‘Fair and Balanced’ My Eye!

Praise must go to Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President David Newby for braving the “Fair and Balanced” segment of Fox News on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Governor Jim Doyle’s signing of the bill to call for the state’s education standards to include labor history and collective bargaining has gathered some national attention; it may indeed be the first law of its type in any state.

Thus, it has become national news and Newby accepted an invitation to appear on the “Fox and Friends” morning show for a brief 4-minute session along with a misinformed opponent of the law, Michael Dean, of a rightwing group called First Freedoms. Newby knew it would be a gamble.

Needless to say, even the promo to the session framed the issue in a one-sided way. It asked, in effect: Do you want your tax dollars going to build propaganda on behalf of labor unions? Hardly an honest question.

The interviewer asked two questions, giving Dean the opportunity to answer first in each one, and in each case he permitted Dean to prattle on with his propaganda line using up minutes far beyond any “fair and balanced” measure would support. Each question misstated the facts, calling the law “a mandate” on schools (which it is not, since it calls for the state standards to included labor history but does not dictate how to teach it). Dean repeatedly called it a mandate, too.

After Dean’s one-sided, and totally fact-challenged tirade ended, Newby was given only 15 seconds to answer. All totalled, Dean had 127 seconds of time, more than twice as much as Newby had with 53 seconds. Such is “Fair and Balanced” as Fox sees it!

Given his limited time, Newby did an excellent job in summarizing the need to provide “balance” (real balance, that is, not the Fox kind) in the teaching about workers and their unions in the schools.

Great job, David! Perhaps there may be some “fair and balanced” listeners who will take time to learn about the issue more completely.

My only personal regret: in awaiting David’s appearance, I had to listen to about 10 minutes of Fox News. Even that was too much torture to bear.

I like to think I look at issues fairly (and truly do want to hear both sides), but Fox is so over the top in misstatements and lies and obvious bias, it’s just too much to handle before breakfast.

Judge for yourself if this interview was “Fair and Balanced,” by clicking here


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