AOLeft Leaning

Miss Ariana sold The Huffington Post to AOL? This was just weird to me, until I learned that AOL has been a pretty big go-to site for news for the past couple of years. Hmm. Who knew? Here in the Silicon Valley, AOL has been dead since the 90s. It was known as the internet for kindergarteners. AO-Hell is my favorite, albeit not too clever, term of endearment.

This deal will make Miss Ariana richer than she already is. The real winner here is AOL. The Huffington Post is too “mainstream” for the far Left. It is an excellent site for left-leaning centrists and of course, liberals. It has a huge audience. That will definitely bring in the revenue dollars.

I don’t know if AOL is already a left-leaning news outlet. If it’s not, it just became one. Good thing, though. If you find you have a base audience, run with it. FOX – Right. MSNBC – Left. Try to be in the middle like CNN? You’ll end up like CNN.

Why didn’t my beloved Yahoo! court Miss Ariana? Oh yeah because of CEO Carol Bartz. She is smart as a whip when it comes to all things tech. Yet, Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, has a strong sales and marketing background. In a advertising revenue driven company, one clearly has the advantage.

I congratulate the marriage of The Huffington Post and AOL. Maybe Yahoo! can step in as a homewrecker in one way or another to get some love money. Hey! Dreams are free.


25 responses to “AOLeft Leaning

  • Terrance H.

    Not sure I agree Fox is Right-leaning, Spinny. According to many media research outlets, they are, in fact, fair and balanced.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Please tell me you’re joking, Terrance.

      • Terrance H.

        No, I’m not joking.

        Just because the notion has been repeated so many times that it’s now accepted as fact doesn’t mean it’s actually fact. It’s common verbiage, to be certain, but it’s a bunch of nonsense to boot.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        lbwoodgate noted Brit Hume and NPR commenting on FOX’s bias. FAIR (Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting) has been commenting on their right wing bias since 2001. Even in 2004, FOX was failing their Fair and Balanced Test. I don’t think they do much to hide their Right leanings with hosts like Hannity and Beck. It’s not that it’s a bad thing. It is what it is – a conservative media outlet.

      • Terrance H.

        I think Mr. L. N. Beck noted wrong, Spinny. Look at the nightly line-up on Fox and tell if you really think it’s all that bias.

        You have Brit Hume, who has as many liberals on his program as conservatives. You have Sheppard Smith (on twice) who is more liberal than anything; remember, “We are America! We do not f***ing torture!”

        Then you have Glenn Beck, ‘ol Norman’s cousin, an obvious conservative. You have O’Reilly, who has as many liberals on as conservatives; then you have Hannity, a conservative who likes to mix it up with liberals all the time. And then finally Van Susteren, a liberal.

        So compare Fox’s lineup with MSNBC and tell me who the real bias news organization is.

      • lbwoodgate

        “I think Mr. L. N. Beck noted wrong, Spinny. Look at the nightly line-up on Fox and tell if you really think it’s all that bias. You have Brit Hume, who has as many liberals on his program as conservatives. “

        Really Terrance? By what measure do you estimate Hume’s use of liberals on his show?

        How about this assessment:

        FAIR’s latest study of Fox ’s Special Report with Brit Hume finds the network’s flagship news show still listing right—heavily favoring conservative and Republican guests in its one-on-one interviews. And, according to the study, Special Report rarely features women or non-white guests in these prominent newsmaker inter-view spots.

        In previous studies FAIR has found that looking at a show’s guest list is one of the most reliable methods for gauging its perspective. In the case of Special Report , the single one-on-one interview with anchor Brit Hume is a central part of the newscast, and the anchor often uses his high-profile guests’ comments as subject matter for the show’s wrap-up panel discussion. If Fox is the “fair & balanced” network it claims to be, then the guest list of what Fox calls its “signature news show” ought to reflect a diverse spectrum of ideas and sources. FAIR has studied Special Report ’s guest list on two earlier occasions (Extra! , 7–8/01, 7–8/02).

