E-Mails Show Fox Driving Radical Right Agenda

December 13, 2010

Crossposted from the AFL-CIO Now blog. Reports that a Fox News editor directed his staff to use a politically charged phrase recommended by a Republican pollster to misrepresent the Democrats' health care reform plan is proof that Fox is driving a radical right-wing political agenda, says Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now (HCAN). In a statement, Rome says:

At a time when right-wing extremists were trying to make the case that the health care reform bill was a government takeover plot, Fox News incorporated politically charged language into its day-to-day reporting to mislead its audience into thinking the public option was something that it wasn't. Fox News' policy is to drive a political agenda and systematically influence its audience's views.

HCAN is a grassroots coalition that includes the AFL-CIO and several affiliated unions. Leaked e-mail messages show that at the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option," according to Ben Dimiero at Media Matters. Sammon directed Fox's reporters to use "government option" and similar phrases—wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended to portray the Democrats' reform effort as a "government takeover." What’s more, Dimiero writes:

Sources familiar with the situation in Fox's Washington bureau have told Media Matters that Sammon uses his position as managing editor to "slant" Fox's supposedly neutral news coverage to the right. Sammon's "government option" e-mail is the clearest evidence yet that Sammon is aggressively pushing Fox's reporting to the right—in this case by issuing written orders to his staff.

You can read Dimiero's article here.

In October, shareholders of News Corp.—the media company owned by Rupert Murdoch and the operator of Fox News—complained that the company gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. Several weeks later, it donated another $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Just last week, AFSCME launched an aggressive, new “Stop the Lies” campaign to fight back against lies about public workers by radical talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, John Stossel, right-wing politicians and Fox News commentators.

The campaign will use social media, videos, paid advertising and ground events across the country to get the truth heard amidst the din from Fox, loudmouthed TV and radio talkers and their orchestrated attacks incorrectly blaming public employees for the financial crises cities and states are facing.

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