From Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey, The Big Picture blog at latimes.com:
Anyone who watches Fox News all day long, as I sometimes do, marvels at the remarkable discipline. The cable news leader finds a topic it wants to work over and then pounds it — with the language and tone remarkably uniform from one program to the next.Read more here.
In recent days, one of the men behind the one-station, one-message rigor has come into public view: Bill Sammon.
Sammon is a Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor who worries about semantics on the network conservatives love best. And, according to Sammon e-mails recently obtained by the liberal media watchdog Media Matters, the Fox boss particularly worries about making sure the on-air talent uses language favorable to the conservative point of view.
First to be revealed was a Sammon e-mail telling Fox personalities not to call the healthcare reform preferred by Democrats “the public option.” The news executive said he preferred “government-run health insurance” or “government option.”
Republican pollster Frank Luntz had previously noted that the problem with the "public option" language was that, well, the public didn't find it so objectionable. The reaction turned more negative when the reform -- actually an exchange of private insurance companies overseen by the government -- was deemed to be "government run." Howard Kurtz noted as much in a Daily Beast column.
Next out of the gate, Media Matters revealed a Sammon e-mail regarding the language of climate change. Sammon asked Foxsters in the e-mail, dating to last December, to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”
The directive came about a year ago, just minutes after Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler reported from the Copenhagen climate summit that 2000 to 2009 was “expected to be the warmest decade on record.”
After the Sammon e-mail had been issued, Goler and others on Fox adopted more skeptical language.
Tom's Take: I've always thought it was healthy for news media to be skeptical when it comes to government policy and actions. Especially, when there is a suspect political agenda driving it.