After layoffs cost him his job as a media reporter for socialist editor and author Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher magazine, Joe Strupp landed at Media Matters for America, where he can ask the liberal media elite why on Earth any of them would ever appear on that unethical Republican swamp known as Fox News (or Fox affiliates on Sundays).
In this case, Strupp went looking for former New York Times reporters and editors to denounce current Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller (the one who suggested to President Bush he should feel personally responsible for the 9/11 attacks) for sinking to an appearance on Fox News Sunday. Former Times media reporter Alex Jones even suggested Fox gets zero credit for open-mindedness for allowing a liberal Times reporter on their set:
"It is a bad idea, period," said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. "I think the format is calculated to make you say things you would like to put back in your mouth."
...He said Times reporters appearing on any cable talk show is a mistake, but singled out Fox, stating, "Fox is an organ of the Republican party. I think everyone who goes on there shares in being used by them for their entertainment value. Fox uses them to demonstrate they are open-minded by putting the Times on there. But does it show Fox is open-minded? I don't think so."
One former Times editor who requested anonymity also criticized the move: "I think it is really stupid," the former editor said. "They become a party in the partisan debate. I don't think the reader is served by that."
Strupp led his article with the comments of former Times ombudsman (or as the Times calls them, a Public Editor) Byron Calame, who said the Times shouldn't lend its brand, "given the news channel's history of ethical problems and parent company News Corp.'s recent political donations."
"If it were me, I wouldn't do it," Calame said Monday. "Is Fox News so biased and perceived to be so one-sided that you are contaminated by going on their air? I don't know. It is a close call."
Calame, also a former Wall Street Journal editor who spent 39 years at that paper, raised the issue of News Corp.'s recent million dollar donations to the Republican Governors Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said those actions further impact the credibility of all News Corp. outlets, not just Fox.
"It doesn't just affect Fox News, it affects the Journal and other News Corp. outlets," he said. "It creates a perception problem to have such large donations on the books. I am sure News Corp. is giving money to Democrats, but nothing like those amounts. I think it creates needless perception questions."
Liberals are very quick to suggest that any liberal reporters who appear on Fox are now suspected of Republican sympathies. Some are upset that the Times would discourage its reporters from attending the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally, but allow them to "grant legitimacy" to a Fox News show, as if a virginal bride was entering a brothel. But perhaps the funniest quote in the Strupp attack-piece on Fox is the e-mail that Times executive editor Bill Keller sent to Media Matters:
I missed Elisabeth's appearance. But, briefly: We've never banned our reporters from going on Fox. We do discourage them from going on the noisier cable shout-fests, whatever their political persuasion, because those shows try to enlist reporters as advocates or foils rather than as...reporters. And whenever our reporters go on TV we expect them to apply the same judgment to their on-camera interviews that they apply at The Times -- impartial, accurate, non-polemical.