        FAIR’s current study looked at 25 weeks of Special Report ’s one-on-one interview segments (6/30/03–12/19/03), finding 101 guests. FAIR classified each guest by political ideology, party affiliation (where applicable), gender and ethnicity. When FAIR first studied Special Report in 2001, the dominance of conservative guests was so overwhelming (71 percent of all guests) that we used just two ideological categories, “conservative” and “non-conservative.” The latter included guests with no discernible political ideology. SOURCE

      • Terrance H.

        lbwoodgate,

        Look at who your source is, for crying out loud. What do you imagine they are going to say?

        Do you ever watch Brit Hume, or even Fox News? I suspect not.

      • lbwoodgate

        Terrance,

        Look at who your source is, for crying out loud. What do you imagine they are going to say?
        Do you ever watch Brit Hume, or even Fox News? I suspect not.

        I watch him about as much as you watch(ed) Keith Olbermann or Rachael Maddow.
        So if you are automatically going to disregard FAIR’s assessment based on your perception that they are automatically liberally biased then how do you reconcile your own offering from the Forbes article who claimed he was once a contributor to FOX wshich affects my perception of someone with conservative slants.
        They both essentially used the same analytical approach to assess their outcomes. Check it out:
        FAIR: FAIR’s current study looked at 25 weeks of Special Report ’s one-on-one interview segments (6/30/03–12/19/03), finding 101 guests. FAIR classified each guest by political ideology, party affiliation (where applicable), gender and ethnicity.
        FORBES: CMPA analyzed every soundbite by reporters and nonpartisan sources (excluding representative of the political parties) that evaluated the candidates and their policies
        FAIR’s approach to determine political ideology based on party affiliation seems reasonable but it leaves room to make subjective calls too, as does CMPA ‘s method as they “analyze every soundbite”. Their own political filters are going to tweak things as they view politics and the world. So how can you objectively defend CMPA’s approach and criticize FAIR’s

    • lbwoodgate

      No way, Jose. The only media research outlets that would refer to FOX as “fair and balanced ” are those most likely owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp.

      Perhaps not the definitive source but here’s one that has Brit Hume Confesses To Fox News Right-Wing Bias

    • lbwoodgate

      And what about this report from NPR:

      “Count Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus of the left-of-center magazine The Nation, among those who are utterly unsurprised about the success of Fox News under an Obama administration.

      “For many years we had a bad joke: If it’s bad for the country, it’s good for The Nation,” Navasky said. The political left saw the election of President George W. Bush as a bad thing pretty much right out of the box. But, Navasky says, The Nation’s circulation doubled after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

      “It’s a rallying point for people who feel that they’re not represented at the highest levels of power,” Navasky said. He said he has watched Fox News for years because he finds O’Reilly and others terrifically entertaining. Plus, he says, he welcomes the channel’s conservative check on a Democratic administration. But Navasky argues that the other side’s arguments sometimes don’t get much of a fair hearing on Fox News, even, at times, within news coverage.

      “It is a credibility problem if you distort, omit or otherwise demagogue against the opposition,” said Navasky, who adds that he has reduced how much he watches Fox News over the past year.

  • Christopher Cocca

    Good assessment about Huff being a good destination for left-leaning centrists and liberals. I actually think that in the coming months, right-leaning centrists will also start feel increasingly comfortable there. I’m not saying that Huff will water down because of the merger, but I do believe this positions the Huffington Post exactly where the leadership has been taking it over the past few years: a wider, “beyond left and right” audience. With traditional liberal leanings in place.

    The thing I really don’t get, though, is all of the hate on this deal coming up in the comments on Huff. What I mean is, Huffington is, as you say, not a place for the far, far left. The people saying they’ll be moving on to DK or TPM now that Ms. Huffington sold to AOL are most likely already reading DK and TPM. But they come to HP for interaction, community, and a growing collection of original reportage.

