Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro -- like the Fox News stan he is -- used a Dec. 20 post to frame a very friendly, softball interview Fox News anchor did with a fellow Fox News host as him "expertly defus[ing]" CNN's criticism of Fox News:
After filling in on Fox News Sunday following former anchor Chris Wallace’s exit from the show last week, Fox News Channel anchor Bret Baier appeared on the network’s MediaBuzz with anchor Howard Kurtz and took down CNN and their “just silly” criticism against their network that was designed to generate “clicks” and play for ratings.
Their prerecorded discussion began with Kurtz drawing attention to recent incendiary comments from CNN’s “Don lemon saying that Fox News should be kicked out of, barred from the White House briefing room because he doesn't like Fox.”
Baier rebuked Lemon’s attack as “just silly” and “just an effort to get clicks or eyeballs.” He then reminded viewers of how Fox had stuck up for CNN and their reporters to be members of the White House press pool during the Trump presidency:Listen, we're a news organization that has been part of the White House pool really since the beginning, and we've been advocates of fighting for other journalists there including CNN. You mentioned Jim Acosta where we stood up as well as Kaitlan Collins who was going to be kicked out of a gaggle, and I tweeted out, we put out a statement supporting [her].
“So, listen, I think this is all about semantics and trying to get attention. But they know that we're working hard to do journalism every day,” he added.
From there, Kurtz asked his guest about the “fiction that gets perpetrated” by CNN and liberal media that “there isn't a real news division here, that you and your Special Report team and all the journalists and reporters and hosts and anchors and producers somehow don't count[.]”
Again dismissing the narrative as “silly,” Baier recalled that the criticism “goes in iterations in which the focus is all on the opinion folks who do do opinion and they stir the pot and sometimes they're very controversial, but we have a news operation that's breaking news every day.”
Funny, we thought Fondacaro and the rest of the MRC hated softball interviews. He also didn't mention the one thing that discredits Baier as a fair-and-balanced news anchor: his infamous fake-news story before the 2016 election about Hillary Clinton's purportedly imminent indictment -- a story the MRC enthusiastically promoted but never told readers that it had been retracted.
Like a good Fox News fanboy, Fondacaro waited until the 11th paragraph of his piece to mention the much more newsworthy part of the interview: Baier laboring to put distance between him and the aggressively right-wing Fox News hosts who had a direct line to the White House, including during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. And even then, Fondacaro soft-pedaled the controversy, meekly referencing "the recent revelation that a few members of the network’s primetime line up had messaged former White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows on January 6." And even then, Fondacaro censored the full quote of what Baier said about the situation, as a more fair and balanced outlet more accurately reported:
Amid shockwaves over Chris Wallace’s departure to CNN, Baier on Sunday tried to distance his show from fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson, who regularly peddles pro-Trump talking points and misinformation in service of the ex-president.
“I tell people that the biggest, the loudest critics of Fox are not ones who watch Fox and see the difference between ‘Special Report’ and Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson,” Baier said during an appearance on Fox’s “Media Buzz” program. “I mean, anybody who watches sees the difference.”
Baier also made sure to argue that Wallace’s startling exit from Fox doesn’t further dilute the network’s credibility as a legit news source.
“He’s doing something different, but that does not mean that we don’t have really accomplished journalists who are breaking stories and who can cover things fairly,” the “Special Report” anchor said.
Fondacaro didn't explain why he didn't fully quote Baier. Perhaps there's an MRC rule that nobody is allowed to criticize Tucker Carlson. Besides, that's less expert defusing more desperate distancing, and Fondacaro is never going to admit any fault with Fox News.