The Instigator
FlavourWave
Pro (for)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
alto2osu
Con (against)
Winning
37 Points

Fox News is Biased

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
alto2osu
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/24/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,954 times Debate No: 9326
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
Votes (10)

 

FlavourWave

Pro

This debate is whether or not fox News is biased, as pro I accept that I have the burden of proof, Con will have to argue a case that Fox News is not biased.

************************************************************
Definitions:
Bias - influence in an unfair way; a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation.
alto2osu

Con

The resolution that we are debating today is regarding whether or not Fox News is biased. For the sake of simplicity, I accept my opponent's definition of "biased," but will frame the debate further below to ensure that a debate actually exists.

In order to negate, I will ask the voters to consider two things: the standard of "biasedness" within the American media, and the definition of "bias" as used by the Pro in Rd 1. Since Pro has given no offensive arguments in Rd 1, I shall proceed with those two considerations, and address any evidence that Pro sees fit to provide in subsequent rounds.

The first consideration is of the American media, or even the international media, as a whole. As the first DDO user to comment on this debate stated: "All news is biased. Case closed." Since the media is fueled by people, it is quite fallible, and subject to inherent bias [1]. It is even susceptible to personal or corporate prejudice than other institutions because the media has a myriad of agendas and goals that it seeks to fulfill, not highest on the list being to give Joe Six-Pack the tried and true news. Therefore, it is key to this debate to consider the base level of bias that exists within the media in general, and then ask ourselves: "Does Fox News simply meet with our expectations of bias, or does it exceed them so much as to warrant separate labeling and censure?" If we don't frame the debate using this rationale, then the resolution is a truism, and is therefore abusive to the Con position.

Lest my opponent can prove otherwise with a preponderance of evidence, I would say that it is impossible for Fox to be any worse than any other locally or nationally syndicated news outlet in the world. Moreover, in places where the media is more overtly controlled by the government, it is clear that stations like Fox are far less biased comparatively simply by virtue of the society under which they operate.

If my opponent should desire to prove this, I wager that I can bring to the table just as many biased, liberalized news stories from outlets such as CNN.

The second consideration must be of the definition of "bias" itself, as provided by my opponent. I quote it here:

"Influence in an unfair way; a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation."

The first portion of the definition is addressed above. It is no more unfair than any other news provider available to the American public.

The second portion, however, is also problematic. In order for Fox to be truly and unadulteratedly biased, it must prevent its viewers access to objective consideration of an issue or situation. To label a media outlet as having this much power scapegoats the laziness of the American public on a news station that exists primarily to earn ratings, and robs citizens of their agency and obligation to seek out truth. Fox, nor CNN, nor the Washington Post, nor the New York Times, nor any other media outlet prevents any citizen from objectively assessing the world around them.

Surveys across the board show that the American public is well aware of the doubt that they should place in even "the most trusted news source" (a logo that CNN has touted since its inception). A 2005 poll showed that two-thirds of the American public disagreed with the statement that "the news media try to report the news without bias." 42% of those polled strongly disagreed with the statement. [2] A 2008 Pew poll showed drops in perceived credibility across the board, with only 18%-30% of media viewers finding the news credible at various nationally syndicated news outlets (interestingly enough, the same Pew poll showed Fox as having the most politically balanced audience, with 39% of regular viewers identifying as Republican and 33% of regular viewers identifying as Democratic...almost all other US news programs have over 50% regular viewers identifying as liberal). Bottom line: American citizens are clearly aware of the inherent bias in media. They have an obligation as free, first world citizens to correct inherent bias by seeking their information from multiple sources.

Hence, the above goes to show that Fox News is not actively preventing anyone from accessing an objective viewpoint. If they were the only news station, or one of a few in a tightly controlled oligarchy of media, then maybe.

In conclusion, Fox News, in properly weighed consideration, does not deserve censure or label outside of any other American media entity.

