Brian Stelter, CNN’s media critic, just played a newly-uncovered tape of the phone call to then-reporter Bill O’Reilly telling him that a shadowy figure in the JFK assassination had committed suicide. This was the same gentleman that O’Reilly, in his best selling “history” book, “Killing Kennedy,” claims shot himself with a shotgun while O’Reilly was just outside his door.
Documentation of O’Reilly lies are proliferating like Republican Presidential hopefuls, and the Fox News Head Bloviator continues to respond with bluster, ad hominem attacks and threats. In doing so, he refuses to abide by the standards he articulated—correctly—explaining why NBC’s fabulist anchor Brian Williams could no longer be trusted by viewers.
Meanwhile, Fox News has disqualified itself as a news source even for those who (completely justifiably) distrust the left-biased mainstream media. At least NBC had the integrity and professionalism to (eventually) investigate Williams’ conduct and take him off the air. Fox, in stark contrast, has issued deceitful defenses of their most profitable commentator, and continues to back, promote, and air a proven liar. (We already knew Bill was a bully, a jerk, and a narcissist.)
Fox owes its existence to the absence of an honest, objective, trustworthy broadcast news source. We could observe this again this week, as the networks largely ignored the significant developments in the I.R.S. scandal (because President Obama instructed them that it wasn’t really anything to worry about) while devoting extensive coverage to the color of a dress. This is not to say that Fox is in any way objective: its legitimate function is to try to correct the dangerously biased reporting of the news by leaning the other way. But it can not fulfill that legitimate function if it countenances lies and liars.
Until Fox takes some action to signal that outright lying by its “truthtellers” like Bill O’Reilly will not be tolerated, no responsible citizen should tune in to Fox. To do so is irresponsible and foolish—it is like continuing to dine at a restaurant whose owner’s reaction to an evening of poisoned diners is to deny they were sick.
I’m not going to watch Fox News, or cite its website, until the network makes Bill O’Reilly stop spinning his own lies on the “No-Spin Zone,” and takes some action that indicates it cares about the truth. Absent that, they remains a disgrace, and a destination to be avoided by anyone who believes in ethical journalism.
As to where to seek fair, balanced and trustworthy reporting on the current broadcast news landscape, I can’t help you there. Certainly not Fox. I’ll take pinheads over liars every time, and so should you.
And since I just linked to Newsbusters, the often useful media watchdog that only watches the Left with any suspicion, let me flag the unethical and pathetic post there by Jeffrey Lord, who argues that “the real lesson” of the Bill O’Reilly scandal is this:
“What we are witnessing unwind in slow motion is the morphing of the already bullying-style of political correctness into a rigid anti-free speech movement that seeks to forcibly suppress any and all opposition to the leftist world view. And that applies in spades to those involved with Fox News, talk radio or anyone who in anyway is either connected to conservative media or expresses a conservative view on a topic or topics of the day.”