Journalistic malpractice

Fox News is a money machine for its owners, not a dependable news source. If you listen to Fox, you’re being fed lies.

We now know for certain that Fox’s management prioritized profits over honest reporting. And the revelations keep coming.

On December 2, 2020, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott (photo, left; bio here), ordered Meade Cooper, executive vice president of prime time programming, to stop fact-checking Trump’s election lies because doing so was infuriating Fox’s audience and “bad for business.” (See email below and story here.)

Multiple adjectives describe this kind of behavior by a news executive: Malpractice. Dishonest. Crook. Cheater. Liar. In any legitimate news organization, it would be career-ending (Dan Rather was fired for much less than this). It’s the journalism equivalent of a lawyer stealing client funds, which is a disbarring offense.

(Note: A Fox spokesperson says Scott wasn’t shutting down fact-checking, but rather “one host calling out another,” i.e. wanting Fox’s on-air personalities to be on the same page, see story here. Regardless, it had the effect of suppressing truth.)

But Fox News liars don’t get fired or professionally sanctioned; they get contract renewals and big salaries. They’re paid to bring in viewers, who bring in advertising dollars, which maximizes profits. Journalism isn’t what Fox does, and everyone needs to understand that.

Working for Fox is likely to destroy a journalist’s reputation. Megyn Kelly knew when to leave. For Maria Bartiromo, it’s too late. I listened to her when she reported financial news for CNBC, but I’ll never believe her again. She sold her integrity for a fatter paycheck.

What about people who watch Fox shows? This is a free country, and that’s their privilege, but I don’t trust people who get their information from a dishonest source. They’re either gullible, or dishonest themselves.

Journalism has standards for a reason: Accuracy matters. You wouldn’t put up with a cashier who makes incorrect change, or a company that mislabels its products, so why would you tolerate a dishonest media organization? Whatever reputation Fox might have once enjoyed, they’ve burned it to the ground. What’s left is a propaganda shop that panders to people who insist on being lied to.

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