Friday, July 25, 2008

Fair and Balanced?

Let me be the first to say I appreciate Fox News in general. To their credit, they really do try to be fair to both sides in their news coverage. Now that I've said that, I have a bone to pick. And not just with Fox.

I have been involved with media a long time. I still do one weekly radio talk show a week. My television experience has been more limited, but I have had enough of it to know something about it. One of the most elementary things about being the host of a program is that you ought to be fair to your guests.

Again this evening, I saw something that made my blood boil, and this time Laura Ingraham was guilty of it. Laura was substituting for Bill O'Reilly. (By the by, Bill does this often, too, and deserves his knuckles getting rapped). Laura had a guest on, and in the course of the interview, would not let the poor fellow get his side out. Interruptions galore, and then plenty of time for her to state her point of view. Then when the poor guest tried to get his side out, guess what. "Sorry, we're out of time."

That's rude. That's unfair. Look, nine chances out of ten, I am going to AGREE with Laura. I might even agree with Bill O'Reilly a large percentage of the time. The guests they have on (or other talk show hosts) might well be idiots. But let them have their say. Ask them questions, but LET THEM ANSWER IT! Of course, if they're really trying to filibuster or dodge the question, then them on it. But this whole business about asking a question . . .letting your guest get five words out and then interrupting him/her, is really bad television/radio. Again, it's rude. It makes the host or hostess out to look really boorish. If you want to monologue, fine. Don't have guests. But if you have a guest, then be a good host and let them express their view. Shut up. Please.

One other thing about O'Reilly. One of his catchphrases is, "I'll give you the last word." Then he never does. After the guest has "the last word," he ends up making sure HE has the last word. Again, that makes him look boorish. Stop it. Please.

In closing, I must stress that I am fans of these shows. I am seldom in disagreement with them philosophically. But fair is fair, and good media is good media.


Teresita said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Solameanie said...

No profanity here, please.

crownring said...

Finally! It's good to see someone in the media who despises rudeness as much as I do.

BTW, I find myself watching Glenn Beck a lot more than Fox News these days.

Randy said...


I used to watch O'Reilly quite often. I even have one of his books personally autographed. However, I quit watching him for the very reasons you mentioned. You're right, he says he'll give the guest the last word, but rarely does. Like you, in broadcasting if I had a guest, I would let them speak! That seems clear enough to me.

Good post.


Phil Perkins said...

i watch Fox News a lot just because it's the only place one can get coverage that's not slanted to the left about 75 degrees almost all the time, but I find two things really offensive about them.

First, as a guy I have come to realize that part of their overt effort to appeal to viewers is the number of leg-crossers. Almost any time they have a free talk time, one of the talking heads is much more than ma head. It's a blonde with a short skirt and a coffee table instead of a desk. I watched for a long time before I realized this. But just look at all the other networks. I don't know of one that has this approach. None.

Second, they push Rick Warren constantly, it seems.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.