Whatever Happened to “Fair and Balanced?”


by Sharon Rondeau

Has Fox News lost its appeal to those seeking “fair and balanced” reporting?

(Jan. 27, 2016) — On Tuesday evening, presidential candidate Donald J. Trump announced that he would not be participating in the last Republican debate on Thursday night before the Iowa caucuses, which begin on Monday.  He will instead be hosting a fundraiser for disabled veterans.

As the date for the debate neared, Trump made it known that he believes Fox News’s Megyn Kelly should not be one of the moderators based on her approach toward him at the first debate on August 6, 2015.  At that time, Kelly appeared to some viewers and to Trump to have tailored certain statements statements and personal questions specifically to Trump.

Members of the media are not expected to take a political position for or against any candidate for office.

On August 13, The Los Angeles Times reported that the same panel of moderators from August were scheduled to co-anchor the January debate before the Iowa caucuses.

Fox News’s CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes stated publicly that “the entire network stands behind her” as one of three Fox News moderators for Thursday and that she would not be replaced.  An unnamed Fox News “spokesman” issued a response to Trump’s dissatisfaction with Kelly by stating, “We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

On Wednesday evening, Trump posted on his campaign website that “It was the childishly written & taunting PR statement by Fox that made me not do the debate, more so than lightweight reporter, @megynkelly.”

On Thursday night, Politico announced that “National Review aims to take down Trump.”  The following morning, National Review launched an orchestrated campaign to convince voters not to support Trump because he is not a true “conservative.”  Participants in the campaign have admitted that the effort is “unprecedented.”

On Friday evening, Kelly hosted a panel of three writers from National Review making the case for why Trump should not receive the Republican nomination without hearing from anyone with an opposing view.  National Review Online editor Rich Lowry reported that reaction to its special edition aimed to thwart Trump’s candidacy was “incredible.”

National Review continues to disparage Trump, focusing on what it says are admitted affairs Trump had while married.  However, it included an article which argued that “…Trump appears to be leading in all the polls. Important, and from a conservative perspective, respectable spokesmen, such as the venerable Bob Dole, are moving deliberately but determinedly toward Trump. If Trump is successful in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and Cruz is his nearest challenger, the traditional Republican apparatus is finished for this year, and this publication and The Weekly Standard will have embarked in the lifeboats with it, the devil take the women and children.”

TIME reported on Wednesday that Kelly spoke with the publication on Tuesday, before Trump made his announcement that he would boycott the debate, stating of Trump, “He doesn’t care about that P.C. culture. It’s a breath of fresh air.”

On her show on Tuesday evening, Kelly interviewed a representative of the “celebrity news” magazine “Extra,” opining that “It would probably be a bad decision to not show up at the FOX News debate” just as Trump announced his decision.

Of the upcoming debate, Kelly told TIME, “I won’t be asking any questions to which I don’t know the answers.  It’s your journalistic responsibility. It’s a security blanket.”

On Tuesday evening, the Trump campaign announced that Trump would hold a fundraiser for wounded veterans on Thursday night rather than participate in what he termed “a bad deal.”  On the same night, Kelly hosted Michael Moore, known to be politically left-leaning, in person on her show wherein Moore applauded Fox News for its stand in maintaining Kelly as a moderator.  Kelly did not  present an opposing viewpoint.

On Fox’s “Your World” hosted on Wednesday, host Neil Cavuto interviewed Bob Vander Plaats, who is also a national co-chairman of the Cruz campaign.  Cruz has been polling in second place to Trump in recent surveys, although the two are separated by a significant margin.

Not surprisingly, Vander Plaats criticized Trump for withdrawing from the debate stage, contending that Iowa voters would punish him for it.  On Tuesday, Trump claimed that Vander Plaats had asked for free accommodations at some of Trump’s hotels and that Vander Plaats “begged me to do an event while asking organizers for $100,000 for himself—a bad guy!”

Cavuto failed to host a guest with an opposing view, either simultaneously with Vander Plaats or afterward.

On Wednesday morning on Fox & Friends, a reporter following the presidential race from Iowa summarized Trump’s decision not to debate as one in which he would “take his ball and go home.”

Joel Pollak of Breitbart News wrote in a Wednesday editorial that Fox News is treating Trump unfairly by Fox and that the other candidates should unite with him on the issue rather than resorting to “attacking” him.

Trump is scheduled to appear on Bill O’Reilly’s “No-Spin Zone” on Wednesday evening, which Trump posted on his website.

Although Ailes stated that “the entire network” supports Kelly’s moderation tomorrow evening, according to New York Magazine, Trump’s withdrawal from the debate has “thrown Fox News into chaos.”  The UK Daily Mail reported on Wednesday that Ailes has been calling Trump, his wife and daughter today in an apparent attempt to convince Trump to reconsider his debate stance.

On Wednesday, one of the debate moderators, Chris Wallace, told the left-leaning The Wrap that Fox has treated Trump “too well.”

Fox News’s “The Five” continued the pattern when co-anchor Dana Perino stated just after 5:00 p.m. ET that she had “never been more proud” to work at Fox after witnessing Ailes’s defense of Kelly.

Fox’s mantra, at least in the past, was “Fair and Balanced,” with which some former viewers now disagree.

One Response to "Whatever Happened to “Fair and Balanced?”"

  1. tommylaws   Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 12:09 AM

    I gave up on ‘FAUX’ news about 3 years ago when O’Lielly whitewashed the Fraud’s Social Sec. number and his ‘born in HI’ fiction. I trust them as far as I do Harry Reid.

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