[1] http://www.media-awareness.ca...
[2] http://www.mrc.org...
[3] http://www.mrc.org...
Debate Round No. 1
FlavourWave

Pro

I would like to thank con for offering up such a well thought out argument, I will not pretend that other news networks are not biased because that is simply untrue, rather my argument will be that the bias spewed by Fox News far surpasses the bias of other news networks.

Now i would like to remark on two points my opponent has made, and I quote:

"Lest my opponent can prove otherwise with a preponderance of evidence, I would say that it is impossible for Fox to be any worse than any other locally or nationally syndicated news outlet in the world. Moreover, in places where the media is more overtly controlled by the government, it is clear that stations like Fox are far less biased comparatively simply by virtue of the society under which they operate."

"The second portion, however, is also problematic. In order for Fox to be truly and unadulteratedly biased, it must prevent its viewers access to objective consideration of an issue or situation. To label a media outlet as having this much power scapegoats the laziness of the American public on a news station that exists primarily to earn ratings, and robs citizens of their agency and obligation to seek out truth. Fox, nor CNN, nor the Washington Post, nor the New York Times, nor any other media outlet prevents any citizen from objectively assessing the world around them."

Point one:
While it is true that Fox News is significantly less bias than state-run media in countries such as N. Korea and Iran, I would argue that it is an unfair comparison because these state-run media outlets were originally institutionalized as a propaganda machine, who's primary objective is to serve the agenda of the government. The media in America has constitutional and statutory protections to allow it to be as objective as possible, now when compared to other news agencies within the these parameters its bias becomes blatantly obvious. Now the reason that i say that the Fox News bias would surpass other news agencies bias is the fact that their bias prevents the viewers from getting actual facts and news, this is made evident with the poll i cite in my next point.

Point 2:
My opponent has made the mistake of assuming that the bias of Fox New doesn't dilute their ability to separate fact from bias, but this is in fact untrue. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted from august 15 - 18, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com.... Now the problem with this is that the bill HR 3200 (health care reform bill) has none of those provisions within it, you can read it for yourself here: http://thomas.loc.gov.... Though this poll only proves that Fox News viewers are uninformed when it comes to the health care debate, I would argue that this represents a larger pattern of misinformation and bias exhibited by Fox News.
alto2osu

Con

I appreciate my opponent's response, and will address some of the key issues brought forth by my opponent using his RD 1 order and tag lines.

Point 1:

In response to my arguments regarding the standard level of bias in the media, my opponent alleges that I make a false comparison between state-run media & what I will call "free enterprise media," which is essentially just media that is more independently controlled, and therefore assumed to be (to some degree) more objective. He also claims that he can prove (via the preponderance of evidence burden I give him in RD 1) that Fox News is grossly more biased than all other news stations in the US.

I will address the latter claim when I address "point 2," as this is where his evidence lies. As for the former claim, it glances over every legitimate argument that I made regarding levels of standard bias, and only focuses on a single clause of an entire paragraph of analysis. Therefore, I would like readers to extend the incredibly important and fair burden I place on the Pro. He is required to prove to you that Fox News, in fact, does exceed the level of bias that one has come to expect from all other media sources in order to win this debate.

Point 2:

This is where my opponent introduces his evidence of Fox's surpassing partiality, as well as drops most of my key points regarding the obligations and responsibilities of the American public. I will begin by addressing the evidence provided.

My opponent states that, because [x] percentage of self-identified Fox News viewers are incredibly ignorant about the proposed universal healthcare bill, that must mean that Fox News is undeniably unfair in their coverage of all news. He states in RD 1:

"Though this poll only proves that Fox News viewers are uninformed when it comes to the health care debate, I would argue that this represents a larger pattern of misinformation and bias exhibited by Fox News."

