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Veteran Advisor

Explanation of fox news

There was an excellent game-show satire on “Saturday Night Live” back in the 1980s — a Jeopardy-type contest called “Common Knowledge.” Steve Martin played the host and Nora Dunn portrayed increasingly exasperated contestant Jeane Kirkpatrick:

Jeane Kirkpatrick: History.

Steve: Alright! History, for $100: His assassination sparked World War I.

Jeane Kirkpatrick: Archduke Ferdinand. (Buzzer!)

Steve: Oh, sorry! The answer is Lincoln... Abraham Lincoln.

The rules? “Questions for our show are selected by educators from Princeton University to express a broad range of common knowledge that every American should possess,” explained Steve. “Answers for ‘Common Knowledge’ are determined by a nationwide survey of 17-year-old high school seniors.”

I was reminded of this sketch while reading over online comments in response to my column last week. The posters eventually got onto the topic of whether the media is overwhelmingly liberal or conservative.

It’s one of the many questions on which modern-day conservatives and non-conservatives disagree.

Conservatives will allow Fox News tilts right, but insist the rest of the media — “NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and PBS,” as one online commenter listed them — are liberal.

For non-conservatives, Fox doesn’t just tilt rightward; it lists at something like 75 degrees. The rest of the media is far closer to center, with a few exceptions.

But “the liberal media” has been drummed into our heads so relentlessly and effectively these past two decades, it has become “Common Knowledge” — with just as little factual support as the answers on that SNL parody.

“We get it,” wrote Bruce Edward Walker of the Heartland Institute in an essay last month. “Fox leans right and most other outlets tilt left.”

(Buzzer!) False, Mr. Walker.

Fox leans right — and conservatives have successfully spread the big lie that the mainstream media leans left to justify the Fox agenda. It’s convenient, it has even become ‘common knowledge,’ but it isn’t the case.

There are some examples of a true liberal media, no doubt. The New York Times editorial page is proudly so. Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” is probably the most subversive liberal program out there, presenting, as it does, a left-wing ideology enmeshed in other liberal values: home, community, church, song and celebration. And, until Friday night, MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” showed what a true liberal news and opinion program looked like.

After years of conservative examples of liberal media consisting of arguments like, “Dan Rather raises his right eyebrow whenever he mentions George W. Bush,” a robust and enthusiastic liberal telecast seemed to be off the charts.

Again, from an online commenter last week: “Olbermann and (fellow MSNBC host Rachel) Maddow aren’t leaning to the left –– they are raving far-left liberals.”

Raving or not, Olbermann signed off for the last time Friday. His departure doesn’t change the balance, or tip the scales vis a vis liberal vs. conservative media; the latter continues to enjoy a hefty advantage. But it takes just a little more weight out of assertions that the mainstream media are liberal.

That doesn’t mean the claims won’t still be made. We’ve heard it before and we’ll hear it again: “the liberal media.” After all, it’s common knowledge.

Messenger Post managing editor Kevin Frisch’s column appears each Sunday in the Daily Messenger in New York. Contact him at (585) 394-0770, ext. 257, or via email at


By Kevin Frisch

17 Replies
Senior Contributor

Better expanation of so-called mainstream news


Senior Contributor

Re: Better explanation of so-called mainstream news

Veteran Advisor

Re: Better expanation of so-called mainstream news

You'll have to do way better than that if you want anyone but the rightwingnuts to believe you.

Senior Contributor

Not that you will be swayed by facts but.

The article is just one of those liberal pull stats out of your rec tum things.


Just to answer a few because you won't bother to read more;


# Most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely)

GIVE US MONEY, and we'll give you jobs. That was the promise President Barack Obama made when he asked Congress for a $789 billion stimulus bill. The cash, he said, would create millions of jobs during the next two years. Without the stimulus, the administration warned in a January report by economic advisers Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, unemployment by the end of 2010 would reach as high as 9 percent.
Well, Obama got his money. Since then, the economy has shed more than 2 million jobs and the unemployment rate has climbed to 9.4 percent. By May 2009, the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) had changed its message. Now the stimulus would "save or create" 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010.
Measuring total jobs "saved" by a piece of legislation is as difficult as measuring total crimes prevented by police patrols. That's why no agency--not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics--actually calculates "jobs saved." As the University of Chicago economist Steven J. Davis told the Associated Press, using saved jobs as a yardstick "was a clever political gimmick to make it even harder to determine whether this policy has any effect."
A look at the CEA's job creation model undercuts its promises even more. The model's calculation of saved or created jobs is based on a macroeconomic estimate, not on actual data. According to the authors, the estimate rests on a "rough correspondence over history" that indicates a 1 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) represents an increase of I million jobs. They might as well have said the estimate was picked at random.

# Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)

WASHINGTON -- House Democratic legislation overhauling the nation's health care system would add more than $230 billion to the federal budget deficit over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper of legislation on Capitol Hill.

# The economy is getting worse (26 points)

The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million in May.  The number of Americans receiving food stamps has set a new all-time record for 18 months in a row. But there is every indication that things are going to get even worse.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that the number of Americans on food stamps will increase to 43 million in 2011.

In the United States today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to an all-time record of 35.2 weeks. Americans who are out of work are finding it incredibly difficult to get back into the workforce.

The U.S. government keeps trying to pump up the economy with debt, and in the process things are getting wildly out of control. According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

According to Erskine Bowles, one of the heads of Barack Obama's national debt commission, the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion just on interest on the national debt by 2020.  Keep in mind that the entire U.S. government budget is less than $4 trillion for the entire year of 2010.

Social Security will pay out more in benefits in 2010 than it receives in payroll taxes. This was not supposed to happen until at least 2015.

80% of last year's college graduates moved right back home with their parents after graduation

Any rational observer (and clearly U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner does not qualify) can see that the foundations of the U.S. economy are coming apart.  The rapidly accumulating mountain of debt that has fueled our "prosperity" is impossible to repay and is going to progressively choke the life out of our economic system.  The good jobs that we have allowed to be shipped out of our country are never coming back.  Every single day, more wealth flows out of this country than flows into it.
Anyone who claims that things are getting "better" is either ignorant, completely deluded or is purposely lying.
The U.S. economy is not getting "better".
The U.S. economy is dying.

Veteran Contributor

Re: Better explanation of so-called mainstream news

You liberals try so hard to discredit Fox but the fact is, Fox's formula sells.  People apparently like the programming alot more than they like MSNBC and CNN. 

Senior Contributor

Re i raise you one yeller

post one lie fox has aired and you might want to check the numbers of viewers ---seems most americans want to hear the truth -=-got backbone enough to reply or will you run and hide

Senior Contributor

Re: dear spineless

not so great sure a good thing it had simple in it for you libs --aint life grand

Veteran Advisor

Re: Not that you will be swayed by facts but.

And you got that info where??