Skip to comments.Results Are In And Many Agree: Fox News Offered More Balanced Election Coverage Than MSNBC
Posted on 11/03/2010 3:44:36 PM PDT by BigSkyFreeper
If you believe that the cable news landscape is symptomatic of our two-party political system, then you also probably, and predictably, saw a different tone in last nights election results. Fox News presented its coverage with a patina of celebration, while MSNBCs took a more gloom and doom approach. But there was one important distinction between the two outlets: Fox News offered a far more balanced set of analysts for the election coverage than did MSNBC.
Almost all of the results from yesterdays midterm elections are in, and there is little question that the GOP has good reason to celebrate the returns. The U.S. House of Representatives has returned to Republican leadership and though its premature to definitively say as much, many have seen this as a referendum on the Obama administration.
Fox News key decision in their approach to covering the election last night was putting their heaviest hitters on the bench, choosing their up-and-comers Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier to serve as hosts of their coverage, an overt effort to have their news anchors cover the election results instead of their opinion hosts (as opposed to MSNBC.)
But not everyone saw it that way. Writing for the Washington Post, Dana Milbank was rather harsh in his critique, writing:
As Foxs Megyn Kelly announced that one Democratic senator, expected to lose big, was in a race too close to call, she commented: Thats, uh, an interesting update. When Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass), said by Fox commentators to be endangered, cruised to an easy win, Kelly commented: Alas.
The victory party would have to focus on the 60-seat gain Fox projected for Republicans in the House an enormous win, though not at the upper end of the forecasts. Fox commentator Karl Rove, pleading for perspective, said it still qualified as a blowout evening. To be fair and balanced, Fox brought in a nominal Democrat, pollster Doug Schoen. This is a complete repudiation of the Democratic Party, he proclaimed.
Milbanks understandable critique of Fox News tone is diminished by his own lack of fairness in his reporting; it seems like hed have the reader believe that Democratic pollster Doug Schoen was the lone left-of-center voice on the channel. The truth is, FNC offered a panoply of left-of-center voices, including Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, Joe Trippi , Geraldine Ferraro and Kirsten Powers among a handful of others. And, to be fair, there is significant criticism on the left that these pundits might not be the strongest voice for the progressive movement, but they are on the air, nonetheless.
But dont just take our word for it, read what other media critics had to say. Writing for Times Tuned In blog James Poniewozik seemed to agree that Fox News was fairer than the lot:
To be fair, NBC did join coverage earlier, after an all-new Biggest Loser.) Fox News, for all its image as the Republican-friendly network, actually seemed to have the most reserved coverage in tone of the three big cablers, going with a more reserved set and less flashy graphics (granted, by cable news standards) than its competitors. A whiteboard was even employed.
Credit where due, Fox also had a more, well, balanced panel much of the night than its competitor MSNBC. Holding forth from left of center for Fox were the recently-high-profile Juan Williams and Democratic political guru Joe Trippi. MSNBCs main lineup, on the other hand, was basically its center-to-left lineup of nightly hosts: Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence ODonnell.
Politico also drew a similar distinction between the coverage and analysis provided by MSNBC and Fox News:
Although Fox News took the most criticism during this campaign season for its alleged bias, it was MSNBC whose new Lean Forward tagline inspired CNNs promo that wore its point of view most on its sleeve Tuesday night.
MSNBCs election coverage was led by a panel comprised mostly of its opinionated prime-time hosts (Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence ODonnell, along with frequent contributor Eugene Robinson), with nary a conservative voice in the mix. In contrast, Fox Newss was provided by two anchors from its straight-news dayside, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier, along with a panel that included conservatives like Karl Rove as well as liberals like Juan Williams. Bill OReilly and Sean Hannity stopped by only briefly.
Missing from this conversation is CNN, who make very clear that they avoid the opiniotainment racket (and appear to suffer in ratings because of it.) Yes, CNN offered a very balanced slate of political analysts, but did so in the rather absurd visual of two long desks in studio, each packed with what seemed like a dozen pundits of many stripes. Was it a balanced approach? Yes, but someone at CNN needs to thin the herd of pundits, or just offer another studio solution to avoid future issues with the New York Fire Marsall regarding occupancy limits at the Time Warner center.
Fair and Balanced is a tag line for Fox News that often gets derided by its critics (and sometimes most deservedly.) But that does not mean that they dont deserve credit when credit is due.
Fox News graphics sucked. A busy mess.
Agreed. Nice to see Brit back but frankly I thought coverage was superior in 00-06.
