Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Just in time for Christmas... Fox inks deal with Clearchannel

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Just in time for Christmas... Fox inks deal with Clearchannel

100 million people who get their news in their cars from their radio dial will now be getting their news from “America’s most trusted news source” (according to Bill O’Reilly). Fox “News” will now be the only source of news for Clear Channel, which owns 1200 radio stations nationwide.

What does this mean? It means the conservative leaning Newscorp, led by Rupert Murdoch has struck another deal in corporatizing the media and inserting his bias into the audience. Somehow, Fox “News” will have more prestige and influence as it amplifies the conservative agenda to an even larger audience.

I thought it was bad when Sinclair media tried to hijack the airwaves in order to publicize its conservative anti-Kerry message only weeks before the election. However, Fox “News”, which employs more conservative biased “reporters” than any other news source, is now going to be the nations most listened to news source.

It is staggering to allow this hijacking of the airwaves. Why not let the stations themselves pick who their news comes from? Fox “News” has people such as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, actually hosting prime time news “analysis” and “debate” shows. Shows hosted by confessed conservatives that leading up to the election would put up graphics and highlight X number of days until George Bush is re-elected. It is a news channel that focused entire programs (such as Greta Van Sustern’s) on the Scott Peterson case when the Abu-Ghraib scandal broke. In
fact, it has devoted much of its time to the Scott Peterson trial instead of arguably more important news such as the war in Iraq and domestic policy issues that most other news sources have been highlighting due to their importance. Fox “News” instead trashes other media outlets stating their liberal bias.

Brit Hume has been known to compare death tolls in Iraq to murder rates per capita in California. He will now replace Peter Jennings and other reporters on radio waves everywhere.

Fox “News” unfairness is well documented in many studies including a study by PIPA at the University of Maryland found that people who rely on Fox “News” for information "are significantly more likely to have misperceptions" about the war in Iraq. In fact, eighty percent of Fox viewers were found to hold at least one misperception, compared to 23 percent of NPR/PBS consumers. This reaction seemed to be dose dependent, as the more people watched Fox “News”, the more likely they were to hold these misperceptions. For more documentation
about fox “News” bias, see the outfoxed documents site.

Clear Channel itself has political leanings with its founder, R. Steven Hicks, being a Bush pioneer ($100,000 or more in donations to the campaign). His brother Tom Hicks bought the Texas Rangers from Bush in 1999 and made Bush a millionaire 15 times over. I am surprised the brothers have not been offered a position somewhere in the cabinet’s recently posted jobs. (read more here and here)

This recent contract should come as no surprise to the public since the only defender of the public’s right to fair media, the FCC, last year allowed media corporations to consolidate further. Michael Powell’s column in the New York Times earlier this week did not address this more important issue of media fairness and chose instead to dictate what is or isn’t indecent. He put forth only the case for what is actionable in the sense of indecency and forgot to mention his role last year in changing the FCC restrictions regarding owning a radio stations in the same market.

On a technicality, I am sure this particular case does not apply since Fox "News" is not necessarily owning any of Clear Channel’s radio stations.

However, when it comes to news, Fox will be owning many millions of ears.