There are two problems with relying on this poll, and this poll alone, to prove that Fox News meets the burden established in RD 1:

1. As he says himself, the poll only proves that Fox's demographic is ill-informed. The poll, however, makes no claim that it can accurately correlate this ignorance to Fox's coverage. My opponent provided no news stories from Fox that claim HR 3200 contains any of the provisions that Fox's viewers seem to think it does. The more logical and likely scenario is that this misinformation was circulated via political discourse outside of the news room. For example, the alleged "death panels" that the bill supposedly creates was popularized by a political activist named Betsy McCaughey. [1] All major media stations tend to cover the frenzied town hall meetings and multiple pundits and "political experts" that invent and own these misconceptions, but they tend not to peddle them. My opponent needs to prove that Fox News is either inventing these falsehoods or directly supporting their credibility to even come close to proving Fox's involvement in the healthcare misconceptions.

2. This evidence does nothing to negate a citizen's obligation to seek out the truth. Per my analysis and evidence in RD 1, a vast majority of American citizens are well aware of the media's bias, and are therefore responsible for their own fact finding. Even if the Pro can prove conclusively that Fox is spreading blatant misinformation (which he has yet to do), since the American public realizes that this is a possibility, the American public has the duty to locate and consider alternate sources. If citizens are not being forcibly limited from finding alternative news sources and reports by Fox's broadcasts, then Pro cannot claim them to meet his definition of "biased."

As a final note on this second point, I want to make sure that readers extend all of the arguments I made regarding the agency of the citizen to take responsibility for his or her own ideologies. This was, by far, the most important argument I made in RD 1, and it went entirely unaddressed. In a country in which free enterprise media exists, and especially in a country that is peopled with free citizens who clearly understand that media is inherently untrustworthy on face (see all of my evidence in RD 1 for proof), the obligation of each citizen to accept ownership for his or her opinion is paramount. As stated earlier, at the point where citizens *know* that they cannot trust the first news story that they hear and have a true plethora of other sources to verify the accuracy of information, the Pro has no ground to claim that Fox News "prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation."

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 2
FlavourWave

Pro

I would like to hit on some accusations made by my opponent before I make the essential points of my argument.

My opponent has claimed that I glanced over points that he had made, this is one of the portion he refers to:

"It is even susceptible to personal or corporate prejudice than other institutions because the media has a myriad of agendas and goals that it seeks to fulfill, not highest on the list being to give Joe Six-Pack the tried and true news. Therefore, it is key to this debate to consider the base level of bias that exists within the media in general, and then ask ourselves: "Does Fox News simply meet with our expectations of bias, or does it exceed them so much as to warrant separate labeling and censure?"

- This was addressed in my second point (which I have built upon in this round) it would appear that Fox News has purposefully withheld information about issues (such as health care) in order to advance their own agenda, and this would constitute bias. Now it seems that those who watched MSNBC or CNN were more informed, meaning that their reporting (on this issue at least) was less influenced by their bias.

He also refers to this segment

"Surveys across the board show that the American public is well aware of the doubt that they should place in even "the most trusted news source" (a logo that CNN has touted since its inception). A 2005 poll showed that two-thirds of the American public disagreed with the statement that "the news media try to report the news without bias." 42% of those polled strongly disagreed with the statement. [2] A 2008 Pew poll showed drops in perceived credibility across the board, with only 18%-30% of media viewers finding the news credible at various nationally syndicated news outlets (interestingly enough, the same Pew poll showed Fox as having the most politically balanced audience, with 39% of regular viewers identifying as Republican and 33% of regular viewers identifying as Democratic...almost all other US news programs have over 50% regular viewers identifying as liberal). Bottom line: American citizens are clearly aware of the inherent bias in media. They have an obligation as free, first world citizens to correct inherent bias by seeking their information from multiple sources"

- Let me first start off by saying that I completely agree that the American people should strive to seek the truth because it is their responsibly as free citizens, this is an area where my opponent and I find common ground. Regardless however of the fact that my opponent and I agree that there should be a certain expectation of the American citizen to seek the truth, I argue that the poll in which he has cited is misleading, I will not question the fact that 42% of the Americans polled believed that the main stream media is biased, but I will argue that the question was too vague to accurately engage how they feel. Let me introduce you to a a recent IPDI/Zogby poll, it indicates that Nearly two-thirds of those who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias on their TV sets and in their column inches.http://www.zogby.com... Now this may seem detrimental to my argument, however it is not. By rule of logic if such a majority of people feel that the news is liberally bias wouldn't they be less accepting of the idea that a news network such as Fox News has a conservative bias?