    Full disclosure: I blog at HP. Most of us HP bloggers don’t get paid and there’s been no editorial directive to go out and say how great the merger is. But I have written two posts about it in the last 24 hours, one of which is also on Huffington, and I’m really interested in where people think this whole thing is going.

    Okay. That was a lot. Thanks for posting about this!

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Cool. I didn’t know that HP was going in that direction – beyond right/left. I am lazy, and I get most of my news from Yahoo! simply because it’s in my Mailbox. 🙂

      My take on the hate is that people feel Miss Ariana “sold out.” They hear that AOL is a place for news now, and they probably wonder if the content will change because of the merger. ITA about the people on the far left already reading TPM and DK.

      Thanks for weighing in on this, my fellow X-er. It’s nice to get an insider view of HP.

  • Snoring Dog Studio

    Terrence is joking. “Many media research outlets,” which are themselves biased and right-leaning. Criminy.

  • lbwoodgate

    Like you I found AOL so ’90’s. I left them in 1998 after first signing on in 1996. I was on a message board there that discussed religion. AOL eventually weeded us out because they had complaints from fundamentalist that we were too liberal in our views. And this was with some conservative members who contributed to our conversation.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Wow. I’ve never done the AOL thing, so I didn’t know that about them. I wonder if it’s the same way now.

      And it’s good to see you – Terrance and I were wondering where you were. 🙂

  • Terrance H.

    Have a look at this Forbes article….

    While it seems unlikely, that conclusion is precisely the case, based on an ongoing study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA). That both these seemingly contradictory scenarios are true tells us something important not only about the war between Fox and the White House, but about the changing nature of television news in America. (Disclosure: I was once a contributor to Fox News.)

    The CMPA study compares ABC, CBS ( CBS – news – people ) and NBC evening news shows and the first half hour of Fox News Channel’s Special Report, which most closely resembles its broadcast news counterparts. (CNN and MSNBC have no comparable flagship evening news show; more on Fox’s polarizing talk shows momentarily.)

    So how could Fox have both the most balanced and the most anti-Obama coverage? Simple. It’s because the other networks were all so pro-Obama. CMPA analyzed every soundbite by reporters and nonpartisan sources (excluding representative of the political parties) that evaluated the candidates and their policies. On the three broadcast networks combined, evaluations of Obama were 68% positive and 32% negative, compared to the only 36% positive and 64% negative evaluations of his GOP opponent John McCain.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/14/fox-news-barack-obama-media-opinions-contributors-s-robert-lichter.html

    I don’t think the quoted research organization is bias, but perhaps you’ll disagree.

    No perhaps about it….

    • lbwoodgate

      yes, I do disagree Terrance. Heres what I found out about the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA)

      The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) is a U.S.-based tax-exempt nonprofit 501(c)(3) media watch organization. On its website, CMPA claims to be politically neutral: “The Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) is a nonpartisan research and educational organization which conducts scientific studies of news and entertainment media. CMPA’s goal is to provide an empirical basis for ongoing debates over media coverage and impact through well-documented, timely, and readable studies.[1]

      CMPA also runs the Statistical Assessment Service, described on the front page of its Web site as a sister organization, which is considered a front organization.

      The Center for Media and Public Affairs was founded in the mid 1980s by S. Robert Lichter and Linda Lichter.[2] According to Salon.com, “the seed money for [the] center was solicited by the likes of Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson”.[3]

      SOURCE

      I think too that your contention that “the other networks were all so pro-Obama” dismisses a lot of the un journalistic commentary made by the likes of O’Reilly, Hannity, Gretchen Carlson and Beck on FOX. Their subjective comments were personal opinions often peppered with contemptuous words and with a tome that was mocking. At least that’s the way they come across to me.

      • Terrance H.

        lbwoodgate,

        Your source doesn’t say the CMPA is a biased organization at all, so I’m curious as to why you bothered posting it; albeit, I suspect the two names at the end have something to do with your suspicions.

