Commentary

You Don't Need To Be A Weatherman To Know The Veracity Of Fox News Blows


On the eve of Fox News’ upfront advertising pitch, a top Wall Street analyst took a jab at the network’s potential contribution to Fox Corp.’s overall value.

In a note to investors entitled “Fair and Balanced,” BMO Capital Markets’ Daniel Salmon maintained his price target for Fox’s shares at $37 each. At the time of the May 6th report, Fox’s shares were trading at $37.57. Do the math.

The jab shouldn’t be surprising, given that Fox News has been, as Salmon notes, “the anchor of Fox Corp.’s profitability,” but the timing of issuing the report just before the network was poised to pitch its biggest advertisers for next year’s ad deals -- well, do the math.

As for Fox News’ actual upfront pitch, it appears to be a mixed bag of mixed signals, soft-pedaling the fact that the overall news cycle has slowed down (thank goodness) following a half dozen years of intense nuttiness, fueled in good part, by Fox News itself.

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On the one hand, Fox News said it plans to expand beyond politics, according to Variety’s Brian Steinberg, who goes on to quote Fox News sales chief Jeff Collins as saying: “We are in no way leaning back from politics. We are leaning into it.”

An even more scathing analysis of Fox News’ upfront comes from media watchdog Media Matters’s News Director John Whitehouse, who called the upfront pitch to advertisers “as dishonest as its programming.”

In it, Whitehouse bullets eight lies made by the network during its upfront pitch. I’ll spare you most of them, but I can’t resist sharing Whitehouse’s observation on one, a new Fox News weather service:

“Fox News is pitching advertisers on the idea of a Fox Weather product. The network has a long history of explicitly lying about climate change. And make no mistake, it’s still telling those lies today. Fox even mocks the term 'extreme weather'.”

But my biggest question is why advertisers and agencies of good conscience even entertain Fox News' upfront pitch, much less buy into it.

Whatever your politics are, if you put your money on Fox News, you are betting on a media outlet that has -- and continues to make -- its profits by churning up discord by reporting dishonestly. Yes, I know it's a brilliant ratings strategy by appealing to an alternative audience based on alternative realities, but if you sponsor it, you're complicit in it, too.

While speaking to one top agency media executive about that, he confided in me that at least one of his clients tolerates ad buys on Fox News, because it needs positive coverage by its sister network, Fox Business Channel. If true, that's a whole other level of complicity.

I just hope a year from now I'm no writing a similar opinion piece and asking why, much like the weather, everyone complains about Fox news, but nobody does anything about it.

10 comments about "You Don't Need To Be A Weatherman To Know The Veracity Of Fox News Blows".
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  1. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, May 13, 2021 at 10:32 a.m.

    Joe - your bias is beyong pale at this point.  You provide no examples of the dishonest reporting you insist exists while conveniently overlooking news outlets like the NYT, NBC News, Washington Post all having to retract stories which are proven to be false - retracting stories on Giuliani as a recent example and in the past, 3 employees resigned after admitting fabricated stories about Trump/Russia, Rachel Maddow/MSNBC's "Al Capone Vault"  moment when she had Trump's taxes that turned out to be a big nothingburger, Fortune, CNN, MSNBC and C-SPAN retracting stories on Russiagate, and the list goes on.


    It's just odd that you find so much wrong with FOX News and right leaning outlets often and act like media buyers are the problem giving them ad dollars while you conveniently ignore lousy reporting habits on left-leaning news outlets.


    I understand it's an opinion piece, but all you're doing is exposing your bias and total lack of impartiality in your ability to evaluate both sides.

    Many popular news outlets have become incredibly sloppy and there is no accountability and we wonder why the American people remain so divided.  It's difficult to have an educated debate when viewers have to question all the news, all the time.

  2. David Mattson from Not Ordinary Media, May 13, 2021 at 11:11 a.m.

    @Dan - tens of millions of us, Joe included, are sick of the toxicity Fox has injected into our discourse.  Joe is under no obligation to be impartial about that.  When, and if, Fox ever fully practices objective journalism people like Joe won't feel obligated to call them on it. Until that day, and especially right now, it is one's duty to shine a light on the ills Fox is responsible for.  As Justice Louis Brandeis of the Supreme Court said in reference to anti-semitism in the first half of the 20th century, 'Sunlight is the best disinfectant' 

  3. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment replied, May 13, 2021 at 11:20 a.m.

