The New York Times reports that the organizers of the Netroots Nation conference (the new name for Yearly Kos) have a juvenile plan to require Fox News reporters to wear special press badges that mock them. For their part, Fox News says that matter is moot because they weren’t planning to go anyway.
What I want to know is, why do they hate Fox News so much that they are willing to look like a bunch of petulant kids?
“Fox News calls itself fair and balanced, but it’s not,” Josh Orton, political director for Netroots said in an interview. He accused the network, which is popular among conservatives, of misrepresenting itself.
Fox News is slanted to the right. So what? Almost every major news outlet is slanted to the left. So why does the existence of a right-leaning outlet give the left such fits?
For my part, if I don’t like someone’s news, I just don’t watch them. Furthermore, there are even a few left-leaning news outlets I like (NPR and the Washington Post). But for the “Netroots”, it seems that not only do they not want to hear the other side, they don’t want anyone else to hear it either.
The irony is that Fox News actually is fairly well balanced, according the Groseclose-Milyo quantitative measure (pdf) I’ve mentioned before. According to Groseclose-Milyo, the most balanced media outlets are:
- Newshour with Jim Lehrer (55.8)
- CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown (56.0)
- ABC Good Morning America (56.1)
- Drudge Report (60.4)
- Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume (39.7)
The scores are adjusted ADA scores (see the paper), where a higher number is more liberal and the average US voter’s score is roughly 50. Sure enough, Fox News comes in on the right, but it is among the most balanced of the 20 outlets they considered. (It is also one of only two to score right of center, the other being the Washington Times.)
The New York Times, incidentally, is tied with the CBS Evening News for 18th place at an abysmal 73.7. The paper makes the amusing calculation that if one wants to get a balanced news perspective, one should put about twice as much weight on Fox News as the New York Times. This would result in a combined score of about 51, slightly left of center.
A nice graphical representation of the results appears after the jump.
ASIDE: The data are averages for the period 1993 to 2002. The scores for NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and Drudge Report, which might be surprising to some, are explained in the paper. Briefly, NPR and Drudge Report are more balanced than many people think, and the Wall Street Journal’s news is an entirely separate operation from its famous editorial page.