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In viewership, Fox goes down with a fight

Old 07-11-08, 11:31 AM
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In viewership, Fox goes down with a fight

I didn't see this posted. From The Globe And Mail:
In viewership, Fox goes down with a fight

SINCLAIR STEWART

Globe and Mail Update


July 9, 2008 at 5:38 AM EDT

NEW YORK — Forget about that quadrennial blood feud known as the U.S. presidential election. In New York, at least, the most intriguing tussle between left and right in recent days doesn't centre on Barack Obama or John McCain, but on a pair of media organizations – The New York Times and Fox News – that wield considerable political clout in their own right.

Detractors of Fox, America's No. 1 cable news network, have always complained that it twists the truth, refracting people and events through a conservative prism until they acquire the distortions of a fun house mirror.

These criticisms, of course, are metaphors – or at least they were until a week ago, when a Fox program aired unflatteringly altered photographs of two New York Times staffers whose work had raised the broadcaster's hackles.

The doctored pictures, which weren't identified as such to viewers, have stirred a froth about journalistic ethics in media circles here, pitting liberal-minded broadsheet against populist network in a conflict that bears all the scars and sniping of a political race.

Composite images Courtesy of mediamatters.org


Images taken from Fox News screen shots next to actual images of New York Times staffers. (mediamatters.org)
The Globe and Mail

The seeds of the dispute were sown last week, when Times reporter Jacques Steinberg wrote a story on cable news ratings. The piece acknowledged that while Fox remained the most popular news destination for prime-time viewers in the coveted 25-54 demographic, its once dominant lead had eroded, with rivals CNN and MSNBC adding viewers at a faster clip.

A few days later, on the morning show Fox and Friends, co-anchor Steve Doocy described the article as a “hit piece” and averred that Mr. Steinberg had been doing a “bunch of attack stories” on the network.

Further, he added, Mr. Steinberg's boss, Steven Reddicliffe, was a former employee of the Fox media empire and reportedly had “an axe to grind” with the company.

At the same time, Fox ran modified pictures of both men. Mr. Steinberg's teeth had been yellowed, his nose and chin made more bulbous, and his ears jugged. Mr. Reddicliffe was given black bags under his eyes, and his hairline was pulled back.

A Times columnist struck back Monday. Veteran media scribe David Carr portrayed the Fox media relations team as a group of vindictive bullies, and raised the spectre of anti-Semitism in the network's visual treatment of Mr. Steinberg. The column elicited feverish activity on blogs over the past two days, with one, Gawker, publishing a scathing piece about a Fox public-relations executive.

“In a technique familiar to students of vintage German propaganda,” Mr. Carr wrote of Mr. Steinberg's image, “his ears were pulled out, his teeth splayed apart, his forehead lowered and his nose was widened and enlarged in a way that made him look more like Fagin than the guy I work with.”

A spokeswoman for Fox declined to discuss the matter, pointing only to the network's characterization of these insinuations to The Times as “vile and untrue.”

Todd Gitlin, a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University in New York and an unabashed critic of Fox, said he wasn't surprised by the network's treatment of the Times staffers.

“To speak of Fox News ethics is like speaking of the ice on the Hudson River today,” he said. “There's very little they won't do to prove a point and, obviously, what they're trying to do is stick it directly to The New York Times, and Steinberg and company.”

Some media observers view the bitter contretemps between the two news outlets as an outgrowth of the media industry's transformation, not just in terms of the proliferation of online media, such as blogs, which have changed the way journalism is practised and blurred ethical lines, but in terms of the industry's dire economics, which have fuelled more intense competition for readers, viewers and, ultimately, advertising dollars.

Even so, digitally altering photos like this is not the sort of thing media experts would expect to see on Canadian networks – and if they did, there would probably be a lot more regulatory fuss.

“I think we would be more likely to see a complaint filed to the Canadian Radio-television [and Telecommunications] Commission or have the issue brought before a press council,” said Marc Raboy, the Beaverbrook chair in ethics, media and communication at McGill University in Montreal.
I think that this was utterly classless and immature (though I wouldn't necessarily say that the intent was antisemitic), even if the original NYT article was a "hit piece" as Doocy states. I'm particularly baffled by the Fox spokesman's characterization of the accusations as "vile and untrue", especially with the evidence staring them in the (digitally altered) face.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-11-08, 12:04 PM
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I agree it's a petty/childish tactic, but I'm confused about the headline. I expected something about Fox losing numbers/ratings but I'm not seeing anything like in the article itself
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Old 07-11-08, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
I agree it's a petty/childish tactic, but I'm confused about the headline. I expected something about Fox losing numbers/ratings but I'm not seeing anything like in the article itself
I agree.
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Old 07-11-08, 12:12 PM
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LOL @ the nose they gave the second guy.
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Old 07-11-08, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
I agree it's a petty/childish tactic, but I'm confused about the headline. I expected something about Fox losing numbers/ratings but I'm not seeing anything like in the article itself
I used the original Globe headline, which I assume is in reference to the original NYT article about Fox losing ground against CNN/MSNBC in terms of ratings.
The seeds of the dispute were sown last week, when Times reporter Jacques Steinberg wrote a story on cable news ratings. The piece acknowledged that while Fox remained the most popular news destination for prime-time viewers in the coveted 25-54 demographic, its once dominant lead had eroded, with rivals CNN and MSNBC adding viewers at a faster clip.
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Old 07-11-08, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
I agree it's a petty/childish tactic, but I'm confused about the headline. I expected something about Fox losing numbers/ratings but I'm not seeing anything like in the article itself
You skipped this paragraph?

