Fox News hears from Al Gore

As readers of The Hill and some other news organizations know, former Vice President Al Gore has now ripped into Fox News after a leaked internal e-mail from within Fox led Gore and global warming advocates to charge that Fox News coverage is biased on the issue.

Equally interesting, a new poll from highly respected World Public Opinion finds many Americans believe false information about major events, and a higher percentage of misinformation is believed by those who regularly watch Fox News, compared to other news outlets.

Let me be clear. There are many highly professional and widely respected journalists at Fox. I would include Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith among them. But there has also been a very clear ideological and partisan bias that has become very visible in the news hours at Fox.

Personally I do not care if evening political hosts at Fox, or MSNBC or CNN, take hard-line positions or even make campaign donations. That is a matter for management to decide and for employees to honor. The audiences are well-aware of the viewpoints of the evening hosts.

What is different about Fox is that there is clearly a partisan and ideological bias in a growing segment of its straight news coverage. This may be the reason that the World Public Opinion poll found such an abnormal number of factually inaccurate beliefs among Fox viewers, who are exposed to political bias under the guise of straight news.

It is perfectly fine for Rupert Murdoch to make substantial million-dollar partisan donations to Republicans. It is more troubling for Roger Ailes, clearly a brilliant television executive, to make partisan charges, including the ludicrous charge that President Obama is a socialist.

Ailes is the president of Fox News, and it is even more troubling that with the owner and the president of Fox News making hard-line political statements, these partisan views are infecting the news hours at Fox.

Al Gore is right and the writer of the internal Fox News memo (presumably leaked by a Fox News employee disturbed by the bias) is wrong.

The overwhelming majority of credible scientific opinion is that global warming is a very serious and legitimate danger. All news coverage should state this, because it is true. If a minority of dissenters disagrees, they should be given a fair voice, but facts are facts, truth is truth, science is science and journalists including Fox should respect and report this.

Regarding the World Public Opinion poll, if I were an executive at MSNBC or CNN I would find an independent pollster to take a landmark survey and find out more information about whose viewers are better informed of the real facts of major issues!

Al Gore is right. No amount of partisan campaign donations by media owners or partisan political statements by news presidents can change the facts, the truth or the science.

Let’s keep the opinions in the opinion hours, and the facts in the news hours!