February 05, 2004

Brit Hume honor triggers protest: Is Fox News Channel "fair and balanced," as its motto claims?

Another name to be scrawled on the John O'Neill Wall
of Heroes: Geneva Overholser...

USA Today: Geneva Overholser, former ombudsman of The
Washington Post, has resigned from the board of the
National Press Foundation because it plans to honor
Fox News anchor Brit Hume at its annual dinner in
Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19..."And I can applaud Fox
for all sorts of things, but being deceptively
ideologically aligned being hypocritical about it
far from contributing to such discussions, makes them
impossible to have. (Fox News president Roger) Ailes
has constructed the perfect trap: you question him,
and the finger of accusation comes back at the
questioner. One can marvel at his cleverness. But one
should not confer journalistic laurels upon it."

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the US Mainstream
News Media, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush
(again!)


http://www.usatoday.com/life/columnist/mediamix/2004-02-01-media-mix_x.htm

Brit Hume honor triggers protest: Is Fox News Channel "fair and balanced," as its motto claims?

The National Press Foundation's plan to honor Brit
Hume angered Geneva Overholser, who says Fox practices
"ideologically connected journalism."
Fox News

Or is that slogan a clever marketing line designed to
hide Fox News political tilt to the right?

And with its success by far, it's the No. 1-rated
cable news channel have journalists failed to
challenge Fox News on its boast?

These questions have been raised before. But now, a
well-known journalist may reignite the discussion:
Geneva Overholser, former ombudsman of The Washington
Post, has resigned from the board of the National
Press Foundation because it plans to honor Fox News
anchor Brit Hume at its annual dinner in Washington,
D.C., on Feb. 19.

Past recipients of the group's Sol Taishoff award
include TV newscasters David Brinkley, Dan Rather,
John Chancellor, Jane Pauley, Barbara Walters and Nina
Totenberg.

Hume, the ABC White House correspondent who joined Fox
in 1996 and anchors a nightly newscast, doesn't
deserve the award because he and Fox practice
"ideologically connected journalism," Overholser says.

"Fox wants to do news from a certain viewpoint, but it
wants to claim that it is 'fair and balanced,' " she
says. "That is inaccurate and unfair to other media
who engage in a quest, perhaps an imperfect quest, for
objectivity."

She says groups such as the foundation, before lauding
Fox or its lead news anchor, should debate whether the
way Fox reports news is good for journalism.

Someday, Overholser says, "I think we will look back
on these years and think, 'Why didn't we have a
discussion so that the public could benefit from a
change in journalism that Fox is very successfully
bringing about?' "

Ed Fouhy, chairman of the four-person committee that
unanimously voted to give Hume the award, rejects
Overholser's argument. "Brit is an excellent
journalist," says Fouhy, who at one time was Hume's
boss at ABC. "I admire him and his journalism."

Says Fox's Irena Briganti: "Brit Hume is a journalist
of tremendous accomplishment, distinction and
credibility. We are proud he is being recognized."

Overholser, the former editor of The Des Moines
Register who now runs the University of Missouri's
Washington journalism program, quietly resigned from
the board of the foundation three weeks ago.

"I would welcome a discussion about whether
objectivity really exists, which media seem the least
fair and balanced, whether objectivity is desirable,
whether it wouldn't be better to have a more
European-like model in which media were
straightforwardly ideologically aligned," she wrote in
an e-mail to fellow board members. "All of those could
be helpful to American journalism.

"And I can applaud Fox for all sorts of things, but
being deceptively ideologically aligned being
hypocritical about it far from contributing to such
discussions, makes them impossible to have. (Fox News
president Roger) Ailes has constructed the perfect
trap: you question him, and the finger of accusation
comes back at the questioner. One can marvel at his
cleverness. But one should not confer journalistic
laurels upon it."





Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/life/columnist/mediamix/2004-02-01-media-mix_x.htm


Posted by richard at February 5, 2004 08:20 PM