Left Behinds

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fox News Coverage of the French Protests Is Better than NYT Coverage

I just watched half an hour of Fox News coverage of the French protests (where it's all protests all the time), and it was surprisingly fair and balanced.

Even though the anchors clearly thought the protesters are stupid hippies, they saved their opining for the interviews with analysts (where they came out with nuggets such as "wouldn't these people just protest anything?"). The actual reporting was admirably neutral and factual, rather than surreptitiously weaving in their neoliberal bias, as the NYT does.

Their experts were surprisingly clear-headed, and one was even a progressive from Harper's. A Newsweek analyst said that "believing that job insecurity will lead to more jobs requires a major leap of faith," and the Harpers editor discussed the context of the strong French movement against the worst aspects of globalization. The overall impression was that it was a clash of ideas, whereas in the Times it seems like a clash between people who understand how the world works vs. stupid, selfish students who just don't get it.

The New York Times could take a lesson from those liberal wackos at Fox.

Tags:politics, paris, media bias, Fox


  • At 12:35 PM, Blogger Stroll said…

    Those damn French, always having a revolution!

    Seriously, I'm not really clear on *what* they are protesting. Is it just a law that says new hires under 26 can be fired in the first two years of employment? I read an article in one of our more right wing papers (NY Post) that I thought was pretty clearheaded too ... the editorial argued that with the law employers would hire more, especially more of the young Arab & African populations that were recently having riots of there own. I'll try to dig it up.

  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Contrast, for example, today's dose of snark from Elaine Sciolino.

  • At 1:17 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Oh yeah, I read that same op-ed when I was at a cafe yesterday. I disagree, but at least it was in the op-ed section, rather than incorporated into the news coverage without attribution, the way the Times does.

    That's the thing, though -- the American press never articulates why the students are protesting, at least not in a fair way.

    The issue is a measure that would allow employers to fire people under 26 without cause.

    The neoliberal position is that job protectionism (i.e., labor rights) squelches growth and that liberalized job markets (e.g., no restrictions on firing) lead to more jobs because it makes things more efficient. As the Newsweek analyst said, that requires a major leap of faith, and reasonable people can and do disagree.

    One contrary position is that liberalized job markets lead to lower wages, job instability, and an overall lower standard of living for workers, and that they only benefit a small sector of society at the expense of everyone else. They point to the dire effects of neoliberal trade policies in various places they've been implemented, where there's a real race to the bottom.

    They also say that France is doing much better economically than the overwhelmingly neoliberal media portrays it.

    I agree with the protesters, but what's really galling is the way most MSM coverage doesn't acknowledge its anti-worker bias. Fox does a much better job than the NYT, perhaps because Fox is very forthright about the editorial bias of its anchors.

    OK, end rant.

  • At 1:21 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Also, it's a huge problem that unemployment disproportionately affects young Franco-Arabs and Franco-Africans, but it's a stretch to argue that such exploitative neoliberal policies would help them get jobs. If they got jobs under the new policy, they'd likely be really, really crap jobs with no job security.

    I could be convinced that some changes to French labor market laws need to happen, but this change seemed too extreme and potentially exploitative.

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  • At 11:25 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

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