2/10/2005

So much for the "liberal media"...

From Mark Follman on Salon.com:
The favorite right-wing claim that the nation's news biz is in need of a Joseph McCarthy-style purging has been pretty laughable ever since the ascent of cable juggernaut Fox News Channel, talk-radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh and other powerful right-wing outlets. And now conservatives are adding "NBC Nightly News" to their user-friendly list.
"While Fox News Channel remains the favorite network of Republican lawmakers, NBC's new anchor, Brian Williams, is the one turning GOP heads," reports U.S. News & World Report this week. "Message guru and former MSNBC contributor Frank Luntz says in a confidential memo to Hill leaders that Williams has emerged as the 'go-to network anchor' because of his brains and 'lack of detectable ideological bias.' Luntz credits NBC executive producer Steve Capus for 'a flawless transition to a new generation of news anchor.' Still, Fox and CNN lead the nets when it comes to GOP loyalty."
Luntz himself was forced off MSNBC during the 2004 presidential campaign and has a long history of compromising partisanship. And he must have a unique way of measuring "detectable ideological bias." For starters, Williams, as noted in last week's edition of "Right Hook," is a dedicated fan of Rush Limbaugh's.
And Limbaugh would probably give Williams his due for boosting President Bush's campaign to convince Americans that Social Security is in "crisis." The Jan. 11 broadcast of the "Nightly News" stacked the deck in Bush's favor on the issue, according to media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. NBC included comments from one worker who was worried about future benefit cuts in Social Security, notes FAIR, but the broadcast also leaned on the wisdom of David John, billed by NBC as a "Social Security analyst" and one of the "supporters of the benefit cut." What NBC didn't bother to mention was John's institutional affiliation: He works for the Heritage Foundation, the right-wing Washington think tank leading the charge for Bush's pro-privatization plan.

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