Now lets address the most recent arguments you have made.

"The poll only proves that Fox's demographic is ill-informed. The poll, however, makes no claim that it can accurately correlate this ignorance to Fox's coverage. My opponent provided no news stories from Fox that claim HR 3200 contains any of the provisions that Fox's viewers seem to think it does."

This is where my fears of this becoming a "video debate" may be realized: I have included several videos in which Fox News suggests that certain provision exist within H.R. 3200 that are not there.

- The first video suggests that Fox News did take steps to re-enforce the false claims that H.R. 3200 would pay for abortions with tax payer dollars.

- The second video is one in which a Fox News anchor continues to push the idea of "death panels".

- In the third I am pretty sure that Fox pushed the death panel idea, the idea that H.R. 3200 is a government take-over and that it would provide illegal immigrants health care, all of which are untrue.

Now I would like to include some videos that demonstrate Fox News' bias and do not focus on health care reform to offer some diversity.

- Clip #4 Demonstrates how Fox News edited Robert Wexler seemingly in the hopes of misrepresenting him.

- Clip #5 is a video of Fox News falsely accusing a group of Muslims of being terrorists.

Thank you for reading.

Vote Pro.
alto2osu

Con

In this final round, I thank my opponent for the debate. I will address my final arguments in the same order that he chose to.

First 2 Paragraphs (on his response to my point regarding standard level of media bias):

1. My opponent never proves that Fox viewers are more uninformed than any other demographic of news viewer. He simply asserts, probably coming from a liberal perspective, that those who watch MSNBC or CNN are more informed.

2. Even if my opponent could somehow prove conclusively that dedicated Fox viewers are quantitatively more uninformed than everyone else, he would still have to account for the fact that those viewers are choosing to be uninformed. Fox News cannot be biased if they are not forcibly making their viewers uninformed. If those viewers are *choosing* not to seek out other information to balance their ideology, then Fox can't be held accountable for their ignorance. This argument was established in RD 1, and went unrefuted by my opponent until RD 3.

On the new Zogby poll and my evidence/arguments regarding the obligation to self-educate:

1. Whether the American population believes that more news is liberally or conservatively biased is not at issue here. The only thing that my evidence was meant to show is that the American public is well aware that bias is an inextricable part of the US media, hence citizens, no matter what news station they watch or what their own biases are, have the obligation to round out their own beliefs with multiple sources. Based on the results of my RD 1 Pew poll (which, by the way, states that 66% of people polled recognize bias in the media…not 42%), there's no way that Fox viewers aren't aware of media bias, even in their own pet station.

2. I encourage the readers to, again, extend my arguments about the obligation of the citizens of a free and informed nation to responsibly form their own ideology. Fox News is not a monopoly. They do not limit access to other news sources, nor are they the only known news source to their viewers. My opponent concedes that this obligation is existent and a positive obligation, but has yet to prove that Fox is meeting his own definition of "bias," which is "a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation." Lest Fox is preventing the objective consideration of issues, Pro loses. It's a tall order, but I'm not the one who placed it.

On the new evidence brought forth in RD 3:

I would like to remind Pro of something I claimed in RD 1, but that went unaddressed in RD 2 by Pro: "If my opponent should desire to prove this, I wager that I can bring to the table just as many biased, liberalized news stories from outlets such as CNN."

So, in RD 3 of this debate, my opponent finally decided to put this statement to the test. Hence, my primary response is that my opponent's videos merely represent the way in which American media operates: sensationalist claims and misquotations in order to gain ratings. Media is just another cog in the capitalist machine, and therefore they, too, must sell information.

