When Will the Mainstream Media Stop Rehabbing Ex-Fox News Stars?
Working At Right-Wing Propaganda Network Should Taint Your Journalism Career
Although I write for Medium, I’ve actually worked in the media for about 20 years and had my work published in Salon and Four Four Two, the world’s largest soccer magazine. Having said that, I don’t understand why the mainstream media does things.
Maybe it’s because I live in California, which is considered to be a media backwater, (New York City is the capital of the media.) If you want to be an entertainment star, you move to Los Angeles, but if you want to be a star in news media, you move to New York.
As an outsider to the clubby media centers of Washington, D.C. and New York, I question a lot of the things they do. One of the biggest complaints about the media is the alleged liberal bias. This is a false narrative, as I often explain to people.
The media leans to the right, because many media outlets such as CNN and NBC, are owned by huge corporations. Those corporations want to keep people buying products, and so they don’t let the message get too liberal. Even MSNBC, which tends to lean to the left, doesn’t overtly push progressive ideas such as universal healthcare and a reduction in defense spending.
Another reason why the media isn’t liberal is because its spent decades bending over backward to be balanced. Right-wingers have accused the media of being liberal for 30 years and that propaganda has seeped in. Now many mainstream outlets go out of their way to provide a “both sides attitude,” even if one side has descended into white nationalism/fascism.
According to a 2017 Philadelphia Inquirer article, Politics professor Caroline Heldman said Bolling expected sexual favors in return for appearances on his show. He also had to apologize several times for making racist and sexist comments on air. … That was back in 2016, but now Bolling has a gig on the far-right network TheBlaze and Sinclair, which is also right-leaning. But he’s also made guest appearances on MSNBC. All seems to be forgiven. This is a clear case of white privilege because if I had done the kinds of things Bolling’s been accused of, it would have been the end of my media career, period!
But here are some other problems I’ve identified with the media
Rehabilitating FOX News Stars
FOX News is not a news channel. It’s right-wing propaganda and essentially the communications arm of the Republican Party. FOX News Channel (FNC) violates many of the basic rules of journalism I was taught in college more than 20 years ago.
Most of the people who appear on FOX News, especially the opinion-based personalities, are not journalists. So you would think that being an ex-FOX News employee would permanently taint you, right? Apparently not.
Many mainstream outlets seem to be falling over themselves to welcome FOX News talent back into the mainstream media. Take the example of former FNC employee Eric Bolling.
He parted ways with the network after it was revealed he sent unsolicited penis pictures to female co-workers. He was also accused of sexual harassment by several female employees.
According to a 2017 Philadelphia Inquirer article, politics professor Caroline Heldman said Bolling expected sexual favors in return for appearances on his show. He also had to apologize several times for making racist and sexist comments on air. He once accused President Barack Obama of “drinking 40s.”
That was back in 2016, but now Bolling has a gig on the far-right network TheBlaze and Sinclair, which is also right-leaning. But he’s also made guest appearances on MSNBC. All seems to be forgiven. This is a clear case of white privilege because if I had done the kinds of things Bolling’s been accused of, it would have been the end of my media career, period!
Megyn Kelly Tries to Clean Up Her Act At NBC and Fails
Another example of trying to rehab a right-wing propagandist was seen in Megyn Kelly’s disastrous stint at NBC. Kelly spent several years at FOX News pushing racist propaganda such as the non-existent threat of the New Black Panther Party and claiming Jesus Christ was white.
Still, some genius decided to give her a $75 million contract. She lasted about two years and was hounded out after she made a gaffe about wearing blackface. Even Kelly’s colleagues at NBC were glad to see the back of her.
But this is still going on. The latest case of trying to rehab a FOX News escapee is Catherine Herridge. She worked at FOX News for more than 20 years, yet someone at CBS decided she would fit in the mainstream media. If I was hiring for a job at a legitimate news organization and saw someone with 20 years at FNC on their resume, that application would go in the trash can.
Herridge seems to have continued her old gig of pushing right-wing propaganda at CBS. Media critic Eric Boehlert published a withering article about Herridge’s record on PressRun.
“When CBS News last year hired a Fox News reporter who had been aggressively wrong about the Benghazi story for three straight years, it was not a good sign,’ said Boehlert. “It’s distressing when a mainstream media outlet is so anxious to make nice with conservatives that they hire someone like Catherine Herridge, whose career is filled with misinformation work. But that’s what CBS did, despite the reporter’s long and shameful history of acting more as a Republican partisan than a straight news reporter.”
Boehlert also stated an example of Herridge’s incompetence. In 2016, she said Hillary Clinton was being investigated by a team of 150 FBI agents. She was off by 140! Boehlert added that an error such as that would get you fired at a normal news outlet, but FOX News is neither normal nor a news outlet.
However, several Washington insiders are getting tired of Herridge’s antics. According ton a May 15 Daily Beast article. Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign staffer called her a “right-wing hack.” He might have a point.
Herridge is also unpopular with her fellow CBS staffers who do real journalism, not right-wing propaganda.
“Personally I and a few of my other colleagues are really frustrated because we thought she wanted to come to CBS to do real news, not just GOP talking points, but she’s just doing more of the same stuff,” according to a CBS insider.
The mainstream media can never truly be liberal because of its corporate ownership. And the situation isn’t helped by embedded right-wing propagandists, such as Bolling, Herridge and Kelly.