ZURAWICK: “Jon Stewart not so sharp in Chris Wallace interview”

Media clown extraordinaire Jon Liebowitz Stewart was on Chris Wallace’s Fox News Sunday show yesterday.

Zurawick: “Note the way Stewart makes nice with Wallace and praises him. In fact, he says Wallace is so good that Fox News chief Roger Ailes uses him to give credibility to the whole network.

But wait a minute, Stewart has said elsewhere how much he likes Bill O’Reilly and Bret Baier, both of whom he has used as guests (or paid visits to their shows) in an attempt to score some of the Fox ratings mojo.

So, if Wallace, O’Reilly and Baier are all praiseworthy, how can Stewart call the channel a non-stop propaganda machine for the GOP?

In fact, outside of Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly and “Fox and Friends,” who is left to denounce at Fox News? Shep Smith?

Right. So, according to Stewart, outside of Chris Wallace, O’Reilly, and Brett Baier (and presumably Shep Smith and Megyn Kelly) Fox News is totally an agenda-driven organization!? Shep Smith is his own one man renegade, Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Sustern are above all else tough interviewers who aren’t pushing an agenda. And if you want to talk about diversity of opinion,  The truth of the matter is the only people Stewart could reasonably have issue with would be Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Cavuto, Laura Ingraham and the Fox and Friends group.

Stewart seems to think that while the rest of us see liberal bias, he sees “lazy” and “sensationalist”. That’s all he sees. That’s how he marginalizes it. Media bias has to do with news hosts pretending to be completely objective and honest brokers. It has to do with story selections (i.e. ignoring stories that put Obama in a bad light and promoting frivolous stories no one cares about). Media bias has to do with the words news hosts use (e.g. look at the way Wolf Blitzer or Diane Sawyer introduce news stories). The sarcasm, eye rolls, and shaking of the head (e.g. Anderson Cooper, Tamron Hall, Contessa Brewer, Brian Williams). It all adds up.

Stewart’s disdain for FNC might be the cumulative effects of hearing guests like Kimberly Guilfoyle, Stewart Varney, Liz Wiehl, Monica Crowley, S.E. Cupp, Dick Morris, Karl Rove, Dennis Miller, Paul Gigot, Dan Henninger, and Dr. Charles Krauthammer. What they all have in common is the ability to express articulate and thoughtful arguments (voices on the left, by contrast, are more emotion-based grievances). All these strident voices are given major platforms they wouldn’t be provided on other cable networks. And when we talk about Megyn Kelly or Greta Van Sustern or Bill Hemmer, what Stewart doesn’t seem to realize is that news coverage from TV anchors with a different set of assumptions from the normal mainstream press isn’t the same thing as media bias. These anchors may phrase their questions differently from a Wolf Blitzer or they may attack an issue from a different angle than a Don Lemon, but as long as they’re asking the pertinent questions of a story, as long as they’re giving guests equal time to respond, and as long as they’re backing up their statements with facts, these anchors are doing a professional job.

Media bias is more prominent when analysts and commentators are presumed to be objective observers when in fact they’re spinning just like an apparatchik Obama mouthpiece (e.g. Gloria Borger, George Stephanopolous, Christiane Amanpour, Fareed Zakaria, Norah O’Donnell, David Gregory, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon). FNC doesn’t go out of its way to pretend that their players are something they are not. The same could be said for MSNBC’s model. They are a staunchly progressive outfit, which Stewart doesn’t even have the courage to admit during his interview with Wallace.

The difference between MSNBC and FNC is that I can name the strong voices of the moderate left and the progressive left found on FNC, but I can name maybe a couple of voices of the right on MSNBC. FNC has Bob Beckel, Kirstin Powers, Juan Williams, Marc Lamont Hill, Alan Colmes, Joe Trippi, and Pat Cadell. That’s just off the top of my head. These are strong voices who aren’t muted after several seconds of disagreement with the show moderator. Who does MSNBC have? Pat Buchanan for a few minutes before 8 in the morning? Michael Steele more recently? And that’s pretty much it. It’s not an impressive group. There are certainly no libertarians or Tea Party types on MSNBC or CNN (though Dana Loesch does occasionally get a few minutes on CNN).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that FNC and Fox Business News have added a couple of more welcome voices that wouldn’t have been found before. John Stossel and Andrew Napolitano. Libertarians finally have shows. Not to mention guests like Nick Gillespie.

[READ Zurawick’s “Jon Stewart not so sharp in Chris Wallace interview” at the Baltimore Sun].


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