While I get annoyed at the BBC’s embedding soft journalists with hunt groups and would like to see more corpses on TV, to show how bad Saddam Hussein was, I’ve never taken bias in the media particularly seriously. But some do and what a weird lot they are. In response to alleged liberal bias in traditional media, the angry white men of the American right asked a kindly Australian outfit to establish Fox News, to bring in some balance. The thing is, the new station’s turned out to be anything but a bastion of traditional values.
When other stations are accused of lying you can expect a denial, an investigation or an apology and promise to reform. Not with Fox. They went to court to prove lying is legal. But, thankfully, only in America. In the UK broadcasters have to abide by a code that demands ‘respect for truth’, which Fox failed to meet when it called the BBC anti-American. Challenged to prove the point, Fox explained its very best investigative reporters had Googled ‘bbc anti-american’ and on seeing many thousands of results (47,200 then, 48,900 right now) the case was proved. Unimpressed, the regulator told them to tell anchor John Gibson to respect the truth or get off the air. They chose to take him off in Europe.
Funnily enough ‘fox news anti-american’ produces 54,400 results, so by their own reckoning, Fox News is more anti-American than the BBC. Perhaps we should trust them on this one.
Anyway. Now it turns out that its sister entertainment channel, plain old Fox, has been fined $1.2m for indecency, while another Fox News anchor, Bill O’Reilly, is up on sex charges. So not the kind of people right thinking Britons would like to see on TV.