Fair & Balanced? Fox News’ Big Year (VIDEOS)

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From lecturing President Barack Obama on racial sensitivity to inflating threats of terror, Fox News offered more than a few journalistic lessons this year. Fox’s ratings continued to top the other major cable networks, while its news coverage … well, let’s just let it speak for itself.

Here’s a list — though hardly an exhaustive one — of some memorable moments from Fox News this year.

  • Let’s start back in April, when Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly pondered whether the START treaty would leave the U.S. defenseless — “until it’s too late.” To illustrate this harrowing point, Fox cued footage of a mushroom cloud before cutting to commercials.
  • And who could forget Fox taking it upon themselves to educate the nation’s first African American president about racial sensitivity? After President Barack Obama told Republicans they have to “sit in back” on the road to boosting the economy, Megyn Kelly called the comment “appalling.” “‘Riding in the back’ certainly does have some Civil Rights — some racial overtones to it,” she added.

  • In the span of about five minutes in October, Fox turned the shutting down of the Brooklyn Bridge into a full-blown terrorist threat. It turned out the “suspicious package” was actually a flashlight wrapped in copper wire.
  • Some of the juiciest Fox News moments this year happened off-air. Fox News President Roger Ailes in November called Jon Stewart “crazy” and claimed NPR is run by Nazis. “They have a kind of Nazi attitude,” he said. He later apologized.
  • Also behind the scenes of the Fair & Balanced Fox team comes a series of emails asking staff to cast doubt on climate change and call health care reform a “government option.” It may come as no surprise that a recent study found that Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of any news consumers.
  • This fall, the unabashedly right-wing news and opinion site FoxNation.com re-posted an anti-Obama article from The Onion, but neglected to acknowledge that it was a joke. Then, only weeks later, in the wake of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour praising segregationist groups from the Civil Rights era, FoxNation posted this gem:
  • In November, Fox News host Stuart Varney and chief senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano discussed the likelihood of gold bullion making a comeback as a standard form of currency. Varney was skeptical, but Napolitano continued to make his case. Maybe the two were onto something: a gold-dispensing ATM was installed in an upscale Florida mall this month.
  • And for good measure, here is Shep Smith’s brilliant narration on the history of car chases and, in turn, the ethics of journalism. A true TPM favorite.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He’s a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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