Amid the uproar over the Democratic National Committee announcing that it would not let Fox News host any primary debates, right-wing apologist Mollie Hemingway took to the pages of The Federalist to defend the network while slamming CNN, MSNBC and the major networks for being far more biased towards liberals than Fox is towards conservatives.
One could pick apart nearly every sentence of Hemingway’s column for its bogus points and comparisons. For example, among the CNN anchors she criticizes for “blur[ring] the line between news and opinion,” she cites Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon. If anyone who has ever caught CNN in primetime confuses Cuomo and Lemon for straight news anchors instead of opinionated hosts, I don’t know what to tell them. It is unclear how CNN promotes these two as neutral anchors when they are hosting obvious opinion shows.
But there are really two major points to make about this column. One, in defending Fox News, Hemingway neglects to mention that she is a paid Fox contributor. When a writer for Vox mentioned this fact on Twitter, Hemingway responded with a healthy dose of sarcasm:
Dang it!! I was trying to keep it a secret, made more difficult by appearing on Fox News most nights. Such as tonight, on Special Report at 6 pm. https://t.co/JVnojcPNHH
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 7, 2019
Mentioning that you receive a paycheck from a network you are defending in writing is standard journalistic ethics. This is true even if, in the formulation of Hemingway’s fans, “everybody knows” that you work for that network. If The Federalist doesn’t care about promoting standard journalistic ethics, then it is hard to credibly complain about other reporters not conforming to your own ideas about what counts as media bias and what doesn’t.
The second point is that you are really giving the game away if you are complaining about bias from left-leaning journalism outfits while uncritically amplifying tweets from alt-right troll and One America News host Jack Posobiec, a notorious conspiracy theorist who made his name in 2016 by promoting the tremendously fake Pizzagate story:
This is terrifying, as is the whole podcast with Twitter execs. The bureaucratic structures and systems put in place to keep conservative speech down without admitting that’s what they’re doing is really something to behold. https://t.co/2LC8GaV2Ec
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 6, 2019
Twitter has its problems, but it is still a private company with the right to keep speech it finds offensive or abusive off its platform. That’s capitalism. When President Ocasio-Cortez seizes the company and turns it into a public utility, then this will be a more salient argument.
I mean, say what you want about Jake Tapper, he has never to my knowledge pushed a maliciously false conspiracy theory whose source was a likely fake Facebook account.