If I were to respond to each of these videos (don't worry…I won't burden my readers with individual responses), I would respond in the exact same way to each: Fox News is making no claims regarding any of the issues that my opponent posts videos on. They are interviewing sensationalist politicians, analysts, and civilians alike who hold radical beliefs on specific issues. This is not new to American media, and my opponent would be hard pressed not to find similar "analysts" in the employ of any news station who are willing to come right out and say biased things when anchors are more limited. Example: if a news station chooses to interview a man who believes the Holocaust never happened, do we assume that the news station is pushing the idea that the Holocaust should be denied?

My secondary response is to provide examples of similar bias occurring outside of Fox News (provided to your right :) ). Even if we set aside political pundits who claim to be informing a grossly uninformed public, like Rachel Maddow, Keith Obermann, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, ad infinitum, who exist on both the left and the right, all news stations use the same turn of phrase and interpretive liberties that Fox employs. This all loops back to the known standard of bias that the public is well aware of.

All of the contained videos are alleged reports of liberal news media bias.

I'm certainly not attempting to claim that the media is more liberally biased than conservatively, or vice versa. The videos I have posted serve to prove my RD 1 statement true, which is to say that I can find as many microcosmic and misinterpreted examples of media bias as Pro can.

Hence, Pro has failed to provide the preponderance of evidence necessary to assert that Fox News meets his definition of bias, and further fails to prove that Fox is coercing its viewers into ignorance.
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongoose 7 years ago
mongoose
I randomly watched one of the videos, and it seems that PRO didn't know what he was talking about. The video claimed that fox spliced the video to make the congressman look bad, even though they always end with a joke, and they shorten it to meet the time limit. The last section is never serious.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
An objective study of news bias was done by the Political Science Department at UCLA. They used a method of comparing sources cited to the sources cited by Congresspeople who had been classified as liberal or conservative by a liberal organization. The result was that Fox News and NPR were among the least biased. Fox has a lot of conservative commentators compared to other sources, and NPR has a lot of liberal commentary compared to other sources, but both manage to keep it out of their hard news reporting. The study showed 18 of 20 news outlets were biased to the left.

The idea that misinformation must be derived from media is false. A poll after the last election showed that a majority of the people who voted for Obama thought that Republicans controlled Congress! Where did that come from? Not even MSNBC would suggest such a thing. Similarly, Fox was in fact diligent in saying that "death panels" were not in the health bill.
Posted by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
RFD Notes:

The resolution was changed to "Fox News is more politically biased than most other media outlets." Con argued for it and Pro accepted it, so I will judge the debate on this criteria.

Before the debate I agreed with Pro. Fox News is incredibly biased to the point of being detached from reality.

After the debate I agreed with Pro. Fox News is still more biased than those representative samples provided by Con, as I shall explain shortly.

Conduct was tied.

Spelling and Grammar was tied.

Arguments were tied. Seriously. Alto had a great opening round, but a comparison of each side's videos makes it clear that CNN at least allows the other side a chance to speak (without editing) ... an opportunity not afforded guests of Fox News. However, superior empirical evidence does not alone a superior argument make ... I believe that this debate was a clear tie between two strong debaters (although, of course, I am inclined to agree with Pro on the resolution.)

Sources were tied overall ... that Pro's sources better illustrated bias convinced me to continue to believe that Fox News was far more biased than other news agencies, but the choice and relative effectiveness of both side's sources are overall equal.

Therefore, I would call this a draw.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
RFD:

B/A: Pro/Pro. All news is biased.
Conduct: Tied. Conduct was presented well on both sides.
S/G: Tied. Both sides were organized well enough to comprehend.
Arguments: Con. Pro did not reach BoP and I felt Con presented a superior case.
Sources: Con. Con's sources were more effective.

Excellent debate.
Posted by studentathletechristian8 7 years ago
studentathletechristian8
alto quoted me in the debate!
Posted by ReganFan 7 years ago
ReganFan
Just another example of a liberal scare tactic.
Posted by ReganFan 7 years ago
ReganFan
Posted by FlavourWave 7 years ago
FlavourWave
Naturally :P
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
Save the debating for the debate rounds.
Posted by FlavourWave 7 years ago
FlavourWave
At the risk of this becoming a "Video Debate" I do have some more tangible evidence to support my claims.
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