        Secondly, it wasn’t my contention that other networks were “so pro-Obama,” but rather, the article I quoted – which I happen to agree with.

        To the point, however, what “un journalistic commentary” are you talking about? And I don’t believe Glenn Beck worked for Fox during the campaign. In fact, I know he didn’t, because his show didn’t appear on Fox until January of 2009 . But those commentators were not talking to themselves, you realize; they were debating the issue with pro-Obama folks, so whatever commentary they made was undoubtedly countered.

        You don’t have to take my word for it that Fox is a fair news outlet; watch it once in awhile and see for yourself.

      • lbwoodgate

        Terrance,

        “Your source doesn’t say the CMPA is a biased organization at all, so I’m curious as to why you bothered posting it; albeit, I suspect the two names at the end have something to do with your suspicions.

        Seriously? You expected Sourcewatch to say CMPA was biased? Wouldn’t that be a bias on their part making them less credible? Would you be more trusting of a reference site that sought seed money from George Soros?

        “To the point, however, what “un journalistic commentary” are you talking about? And I don’t believe Glenn Beck worked for Fox during the campaign.”

        WOW Terrance! Do you really see the world this subjectively?

        TUESDAY, JUL 28, 2009 16:05 ET
        Fox’s Beck calls Obama a racist
        The president has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture,” the host says.

        I really don’t have time to get you a comprehensive list of all the un-journalistic comments made by FOX noise hosts. That what search engines are for.

        And I don’t remember making a condition about whether or not Beck worked for FOX “during” the campaign. Why would you use this as a yard stick for “un-journalistic behavior” on FOX?

  • Terrance H.

    lbwoodgate,

    If you’re trying to prove a bias, why bother quoting a source which neither confirms of denies your contention? It seems as though you are claiming the organization is bias because the “seed money” came from Pat Buchanan. That sounds an awful lot like flim-flammery, if you don’t mind my saying.

    Glenn Beck is a moron, but regardless, he didn’t work for Fox News during the campaign, and the article I quoted was discussing various networks tone toward candidates during the campaign. That aside, I don’t think it’s wise to rest your entire argument on a single commentator who is not reporting the news so much as commenting on it. He is the conservative response to Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann (before he was fired), and other liberal commentators on MSNBC.

    I would only caution you not to make an assertion if you’re unwilling or unable to support it with something substantial. And whatever “un journalistic commentary” you are speaking of are not coming from journalists, but pundits, like Glenn Beck. He’s not a journalist, and I don’t believe he or Fox ever claimed differently. He’s a commentator, a pundit.

    • lbwoodgate

      Perhaps we should go back to your original premise Terrance: “According to many media research outlets, they are, in fact, fair and balanced.”

      Other than your offering from the Center for Media and Public Affairs, who are these “many research outlets”?

      But let’s look as some significant data that should suffice as “something substantial”

      Fox News president Roger Ailes was an adviser to three past Republican presidents—Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush—and reportedly secretly advised George W. Bush while running Fox News (Washington Post, 11/17/02)
      Fox News executive vice president John Moody regularly handed down memos cheering and defending Bush administration actions. For instance, following a 2003 Bush Mideast initiative, Moody (6/03/03) wrote to staffers, “His political courage and tactical cunning [are worth] noting in our reporting through the day.”
      Fox News senior vice president for programming Bill Shine referred in March (NPR, 3/23/09) to Fox as “the voice of opposition” to the Obama administration.
      There’s evidence that Fox News made hiring decisions based on party affiliation. For example, Andrew Kirtzman, a respected New York City cable news reporter, was interviewed for a job with Fox News in 1996, and afterward said that his interviewers wanted to know what party he belonged to. “They were afraid I was a Democrat,” he told the Village Voice (10/15/96). When Kirtzman refused to tell Fox his party ID, “all employment discussion ended,” according to the Voice. Mara Liasson—touted as an in-house “liberal” by Fox executives—reportedly assured Ailes before being hired that she was a Republican (New York, 11/17/97).

