Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. TV & Radio
12 January 2010updated 03 Aug 2021 7:58am

Sarah Palin’s home from home

Palin is joining Fox News. Here we give five top examples of "fair and balanced" reporting on the US

By Samira Shackle

Today is a great day for broadcast journalism. Sarah Palin, ex-governor of Alaska and arguably the star of the 2008 presidential election, has signed up to work as a pundit for Fox News. You might have thought that her, I don’t know, INSANITY might get in the way of her media career, but obviously it hasn’t held her back so far.

In fact, a comment made by Palin on accepting the role sheds light on the calibre of the news outfit she is joining. She said:

I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News. It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.

Since her comments have often shown themselves to be incredibly accurate and insightful, I thought I’d round up the top five examples of “fair and balanced news” at Fox.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
THANK YOU

1. Mr Chairman . . .

Back in July, as the News of the World phone hacking scandal was breaking, Rupert Murdoch — proprietor of both NotW and Fox News — went on the channel. Jon Bernstein blogged about it at the time. Did they uphold the values of fair, balanced, independent news reporting and grill their chairman with a daring disregard for their own interests? Judge for yourself:

Content from our partners
The cost-of-living crisis is hitting small businesses – Liz Truss must act
How industry is key for net zero
How to ensure net zero brings good growth and green jobs

Anchor: “Mr Chairman, sir, thanks very much for joining us. We appreciate it.”
Rupert Murdoch: “Fine, good afternoon.”
Anchor: “The story that’s really buzzing all around the country and certainly here in New York is that the News of the World, a News Corporation newspaper in Britain, used . . .”
Rupert Murdoch: “I’m not talking about that issue at all today. Sorry.”
Anchor: “OK. No worries, Mr Chairman, that’s fine with me.”

2. What terror attacks?

Last week, Sophie Elmhirst blogged here about Rudy Giuliani denying on ABC that any domestic terrorist attacks took place under George W Bush. But far be it from Fox to get left behind! Last week, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi said on Fox:

One of the things the American people appreciate about the Bush administration [is], after September 11, not one time did the terrorists who tried to kill us and end our way of life, not one time were they able to attack the mainland United States again.

You guessed it — the interviewer, Neil Cavuto, stayed shtum and did not correct this factual error (the Shoe Bomber, the LA airport attack . . . )

3. Glenn Beck

Ah, Glenn Beck. This major broadcaster at Fox News recently had the dubious honour of being named “Misinformer of the Year 2009” by the Media Matters for America website. He came to international attention in July when he said on air that Barack Obama had exposed himself “over and over again” as a person with “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture”. To give Fox some credit, Brian Kilmeade tried to argue with him, saying that most of the Obama administration was white, so “you can’t say he doesn’t like white people”. (I’m sure there are better arguments to be made, but it’s the thought that counts. Sort of.) But Beck pushed ahead, arguing:

I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.

Apart from the fact that his statement doesn’t make sense, it’s also based on precious little evidence. But the big boss didn’t mind — Rupert Murdoch said in November: “If you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right.” Great!

4. Bill O’Reilly

Another big hitter at Fox News deserves a special shout-out, too. Bill O’Reilly’s chat show The O’Reilly Factor is reportedly the most watched cable “news” programme in America. He calls his show a “no-spin zone” but others beg to differ. In 2007, researchers from the Indiana University School of Journalism published a report analysing O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” segment with techniques developed by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis. It concluded that he consistently used propaganda and name-calling, and cast non-Americans as threats.

5. A stranger among us

There are some good ‘uns in there. Last week, a Fox reporter, Douglas Kennedy, went mad on air on the Fox News Watch discussion show, telling the host, Jon Scott: “This intro sounds like it’s written by Dick Cheney in his bunker.” He then said that the panel had a right-wing slant. Kennedy’s co-panellist Judith Miller objected, saying: “Wait a minute, I am very, very liberal on a lot of issues.” But Kennedy was not to be silenced: “You went to jail to protect Dick Cheney, Come on!” Yeah, you tell ’em.

Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter.