NEW FAIR STUDY:Still Failing the "Fair and Balanced" Test:Fox's Special Report leans right, white, Republican & male
Though Fox News Channel wraps itself in slogans of journalistic evenhandedness, FAIR's latest study of Fox's Special Report with Brit Humefinds the network's flagship news show still listing sharply right. Inone-on-one interviews, conservatives accounted for 72 percent ofideological guests, and Republicans outnumbered Democrats five to one.And, according to the study, Special Report rarely features women ornon-white guests in these prominent newsmaker interview spots: 83 percentof guests were white males.
The study, featured in the August issue of Extra!, was commissioned byfilmmaker Robert Greenwald for the film Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War onJournalism. The film will screen across the country on Sunday, July 18 athouse parties organized by MoveOn.org; you can find the screening nearestyou at http://action.moveon.org/outfoxed/.
FAIR's current study looked at 25 weeks of Special Report's one-on-oneinterview segments including 101 guests. Results were compared to thosefrom 2001 and 2002 FAIR studies of Special Report.
*Conservatives outnumbered progressives by more than five to one. Fiftyseven percent of Special Report's guests were ideological conservatives;12 percent were centrists, and 11 percent were progressives (while 20percent were non-ideological). Among ideological guests, conservativesaccounted for 72 percent. This marks an increase in left-of-center guestssince 2002, when a mere three percent were left of center-but also anincrease in conservatives, up from 48 percent.
*Republicans outnumbered Democrats by five to one (35 to 7).Furthermore, of the handful of Democrats that did appear, the majoritywere centrist or conservative. Only one of the 35 Republicans, on theother hand, was centrist, and none were progressive. The five-to-oneimbalance is a marked regression from the 2002 study, when Republicansoutnumbered Democrats by only three to two.
*Women and people of color continue to be scarce. Only 7 percent ofguests were women, and only 11 percent were people of color. Only onewoman of color was featured in a one-on-one interview: National SecurityAdviser Condoleezza Rice. And the female and non-white guests wereremarkably conservative; no progressive women and only one progressiveperson of color appeared.
If Fox is the "fair & balanced" network it claims to be, then the guest list of what Fox calls its "signature news show" ought to reflect a diverse spectrum of ideas and sources. In FAIR's second study of Special Report in 2002, the show had slightly moderated the imbalance with regard to Republican and conservative guests found in our 2001 study. But withcurrent findings indicating that the show has tipped back toward increased imbalance, it becomes harder to defend Special Report from charges that itchooses its guests based on political sympathies, not news judgment.
"Fox is depriving its viewers of real debate and some important and dissenting views," said FAIR's Steve Rendall, co-author of the study.
The complete report can be accessed online at:http://www.fair.org/extra/0407/special-report.html.
For more information on Outfoxed, visit http://www.outfoxed.org.