Accuracy in Media

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The Columbia Journalism Review, which is not known for its conservative views, published an article yesterday by Alexis Sobel Fitts that credits Fox News for giving opponents more of a voice than does MSNBC:

Though MSNBC has a handful of moderate conservatives—namely Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough—Fox stands out for the prominence it awards its on-air naysayers, many of whom occupy regular roles on the network’s most popular shows

Fox’s stable of liberals includes Kirsten Powers, Juan Williams, Alan Colmes, Dennis Kucinich, James Carville and Tamara Holder, to name a few.

Holder, a Chicago-educated lawyer, has collaborated with Jesse Jackson and at one time wrote for a medical marijuana magazine. She summed up to Fitts in one word why she appears on Fox: “ratings.”

And the ratings are good, very good. Fox has been the number one cable news network for the last 12 years. It has such a big lead over MSNBC and CNN, it would take a cataclysmic shift in viewing habits to displace it any time in the near future.

For liberals like Holder and Carville, the exposure they receive by appearing on Fox far outweighs any concern that they might have that they are somehow being disloyal to their cause.

Besides Scarborough and former RNC chairman Michael Steele representing the right, MSNBC has also featured Steve Schmidt, who did such a brilliant job with the McCain campaign in 2008, and John Feehrey, who was former Rep. Tom Delay’s communications director at one time.

Not only is the roster of so-called conservatives rather thin at MSNBC, but they usually do such a poor job of defending the conservative or Republican position that it would generally be better if they didn’t appear on the air at all.

CNN isn’t much better. They have been struggling to define their identity—with Fox News on their right and MSNBC on their left. They hired the liberal Sally Kohn away from Fox this year and resurrected Crossfire last year. But that’s about it, as they continue to flail about in the ratings.

Conservative purists have criticized Fox News for hiring so many liberals. But it’s a smart strategy that gives the network a more balanced look—certainly compared to MSNBC, which is chock full of liberals and pseudo conservatives.

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