Monday, July 07, 2008

Living with Fox News

A journalist, David Carr, tries to explain what is like to live, as a journalist, with the presence of Fox News in the same business. It ain't a pretty story.

Mr. Carr manages, along the way, to point out some aspects of Fox News' methods that are both admirable and tragic as well as being despicable.

On the admirable front:
Part of me — the Irish, tribal part — admires Fox News’s ferocious defense of its guys. I work at a place where editors can make easy sport of teasing apart your flawed copy until it collapses in a steaming pile, but Lord help those outsiders who make an unwarranted or unfounded attack on me or my work. Our tactics may be different, but we, too, are strong for our posse.
The despicable:
As crude as that sounds, it works. By blacklisting reporters it does not like, planting stories with friendlies at every turn, Fox News has been living a life beyond consequence for years. Honesty compels me to admit that I have choked a few times at the keyboard when Fox News has come up in a story and it was not absolutely critical to the matter at hand.
And the tragic:
But it cuts both ways: Fox News’s amazing coup d’état in the cable news war has very likely been undercovered because the organization is such a handful to deal with. Fox is so busy playing defense — mentioning it in the same story as CNN can be a high crime — that its business and journalism accomplishments don’t get traction and the cable station never seems to attain the legitimacy it so clearly craves.
Fox News is a pox on the news business. But "good" journalists don't want to point this out. Usually. I expect Mr. Carr is now #1 on the enemies list.


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