Message Matters, Media Doesn’t

By Craig Andresen on April 13, 2011

As a kid, growing up in the 1960’s, there were two ways to get the news. You watched the network of your choice, ABC, NBC or CBS at dinner time for the news of the day and you read the morning paper to find out what happened over night. That was it.

In those days, Huntley/Brinkley and Walter Cronkite dominated the evening news. Cronkite was considered the most trusted man in America. To be honest, ABC wasn’t much of a player back then as they didn’t expand their nightly news to a full half hour until 1967 and then ran through a myriad of anchors through the years.

Until 1967, the Huntley/Brinkley report dominated but a decision by NBC corporate heads to cut back on funding for their news program allowed Cronkite and CBS to take the ratings and the trust factor lead. At one point, so clear was the importance of Cronkite and CBS to the world of politics that at a key point in the Vietnam war, Cronkite closed an editorial by stating, “To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy’s intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”

After hearing this, LBJ is reported to have said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” And he was correct.

The next “era” if you can refer to it in that manner for broadcast news featured the likes of Rather, Brokaw and the return to ABC of Peter Jennings. Of the three, Jennings seemed the most competent but by comparison to their predecessors, all three were a pale representation. It was during this era that Ted Turner unveiled a new tact in the delivery of news with CNN.

Quickly, CNN established itself as the go-to source and one could go to it anytime between the Monday morning paper delivery and the Tuesday morning paper delivery. CNN was there 24-7-365 and the cable news era was born. In its early days, CNN held to the time honored broadcast style but continued to evolve with slicker graphics and soon, recognizable faces and voices. It was really the first gulf war that cemented CNN as THE source for the news as they literally took the viewers to the front lines.

In 1996, Microsoft and NBC jumped into the 24 hour news cycle with MSNBC and decidedly if not outwardly took a politically left stance in their delivery of the news. It would take 14 years, during the 2010 midterm elections for MSNBC adopted the progressive “Lean Forward” tag,  before they would publicly acknowledge their left-of-center bias but during those 9 years they continued to step farther and farther in that direction.

Also in 1996, Rupert Murdoch who already had extensive 24-hour news experience through Sky in the UK and through a partnership formed in the late 1980’s with 20th Century Fox Films unveiled FNC, the Fox News Channel which took the slick graphics pioneered by CNN, the deliver style of MSNBC and added the opposite political lean to it as had MSNBC. Murdochunderstood the power of talk radio and its right leaning dominance and interspersed the news with analysis from the right and in the 14 years since they and MSNBC joined the 24 hour cycle with CNN, Fox News emerged at the top of the heap. WAY at the top of the heap.

All of these happenings in the 24 hour news channels had a profound impact way down the dial as the broadcast alphabets wildly scrambled to find an answer. Brokaw left, Jennings had passed away and after compiling and airing what he knew to be false reports against George W. Bush, Rather was fired. For some inexplicable reason, knowing the success of talk radio and Fox News, the broadcast networks cast their lot with the hard left. Enter Williams at NBC, Gibson followed by Sawyer and ABC and Couric at CBS.

If those who followed the Huntley/Brinkley and Cronkite era paled by comparison then this latest crop casts a shadow akin to a pane of glass. Gone from broadcast news were the days when anchors and reporters held their bias close as these, now in charge, were transparently liberal. CBS already held the lowest ratings of the three when Couric entered the fray and although her newscasts garnered prestigious awards her ratings continued to drop. Now, it has been announced that Couric is out when her contract ends later this year but with her, CBS has set the bar low enough to win a world championship in a limbo contest.

Should any one of the three broadcast news outlets make the quite unlikely decision to turn to the right and become a true centrist source. That one will win the pillow fight at their end of the spectrum but they will not win the war. The war is taking place between the cable news offerings and clearly, Fox News has brought BIG guns to waffle ball match.

The progressives who make the decisions for the likes of CNN and especially MSNBC absolutely hate Fox News. They have even created a cyber Chihuahua called Media Matters, heavily backed by George Soros, to nip at Fox News’ shoe laces. The Chihuahua has now even announced theirintent to wage guerilla war against Fox News as their claims that Fox is NOT a news source continue to create a buzz not unlike that of a  gnat. In reality, Fox News is MORE that a news source as they have had a prime time line up of names like Beck, Hannity, Van Sustern and O’Reilly who provide analysis and investigative reporting from the political right as opposed to their news division featuring names such as Smith, Cavuto, Baier and Kelly. This news division is rounded out by a substantial group of field reporters and correspondents. When you add into that mix a core of contributors from both sides of the aisle like Juan Williams, Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Alan Colmes, Judge Napolitano and Bob Beckel just to name a few, it no wonder Fox News Channel dominates the ratings.