      As noted by the Columbia Journalism Review (3–4/98), several former Fox employees “complained of ‘management sticking their fingers’ in the writing and editing of stories to cook the facts to make a story more palatable to right-of-center tastes.” Said one: “I’ve worked at a lot of news organizations and never found that kind of manipulation.”

      Those tendencies are obvious to a reasonable observer of Fox programming. Some examples:

      Special Report, long-billed as Fox’s signature news show, was launched to cover President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal. A 2001 FAIR study (Extra!, 7–8/01) found that the show’s one-on-one interview segment favored Republican guests over Democrats by a startling 8-to-1 ratio; after anchor Brit Hume promised to look into the problem of biased guest selection a 2002 FAIR study showed the the show had improved to a mere 3-to-2 advantage for Republicans, before returning to a 5-to-1 Republican/ Democrat slant in 2004 (Extra!, 7–8/04). Special Report’s “Political Grapevine” segment is a a roundup of news shorts primarily portraying Fox enemies—Democrats, liberals, civil rights leaders, etc.—in a bad light (Extra!, 7–8/01). The show’s regular panel discussion is typically slanted to the right as well, with conservative commentators “debating” centrist reporters. 

      The late Tony Snow, a Fox News Sunday anchor, Rush Limbaugh fill-in and former chief speechwriter for George Bush, Sr., often seemed confused about whether he was a journalist or politician. While a Fox news anchor in 1996, Snow endorsed GOP candidate Bob Dole for president in the Republican National Committee’s magazine Rising Tide (New York, 11/17/97).

      Later, as he was ostensibly covering the 2000 GOP convention for Fox, Snow jumped up on a stage to give a speech to the Republican Youth Caucus when a scheduled speaker failed to show. Snow was followed on the platform by Sen. Trent Lott, who began with the cheer, “How about Tony Snow in 2008?” Snow left Fox to become George W. Bush’s press secretary. 

      On election night 2000, George W. Bush’s cousin John Prescott Ellis was in charge of Fox’s “decision desk” tracking election night returns. The network was first to declare Bush the winner in Florida, and therefore of the presidency. According to the Washington Post (11/14/00), Ellis spent part of the night on the phone with his cousins George and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, “giving them updated assessments of the vote count.” (Ellis boasted of these conversations to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer—11/20/00.) A few hours later, Fox, and the networks that followed suit, would retract the Bush call, but the premature decision by Ellis and his team left the enduring impression that Bush had actually won the election and that Democrats who legitimately challenged that result were sore losers.

      In the spring and summer of 2004, few media outlets were as relentless as Fox News in promoting claims by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s Vietnam record was fabricated (Atlanta Journal, 9/4/04)—charges that were patently fraudulent (FAIR Media Advisory, 8/30/04). In the month of August alone, Special Report averaged nearly two segments per night (42 segments in 22 broadcasts) mentioning the Swift Boat Vets’ charges. 

      During the 2004 campaign, Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron posted a story on the Fox News website containing made-up quotes from John Kerry, including “Women should like me! I do manicures,” “Didn’t my nails and cuticles look great?” and “I’m metrosexual” (Media Matters, 10/4/04).

      On Fox’s news program Happening Now (2/10/09), anchor Jon Scott’s report on how the Democrats’ stimulus bill had grown larger over time was almost entirely based on an unedited Republican GOP news release. In fact, as Media Matters pointed out (2/10/09), the segment tracked so closely to the release copy that one of Fox’s on-screen graphics even repeated a typo from the GOP release. 

