As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Kingdom For An Opposition To The Opposition

The Fox News tape showing a woman whipping up the crowd at the 9-12 rally like they were a studio audience clearly hit a nerve with the network. They had to selectively release a memo to the media from managing editor Bill Sammon to the entire staff to remind them of core journalistic standards. It's really fun to read while trying to suppress laughter.

From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Monday, September 21, 2009 2:25 PM
To: 005 -Washington
Subject: standards

For those of us who have only been at Fox for a relatively short period of time, it’s useful to remind ourselves that, as journalists, we must always be careful to cover the story without becoming part of the story. At news events, we’re supposed to function as dispassionate observers, not active participants. We are there to chronicle the news, not create it.

That means we ask questions in a fair, impartial manner. When approaching interviewees, we identify ourselves, by both name and news organization, up front. We seek out a variety of voices and views. We take note of the scene in order to bring color and context to our viewers.

We do not cheerlead for one cause or another. We do not rile up a crowd. If a crowd happens to be boisterous when we show it on TV, so be it. If it happens to be quiet, that’s fine, too. It’s not our job to affect the crowd’s behavior one way or the other. Again, we’re journalists, not participants — and certainly not performers.

Indeed, any effort to affect the crowd’s behavior only serves to undermine our legitimate journalistic role as detached eyewitnesses. Remember, our viewers are counting on us to be honest brokers when it comes to reporting — not altering –the important events of the day. That is nothing less than a sacred trust. We must always take pains to preserve that trust.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please stop by.

I like Ben Dimiero's version better. But clearly, this is the kind of ticky-tack nonsense that Fox News would use to destroy their opponents utterly. It's raw video showing them manipulating the news - not to a great extent, and not by everyone in the company, but clearly to as great a degree as some of the "exclusives" Fox uses to cast their opponents in a negative light.

The blogosphere seems too fractured these days to engage in a full pushback, but this is precisely the kind of thing that could be used to completely discredit a news network forever. There should be demands of resignations, not just of the associate producer but the talent who was on the scene and said nothing about the manipulation, and the segment producer who authorized the whole product without objection. You could drag this out over a number of days, and really collect some scalps. Seems like a good thing for at least one organization to work on.

Labels: ,