One of the greatest falsehoods perpetrated by Media Matters and therefore parroted by the left is that Fox News is NOT a real news outlet BECAUSE of name like Beck, Hannity and O’Reily. Because it would not fit their agenda, they will not draw any distinction between the news anchors and reporters and those whose job it is to provide opinion and commentary. In that respect, apples to apples, the fact that MSNBC has employed Maddow, Matthews and Olbermann, they as well, using the Media Matters criteria, would not be a news organization.

Even Apple and Steve Jobs, as far to the left of the scale as they are, know a good thing when they see it and recently entered into a lucrative deal with News Corp, the parent company of Fox News, to create a news delivery system exclusively on the iPad.

What the left knows, what the liberals know, what the progressives and socialists know is that Fox News HAS what Cronkite HAD and that is middle America. Fox News in their style, their analysis, in their commentary and in their content has that for which middle America is looking, an even handed news direction and right side everything else.

Does Fox News lean to the right? Yes. As hard as CNN and MSNBC lean to the left. No. Of course those ON the left, driven by their marching orders from the liberal/progressive talking points would disagree. So be it but there IS a vast difference.

If those on the left actually watched Fox News for a short while, as I have watched both CNN and MSNBC, the differences are glaring. For instance, MSNBC hosts during their prime time shows attack the right and Fox News. Hosts such as the now defunct Olbermann, Mathews and Maddow berate their right side guests during their interviews. You don’t see that over on Fox. On Fox, when a host disagrees with an interviewee, they present their evidence and opinion in a discussion. Olbermann did and both Mathews and Maddow do, attack, berate, become dismissive and attempt to denigrate the interviewee.

While many on the left complain about Fox hosts interrupting a guest there are reasons for it and I suggest that I have no problem with it either from the right or left as long as it is for the correct reasons. There are time constraints for one thing and, if the interviewee is rambling at length, off the topic of the question, again from either side, I feel it appropriate for the host to intercede.

Suffice it to say that while those on the left, the liberals, progressives and socialists will continue their harping against Fox News by claiming Fox NOT to be a real news source, the defacto leader of the republican party, misleading and liars, and of course, evil but know that they are blindly following their seeing eye Chihuahua on a leash held by George Soros.

The news division of Fox, by a system of compare and contrast, shows the conservative agenda and message in respect to the agenda and message from the left. Fox commentators and opinion pundits bolster the conservative message. Fox News Channel in whole or in part does NOT set either the agenda or dictate the message of the republican party and therefore, to refer to Fox News as the de facto leader of the republican party is simply false.

During the 2008 presidential election, despite the message reported by Fox News, the American right were guilty of a number of things. They slept through it not turning out in large enough numbers and they clearly did not embrace McCain as their nominee. On the other side, the left employed an “anybody but Bush” tactic and emboldened by the entitlement mentality displayed by Obama, turned out in large numbers. The real difference makers were the independents and they too did not embrace more of the same and cast their votes for Obama.

In the midterm election of 2010, Fox News changed nothing but MSNBC and CNN did as THEY made a hard left turn. I contend the outcome of that election had nothing to do with the messenger and everything to do with the message. MSNBC and CNN shouted the left’s message as loudly as they could while attacking the republican party, the tea party and Fox News and for their part, Fox continued to exhibit the message from the left in contrast to that from the right. In an act of defiance, the left, leading up to the midterm, refused to go on Fox News. In doing so, Fox could report statements made by candidates on the left but as the left refused to be vocal on Fox, they were unable to argue their point or attempt, after the fact, to alter of clarify their own statements once they knew those statements weren’t playing well with Middle America.

The downfall of the left in that election was NOT that they didn’t get their message out, it’s that they did.

Suffice it to say that while those on the left, the liberals, progressives and socialists will continue their harping against Fox News by claiming Fox NOT to be a real news source, to be the de facto leader of the republican party, misleading and liars, know that they are blindly following their seeing-eye Chihuahua on a leash held by George Soros. Fox News has not wavered and has not moved any farther to the right. The message from the right via the Tea Party HAS moved more to the right and Fox News simply reports that message. MSNBC and CNN on the other hand HAVE moved substantially farther to the left and both have chosen to deride and attempt to degrade the Tea Party via the much farther left message being supplied by liberals.

It is not the messenger that Media Matters, liberals and socialists want to shut down, it’s the message.

To those on the left; Fox News is NOT your worst enemy, your own message and those who amplify it are and Fox is your scapegoat. Until you accept that reality, Fox News will always have Middle America and your Chihuahua will continue to yip at the moon at the back of a dead end alley.

And THAT’S the way it is.