      Fox News has an affiliated website, Fox Nation; as Eric Alterman noted (Nation, 11/9/09), Fox uses the tag “Fox Nation Victory!” to trumpet such stories on the site as “Obama’s Drive for Climate Change Bill Delayed,” “Congress Delays Healthcare Rationing Bill” and “Obama’s ‘Green Czar’ Resigns.”
      Pundit Mara Liasson–who is touted as an on-air “liberal” by Fox executives–sits on the board of the conservative human-rights group Freedom House; New York magazine (11/17/97) cited a Fox insider as saying that Liasson assured president Roger Ailes before being hired that she was a Republican.
      Each episode of Special Report with Brit Hume, for example, features a three-person panel of pundits who chat about the day’s political news at the end of the show. The most frequent panelist is Fred Barnes, the evangelical Christian supply-sider who edits the Murdoch-owned Weekly Standard. He sits proudly on the rightward flank of the Republican party (and often scolds it for slouching leftwards).

      Now if those don’t suffice as at least reasonably substantive Terrance about FOX’s political leanings, then you may be guilty of denial . Roger Ailes of FOX once told the Washington Post that “The reason you may believe {FOX} tips to the right is you’re stunned at seeing so many conservatives,” Well duh! Ailes believes, as I think you do Terrance, that FOX is considered balanced in the sense that their strong right wing news reporting is counter to what is perceived as a liberal bias in mainstream media. That notion may have had some credibility 20 or 30 years ago but the facts just don’t bare that out any longer


    • lbwoodgate

      Sorry about the way all the bold type is jammed together. Formatting this properly is still a bit tricky for me

      • Terrance H.

        lbwoodgate,

        First, allow me to respond to your contention that I’m picking and choosing who to believe based on whether their position is tune with my own. I reject FAIR’s assessment of Fox News because they are a notorious liberal organization. In fact, Source Watch, a source you used previously, says of FAIR:

        Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is a group that criticizes the fairness and accuracy of the news media from a left-leaning standpoint. It produces press releases and reports that document and criticize conservative media bias and censorship.

        FAIR is not interested in the truth, but rather, providing ammunition for Left-wingers, regardless how preposterous it is. That’s the difference between the commentary I offered, which is by it’s very nature mere opinion, and FAIR’s pseudo-factual assessment.

        And no, the bold text does not suffice. Where is the source? And just because someone has worked for a certain organization, or leans a certain way, doesn’t mean he or she is incapable of fairness. If you contend different, then one can deduce there is no such thing as an unbiased reporter, as we all have our opinions. Roger Ailes may in fact be a Republican, but that doesn’t mean he instructs his underlings to slant the news; the very notion this is sufficient reason to disregard Fox, as well as my opinion, is preposterous at best.

        The rest is mere conjecture, heresy, et cetera…Watch Fox News once in a while and see for yourself. I MSNBC all the time, solely because I like to know what the enemy is up to. Do you ever watch Fox News?

  • lbwoodgate

    Terrance,

    You’re going to quote Sourcewatch regarding FAIR? Good. check out what they say about FOX News.

    “The Fox News Channel (FNC) is a cable news channel owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.[1] Considered largely conservative in its projections and perceptions, it occasionally ventures into original news topics that are uncovered by other outlets. Fox is considered by many as a quasi-arm of the Republican party or at least the conservative movement”

    Here’s one of the links they used:

    <a href="http://www.editorandpublisher.com/Headlines/study-finds-no-media-bias-on-war-hits-fox-news-as-most-onesided-44875-.aspxStudy Finds No Media Bias on War, Hits Fox News As Most One-Sided

    By: E&P Staff

    Published: March 13, 2005

    NEW YORK The Project for Excellence in Journalism’s “State of the American News Media 2005,” released late Sunday, disputes charges of antiwar media bias but found that President Bush received more “negative” coverage in the 2004 campaign than did Sen. John F. Kerry.

    And it determined that Fox News Channel was the most one-sided of all major news outlets. In fact, the idea that Americans are engaged in “partisan” news consumption isn’t supported by the research. With the exception of Republicans who prefer Fox News, most media use mirrors the general population, the study found.

    Gotta get to work. Will get back with you later

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