Evangelos C Gatseos
Professor Suzanne Chandler
4 – December – 2012
Media Review #8:
Conservative Television and Print
In the December 2nd, 2012 broadcast of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace the main topic discussed was the looming fiscal cliff. On 1 – January – 2013, the George W. Bush era tax cuts are set to expire, which will raise taxes on a majority of United States citizens. The sitting President, Barack Obama, originally extended the Bush Tax cuts during the “Economic Crisis” which marked his first term. Chris Wallace and Fox News had far reach and influence for their Sunday broadcast because they were able to interview both Speaker of the House John Boehner and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. The conservative bias from Fox News did not go unnoticed because the interview with Secretary Geithner was clearly more vitriolic than Boehner’s. Another example of bias and misinformation occurred when Wallace prefaced his segment and said, President Obama wants to “raise taxes on all of us.” Which is categorically untrue; the President merely wishes to raise taxes on the highest 2% of Americans. This statement was meant to rally the Fox News base.
During the interviews Wallace, among the soft questions he lobbed to Boehner, still threw a couple curve balls. Conservative bias was also on display when Fox News showed a graphic titled “White House Plan” and displayed information, which did not comport with Secretary Geithner’s statements. In fairness to Wallace, Secretary Geithner was less affable and aggressive towards Wallace than Boehner was. Fox News also showed fairness to Geithner and Boehner, because they displayed their achievements in higher education and military service, which portrayed both interviewees as legitimate sources. However, other conservative news sources, specifically print media, was not as fair to the President or Secretary Geithner.
On 3 – December – 2012, Allen McDuffee posted an article on the Washington Post’s blog. McDuffee’s article titled “‘Fiscal cliff’ and tax hike stalemate, Grover Norquist warns of Tea Party resurrection,” extolled, in detail just how dangerous the fiscal cliff is for Americans. McDuffee, an accomplished journalist and writer, cited his sources well and often. He also provided parenthetical citations with links to his sources. From Politico to the Cato Institute, McDuffee’s reporting was very well written. While Fox News’ broadcast was more substantive, or rather, high profile, McDuffee’s article provided real reporting with cited sources. McDuffee’s article was also very clear, if Obama’s tax proposals were to be forced through the Republican controlled Congress, a resurgence of the TEA Party would envelope the American democratic process and spell doom for Democrats. Doom and gloom was the rhetoric from both parties during the election; and the heated “fiscal cliff” issue is no different.
Cato Institute’s Daniel J. Mitchell, writing for the conservative New York Post, described the upcoming “fiscal cliff” as a “walk in the park” compared to what the American welfare state will become in the next ten to twenty years. Mitchell eloquently illustrated a dis-topia, which put the United States into a similar debt crisis to Greece, Spain and Portugal. He went further to purport the United States would be owned by those who owned its debt. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Libertarian think tank Cato Institutes, wrote with considerable bias, but if his readers agree with him the bias will not matter. It will simply reinforce the values and ideologies they already hold.
Fear the Obama! Fear the taxes!! FIGHT FOR LIBERTY!! (or something like that…)