FOX News’ Democratizing Effect

by Joey deVilla on June 25, 2009

When missing Republican South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford turned up – he went missing last week, and it was thought he might be hiking the Appalachian Trail – he held a press conference in which he announced that he had been cheating on his wife. FOX News, when covering the story, did what it often does when a Republican does something embarrassing: it mislabelled Sanford’s party affiliation as Democratic in the “lower third” of the screen:

mark_sanford_fox_news

Republican Congressman Mark Foley left in disgrace after being caught sending explicit emails to teenage boys serving as congressional pages. Guess the party affiliation the FOX News chyron assigns to him:

FOX News showing Mark Foley as a Democrat

Here’s a FOX News display of the opinion poll results for an upcoming senate race between Democratic candidate Sheldon Whitehouse and Republican candidate Lincoln Chafee. Of course, when a poll showed that the Democratic candidate had an 11-point lead, FOX News “conveniently” mixed up the parties and numbers:

FOX News display showing Whitehouse as Republican and Chaffe as Democrat (it's the opposite)

At this point, I feel required to remind you of the titular character’s line from Goldfinger (the novel): “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time, it’s enemy action.” 

Many conservatives felt that John McCain was a little too liberal prior to his landing the presidential nomination, and there may have been a remnant of that feeling in this chyron blooper identifying him as a Democrat. Or perhaps FOX was trying to convince Democratic voters to vote for him:

John McCain - "Democrat", according to FOX News

Here’s Arlen Specter, in 2007, back when he was a Republican. In this shot, he’s questioning Alberto Gonzales about the firings of U.S. attorneys who weren’t “Bushy” enough:

arlen_specter_fox_news

Intershame had the idea for this article a day ahead of me, and they have more FOX News “Democrat” misattributions. How long before FOX News starts referring to people as “Adolf Hitler (D-Germany)”, “Joseph Stalin (D-Russia)” and “Darth Vader (D-Coruscant)”?

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