Fox News is not journalism

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By: Ryan Kirby, Columnist 

Fox News has recently updated its slogan to “Real news. Real honest opinion.” Fox News was formed in 1996 as an alternative to CNN and MSNBC. Their original slogan was “Fair and Balanced” with the hopes of providing a different perspective to the existing media. The network quickly became known for its conservative and right-wing commentary.

Let me be 100 percent clear, I have no problem with conservative media. I believe that it is fundamental to hear from both sides of the political spectrum. At a minimum, I try to ensure that a quarter of my news consumption comes from conservative writers and organizations to help minimize any liberal echo chamber I might unintentionally create for myself.

Fox News continues to drift further and further away from any resemblance of journalistic integrity. Primetime coverage is dominated by opinion hosts who serve to promote their own agenda, regardless of facts. Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Judge Jeanine Pirro and Laura Ingraham dominate the primetime coverage and use the time to serve as the key defenders of the current administration. Fox News has devolved into the defacto state run news agency and most of its viewers are none the wiser.

Now, some might point out that there are no nonsense anchors like Shepard Smith or Chris Wallace. Fox News recently interviewed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and pushed him to answer questions about the swampy behavior he has exhibited while in office. Unfortunately, Smith and Wallace find themselves in the minority. Fox News retains them specifically as an excuse to say they are balanced. This is best exemplified when Shepard Smith spent some of his on-air time completely debunking the “Uranium One Scandal.” Many viewers were upset with this segment and even went so far as to attempting to have Smith fired.

“Fox & Friends” has arguably become the most powerful show on television as it serves as the president’s daily briefing. There are dozens of documented incidents where a segment on the show is quickly translated into a presidential tweet, not to mention he directly tweets at the show. One would hope that if the president was routinely watching a specific news segment, the hosts would take great responsibility to ensure they presented factual information and cover the most important topics of the day. Well, “Fox & Friends” is the exact opposite of what one would hope for. Instead, Fox & Friends has served as a way to promote blatantly false stories and create a feedback loop for the president and his worse instincts.

Not only does Fox News put an ideological spin on every piece of news they discuss, but they also intentionally choose not to discuss things as well. Fox News avoids talking about Trump’s potential connections to Russia. When they do choose to talk about Russia, they use stories to muddy the waters with the completely false Uranium One allegations or accusations that the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming that the other major networks are perfect and in most cases cable news as a whole has major issues in how they discuss the news, but Fox News is distinctly different. I believe that not only is Fox News missing journalistic integrity, but it is fundamentally bad for America. They attempt to muddy the waters of political discussion by spreading misinformation under the guise of opinion hosts and avoid genuine oversight of public officials. Fox News has created a safe space for its viewers that is built upon an alternative reality and conspiracy theories that damages political discourse within this country.

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