The argument that Fox News Channel leans to the right is one that has raged on since the number-one cable news network’s inception in the 1990s. But earlier this year, former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, now a columnist for the paper, called Fox News parent company News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch’s “most toxic legacy.”
On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday, Keller doubled down on that premise and argued against Fox News Channel’s “fair and balanced” slogan.
“They didn’t invent the idea of partisan news,” Keller said. “I mean, there’s a long history of that in our country. But they perfected — they refined it and perfected it and brought to it a degree of cynicism — this sort of ‘we are the fair and balanced network,’ when they are the opposite of the fair and balanced network.”
“If they came out and said we’re the right-wing network, we’re going to favor Republicans and we’re going to present talking heads who are ideologically to the right or the far right, that’s fine. That — it’s a free country. But what I object to is that they’ve abandoned the discipline, the journalistic discipline of trying to be fair.”
Keller’s most harsh criticism was aimed at the Fox News morning program “Fox & Friends.”
“There are some very good reporters on Fox News, absolutely,” Keller said. “And I’ve quoted them in my column from time to time. I mean, you know, I think they also have good people. But they also have — if you turn on ‘Fox & Friends,’ one of their morning shows, which is kind of the Fox equivalent of the ‘Today’ show or one of the others, it is a daily Obama roast. And you do not get that from the morning shows on CNN or NBC or CBS or ABC.”