"The piece acknowledged that while Fox remained the most popular news destination for prime-time viewers in the coveted 25-54 demographic, its once dominant lead had eroded, with rivals CNN and MSNBC adding viewers at a faster clip."
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Old 07-11-08, 01:57 PM
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Pretty childish.
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Old 07-11-08, 02:12 PM
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I remember when USA Today ran that "doctored up" photo of Condi Rice. They claimed they didn't manipulate the photo either yet it was quite different from the untouched version.

I'm sure we all remember.. Oh and the one on the left is the doctored photo

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Old 07-11-08, 02:13 PM
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I guess you can equate Fox News and USA Today.
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Old 07-11-08, 02:13 PM
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Those photoshops look like Conan O'Brien's 'If they mated'. They look so bad.
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Old 07-11-08, 02:20 PM
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Also they ran this on "Fox and Friends". It's not like they were using the photos as real news photos. Would people freak out at ABC NEWS if Bill Maher ran a funny photo of someone?
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Old 07-11-08, 02:32 PM
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Does Bill Maher work for ABCNews?
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Old 07-11-08, 02:57 PM
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That's pretty childish for a network that wants to be known for it's "fairness."
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Old 07-11-08, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by General Zod
Also they ran this on "Fox and Friends". It's not like they were using the photos as real news photos. Would people freak out at ABC NEWS if Bill Maher ran a funny photo of someone?
Although 'Fox & Friends' is a ridiculous name for any show not featuring children or puppets, they do discuss the news of the day and current events. It's on Fox News and is meant to represent the network as much as O'Reilly or Hannity.

And they absolutely were using these photos as real photos. Not once did they suggest that these specific photos were altered as a joke. The only way someone could possibly think they were part of a gag was near the end when they showed one guy's face superimposed on a poodle, while the other guy was holding the leash. Ridiculous.

Here's the clip:
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Old 07-11-08, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
Those photoshops look like Conan O'Brien's 'If they mated'. They look so bad.
Agreed.
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Old 07-11-08, 05:35 PM
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O'Reilly touched on this on his show.
He pointed out how the N.Y. Times published unflattery photos of him.
So he went on to say shouldn't FOX NEWS be allowed to do the same to the NY. Times?
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Old 07-11-08, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by wm lopez
O'Reilly touched on this on his show.
He pointed out how the N.Y. Times published unflattery photos of him.
So he went on to say shouldn't FOX NEWS be allowed to do the same to the NY. Times?
doctoring photos and publishing "unflattery" photos are two different things. it's not that complicated. also, doesn't Fox News claim to be above the level of the left wing media?

Shouldn't they be taking a higher road with all that fair and balanced business? I didn't think so.
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Old 07-11-08, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wm lopez
O'Reilly touched on this on his show.
He pointed out how the N.Y. Times published unflattery photos of him.
So he went on to say shouldn't FOX NEWS be allowed to do the same to the NY. Times?
Uhhh, no.
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Old 07-11-08, 08:37 PM
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Fox News. Fair and FUCK YOU!
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Old 07-11-08, 10:41 PM
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with rivals CNN and MSNBC adding viewers at a faster clip."
Maybe CNN and MSNBC are getting it. I hear a lot of people who like Lou Dobbs who is playing the same old Bill O Reilly populism and MSNBC has Glenn Beck who seems to be very popular with moderate/conservatives.
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Old 07-12-08, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by BKenn01
Maybe CNN and MSNBC are getting it.
Man, I hope so. It would be a really welcome development if both channels were to suddenly decide to focus on in-depth reportage and insightful, thought-provoking analysis.

Or is that not what you meant?
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Old 07-12-08, 10:57 AM
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Man, I hope so. It would be a really welcome development if both channels were to suddenly decide to focus on in-depth reportage and insightful, thought-provoking analysis.

Or is that not what you meant?
Actually I meant maybe they are trying to appeal to a broader base. You know somebody besides the sheep swing voters who flip from party to party.

Fox is also King when it comes to marketing. Ever seen the Hispanic Weather Babe? They know how to attract viewers.

As for the indepth reporting and thought provoking analysis I doubt any of them will ever get there.
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Old 07-12-08, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BKenn01
As for the indepth reporting and thought provoking analysis I doubt any of them will ever get there.
Not if they're engaged in a race to the bottom, like you're advocating.
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Old 07-12-08, 11:37 AM
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Those Fox pictures aren't real? Dang, I was hoping they could get Steven Reddicliffe to play The Leader in the next Hulk movie.


Last edited by Ky-Fi; 07-12-08 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 07-12-08, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wm lopez
O'Reilly touched on this on his show.
He pointed out how the N.Y. Times published unflattery photos of him.
Are you implying that there are flattering photos of O'Reilly?!?
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