FOX was AWFUL!! The graphics AND Megan! They needed to have some political might like CNN had....even MSNBC was better and easier to look at!! Carl Cameron was a joke too.
I switched over to MSNBC once and all they were talking about was the few races that Democrats were projected to win in. I got bored because I was looking for NATIONAL coverage, so I switched back to Fox.
And they needed Michael Barone to help explain and decipher results as they came in. I didn’t see him at all until after 1 am my time.
Now out of that group, who exactly is center? What a joke.
There were actually a few times when Lawrence O'Donnell and Chris Matthews were so unhinged that, in comparison, Keith Olbermann showed fleeting moments of rationality. I caught several instances of him rolling his eyes when O'Donnell and Matthews had really gone off the rails.
Of course after those atypical occasions of momentary decorum, the reprehensible Olbermann bounced back to his more comfortable role of a screaming banshee for the left.
“FOX was AWFUL!!”
So it wasn’t just me...
I loved the fox coverage. They even had Geraldine Ferraro out there! C’mon you can’t say that’s a classy move.
I liked it. Course my feed of Fox News is true HD and not the letterbox on the SD feed.
No kidding....Michael Barone knows EVERYTHING about politics!! Megan knows NOTHING! It was embarrassing!!!
I went to MSNBC but I had to change the station. They were laughing like maniacs. I wondered what drug they were on.
CNN was good coverage.
I thought Kelly was not great at all. She definitely was not ready for “prime time” for some reason. The graphics were awful. I actually thought MSNBC had the best production (meaning graphics, music and feel). The commentary was awful for MSNBC with awful Leftist hacks.
CNN had Roland Martin and David Gergan. No, thanks. I switched back to Fox.
MSNBC was and is an absolute juvenile snob laden arrogant nest filled bunch of assholes. Their display last night was beyond pathetic. I actually found myself enjoying CNN’s coverage a great deal all night and morning. That is until Anderson Cooper needed to get the convo on gay rights having a set back going.
Now out of that group, who exactly is center? What a joke.
If you look at the center between two butt cheeks you might be able to say they resemble that.
David Gergen was very fair minded.
Barone coming in looking exhausted at 1:15 AM was a huge mistake. The guy is the best in the business and knows districts better than anyone...why he was not on-air all night is beyond me.
Fox got a B rating from me for the night.
CNN had 12 people live at all times...12. That was insane to watch but man they had like 6 or 7 Republicans in the mix the entire night. Good stuff.
The author has to be one stump dumb cretin to write an article like this.
I flipped between MSNBC and NBC and NBC had the same graphics which made it appear to look like MSNBC, but NBC was more dull and boring. It’s host was David Gregory and the analyst was Tom Brokaw.
Roland Martin is the biggest Obama boot-licker on TV. Gergen is up there.
That’s all Anderson Vanderbilt talks about when he’s on there, is gay rights.
CNN had the best analysis (mute button for Begala).
Megyn Kelly was a joke on FNC, and I love her. But her goofball stuff works okay during her afternoon show, but out of place in election coverage. And their graphics absolutely blew. I don’t even think they knew how to follow.
Around 7:30 last night Olbermann said there was “nothing historic about what was happening” and he insisted that the GOP was only going to pick up maybe 45 seats.
“Around 7:30 last night Olbermann said there was nothing historic about what was happening and he insisted that the GOP was only going to pick up maybe 45 seats.”
Ha ha ha! Such a know-it-all low life.
I was going to say, where is the center part of that “center-to-left” lineup?
Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro would have been to the right of that bunch of immature imbeciles on MSNBC last night. They laughed and giggled and snickered like a group of 6th graders when interviewing different people.
What is MSNBC
Fox News graphics sucked. A busy mess.
CNN wasn’t bad graphics once I got used to them although, like Fox, they were busy with too many screens going and too much info displayed at the same time. I practiced my speed reading while on both networks.
CNN did an overkill on the number of pundits. My hearing isn’t up to par when 25 people are trying to talk at the same time.
Megan knows NOTHING! It was embarrassing!!!
I love Megan but I agree that she wasn’t up to it last night.
Fox had too many graphics on each screen, making it confusing and useless. They should have presented the returns on a rotation basis of House seats, Senate seats, Governorships, and State Legislatures. Breaking news could have been given in a crawl along the bottom of the screen.
And check out the CREDO article in particular:
“So it wasnt just me...”
No, the Fox graphics were some of the worst I ever saw for an election. Hard to read, poorly organized, and they were basically a random scroll of individual races, both new and old results. There never was an attempt to organize the information in a coherent fashion, like by state, etc.
Note: All white males.