    @David - you literally just echoed that impartiality is not necessary as long as you have a common enemy - facts be damned - I don't like this, so let's cancel it - while totally ignoring your "side" is just as guilty.  Impartiality and objectivitiy is no longer a requirement for news outlets when evaluating their worth?


    SMH.

    I'm not defending FOX News so much as I'm condemning the willful blindness to Joe's ongoing bias.  Mediapost is a trade publication - and as such - readers and subscribers expect the industry to be reported on wholisticaly and fairly - balanced if you will.


    Finally, while MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, CNBC all present themselves as "news outlets," arguably, the majority of their programming consists of overtly political pundits blabbering on with their opinions vs. reporting actual news.  All of these news outlets actually offer little news and mostly opinion.  Who's fault is that?

  4. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, May 13, 2021 at 11:37 a.m.

    @Dan Ciccone: Just to clarify, MediaPost is a publisher (not a publication) that publishes a variety of trade publications, and at least one explicit political point-of-view blog -- "Red, White & Blog." (Sub-headed "Truth, Mud & the American Media") -- which is intentionally biased because it is explicit commentary.

    That said, we welcome alternative points-of-view, including the ones posted to these comments fields. And if anyone wants to submit a well-articulated rebuttal, we would most likely publish it, biases and all. You can send them to joe@mediapost.com.

    Lastly, like all of the publications MediaPost publishes, this one is up to readers to read and/or opt out of if they don't want to see it or find it irrelevant. There's an "unsubscribe" button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out.

  5. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment replied, May 13, 2021 at 1:02 p.m.

    Alternately Joe, you can always have the debate instead of concluding every response with "if you don't want to see it, just unsubscribe."


    I appreciate opposing viewpoints supported by critical thinking and objectivity.  You are certainly entitled to your opinion - but the more opinion pieces I read of yours, it is clear you are not only bias, but you have an objective while simultaneously not upholding the same standards to the entities that you support.

    Finally, why does this publisher find it necessary to promote an ongoing biased political blog to attack 50% of its readers?  What is the objective?


    Admitting bias and lack of objectivity in opinion pieces negates any other reporting you provide outside of this blog.

  6. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, May 13, 2021 at 1:06 p.m.

    @Dan Ciccone: Then for the life of me, I don't understand why you don't unsubscribe? If you ask me, that is the Mother of All Alternative Realities.

    But I think Einstein had a theory for that too.

  7. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment replied, May 14, 2021 at 9:25 a.m.

    I just gave you a half a dozen examples of competing networks that have had to retract stories.  People were forced to resign or fired over willful misrepresentation of facts to push an agenda vs. reporting news...and you offered no examples of FOX's "lying."

    If you disagree with their pundits world view and opinion, that's fair.  However, your premise is that FOX News pushes lies and if you can't offer any examples of their staff being fired or reprimanded for falsifying information, then your opinion piece here is hollow.

    Finally, your usual response to anyone who disagrees with you is to tell them to unsubscribe.  You're not seeking truth or objectiveness - you're just pushing your own agenda.

    And no, I won't unsubscribe as there are other journalists with Mediapost who offer objective insight within the industry.  Thankfully you keep them on staff to maintain credibility and they offer balance to your false narratives.

  8. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, May 14, 2021 at 9:36 a.m.

    @Dan Ciccone: LOL You do understand that when news organizations "retract," correct, clarify, or add new reporting that is actually the ultimate form of journalistic honesty? It's called setting the record straight. Journalism is not an exact science, and has been described as the "best first draft of history." The rest is revision. But unlike honest news organizations, Fox News prefers to settle its worst reporting in court. Just ask Seth Rich's family.

    But you are right about one thing, there are other journalists at MediaPost who offer objective insight within the industry. Thanks for sticking with them. But you know, you can actually unsubscribe from "Marketing Politics Weekly," without unsubscribing to the rest of what you receive from MediaPost. Just go to the bottom of the newsletter and click the part that says this:

    "If you'd rather not receive this newsletter in the future you may opt-out here."

    Otherwise, keep kvetching if you want.

  9. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, May 14, 2021 at 9:51 a.m.

    There's a difference between an honest mistake and retracting a story because the staff fabricated facts and sources.  When people are fired or forced to resign, it's not because of honest mistakes.  I gave you examples where it was proven people fabricated stories - they weren't honest mistakes.

    You're better than that.

  10. Joe Mandese from MediaPost replied, May 14, 2021 at 10 a.m.

    @Dan Ciccone: Agree with your last statement: We are better than that. Thank you!

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