts more aligned with the political interests of many of those who basked in the mole's stated (and failed) goals. Those who point fingers at a “liberal media bias” could arguably use the reveling in the mole’s sniping as exhibit A.

As such, it continues to interest us to watch the coverage of the hacking scandal. One hopes that whatever happens, the media coverage does not tilt toward celebratory if the investigations evolve.

It would be disconcerting to real, objective journalists everywhere to see the same bias that so many in the media accuse Fox of practicing creep into their own coverage of that exact company.

And lest you think this was meant as a love note to Team Rupert, a final note in the spirit of full disclosure: This publication does not have a relationship with the Fox News Channel public relations team at this time, and not by the choice of this publication. However, we never have and never will stop covering said network’s business in a comprehensive and objective manner. And as with us, whether others do the same will reflect on their particular brand of journalism.

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