The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jess Levin (202) 772-8162

Liasson Turns a Blind Eye to Fox's 'News Programs'

Media Matters responds to NPR correspondent's erroneous defense of Fox News Channel


Today, Media
Matters for America
issued a letter to NPR executives in response to
NPR correspondent Mara Liasson's defense of her work as a Fox News political
correspondent, in which she reportedly
argued that "she appears on two of the network's news programs,
not on commentary programs with conservative hosts." Politico reported that Liasson was asked by "[e]xecutives at
National Public Radio" to reconsider her role on Fox because of "what they
perceived as the network's political bias."

The letter reads:

December 9, 2009

Dear Mr.
Meyer and Mr. Elving,

I am writing
in response to a Politico article
reporting that "[e]xecutives at National Public Radio" asked NPR correspondent
Mara Liasson to "reconsider her regular appearance on Fox News because of what
they perceived as the network's political bias."

Let me first
commend you for recognizing Fox News' partisan leanings and, more importantly,
the effect that Liasson's association with the network has on the public
perception of NPR. However, I was troubled by Liasson's
reported response to your request. The Politico
article goes on to say that she "defended her work for Fox by saying
that she appears on two of the network's news programs, not on commentary
programs with conservative hosts."

It is indeed
problematic that Liasson believes that because she appears only on Special
and Fox News Sunday,
she can wash her hands of the network's more colorful "commentary programs." As
the Politico article helpfully
points out, Liasson is clearly listed as a political
contributor for the Fox News Channel on the network's website,
without any qualifications.

But even more
problematic is the fact that Liasson believes there is some sort of difference
between the news programming and opinion programming on Fox News. Media Matters has illustrated how the
network's purportedly straight news programs regularly echo its "editorial"
programs. In fact, the two shows Liasson regularly appears on -- the same shows she touts as being separate from the
network's "commentary programs with conservative hosts" -- often feature smears, falsehoods, doctored and deceptive
editing, and GOP talking points.

, for example, claimed that Department of Education
official Kevin Jennings "failed
to alert authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him that he was involved in a
sexual relationship with an older man" even after had already
acknowledged that the student was of legal age -- 16 years old -- at the time.
The "news" program also cropped an Obama comment and took it out of context,
effectively reversing the statement's meaning, to falsely suggest that Obama
supports creating a health care system "like the European countries."

News Sunday
has also repeatedly promoted smears and
falsehoods designed to harm progressives politically. In August, Chris Wallace
permitted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to promote numerous
distortions about an end-of life education booklet used by the Veterans Health
Administration, which Wallace referred to as a "death book." Wallace
has also repeatedly advanced the conservative talking point that Democrats'
health care reform proposals would create a system of rationed care, omitting
the fact that rationing already happens in the current system. As is the case
with Special Report, these are
merely a few of the numerous examples of conservative misinformation spread by Fox News Sunday.

Our research item, in its entirety, can be found
attached. Again, I want to applaud NPR for taking steps to disassociate itself
from a network that is now little more than a partisan political campaign aimed
at destroying the Obama administration and the progressive agenda. The research
Media Matters has provided
clearly demonstrates the flaws behind Liasson's
defense for continuing on as both an NPR political correspondent and Fox News
contributor, and I hope it will prove useful should you decide to take further


Ari Rabin-Havt

Vice President for Communications and Research, Media Matters for America

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.