ntang (ntang) wrote,
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Carl Cameron: Unfair and biased? Could it be?

Dear MoveOn member,

Since Fox News is unable to rebut the basic premise of "Outfoxed," its anchors have resorted to slamming the film's technique. Fox News' convention correspondent Carl Cameron, who is portrayed in the movie sucking up to then-Governor Bush before an interview, complained "It was an unfortunate piece of editing in the movie that gave a far worse impression than the reality."

To counter this charge, director Robert Greenwald has released the entire footage of Cameron's pre-interview moments with Bush, when he didn't realize the tape was rolling. The full clip makes Cameron look even worse. He spends a full three minutes fawning over Bush. See this outrageous footage here:

http://www.moveon.org/r?539

All this bluster hides the serious fact that Fox News allows political partisans like Cameron to do important journalistic interviews, even when there are blatant conflicts of interest.

Call up Fox News and tell them to reassign Carl Cameron from the conventions and find a political reporter who doesn't carry a partisan bias, at:

Fox News Channel
(212) 301-3000

Please let us know you're making this call, at:

http://www.moveon.org/foxcalls2.html?id=3175-4334778-ARKiMCwl27oXct3xOvTIHA

This footage is a smoking gun -- Fox News is a Republican outlet, and the reporters make no bones about it. At most networks, even a perception of a conflict of interests is enough to reassign a reporter. In 2000, a CNN producer whose husband was a lawyer for Gore was told not to have anything to do with campaign coverage [1]. Last Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle put its letters editor on leave for contributing $400 to the Kerry campaign [2]. Not so at Fox News, where Cameron remained in charge of campaign coverage, including the exclusive interview with Bush, despite his wife's involvement with the Bush campaign.

Do conflicts of interest really matter? Well, to take just one example, the head analyst of election results for Fox News in 2000 was John Ellis, Bush's first cousin. On Mr. Ellis' advice, Fox News was the first to declare Bush the winner of Florida and the presidency. Ellis' call for Bush set off a cascade of similar calls by other networks, ultimately leading to the infamous Florida vote-counting controversy [3].

Blatant conflicts of interest like Cameron's and Ellis' highlight an appalling lack of journalistic balance on the part of Fox News. To permit such assignments is unprofessional and deceptive. It's the sort of behavior that gives Fox News such a bad name.

Most news outlets would be embarrassed and apologetic. Fox News is smug and unrepentant. Worse, they are doing it again this election. Before we go any further, demand Fox News reassign Carl Cameron from the conventions and choose a reporter without personal ties to one candidate:

Roger Ailes, CEO and Chairman
Fox News Channel
(212) 301-3000

Of course, Fox News is trying hard to deny its obvious partisanship. Both Cameron and Roger Ailes always cite a single story as proof that Fox News doesn't favor Republicans: the discovery of George W. Bush's arrest for drunken driving in the final week of the 2000 election. Fox News takes credit for getting the scoop. Real journalists at Salon magazine, however, reveal that the story was discovered by a young reporter at a local Fox broadcast affiliate, WPXT-TV in Portland, Maine, not the team at Fox News Channel. Fox News recently affirmed it has "no editorial oversight" of any Fox affiliate [4]. Read the Salon story at:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/07/23/fox_dui_moveon/

Salon provides excellent, independent journalism without partisanship or personal conflicts of interest. This is the sort of journalism we need to support with our subscription dollars. Salon is offering a 50% discount to MoveOn members. Can you help support Salon's important work? Please subscribe now at the link above.

Thanks for all you're doing to encourage true balance in our national news media. Our democracy depends on it.

Sincerely,
--Wes Boyd and Noah T. Winer
MoveOn.org
July 29th, 2004

P.S. Here's the transcript of Cameron and Bush chatting:

CARL CAMERON: ?for Carl to say now "Carl, you can't tell this from the satellite feeds 'cause I know you're in your desk in Washington, but, you know, Governor Bush does have a halo and wings, just take my word for it." And how the hell would I know?

You having fun still?

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah, I'm doing great. I am.

CAMERON: You look like you've been dealing with Gore effectively, he's, uh...

BUSH: Yeah, he's punching a lot, you know.

CAMERON: But that gives you your chance to do your counter-punches.

BUSH: I think it does, it really does, I think I'm in pretty good shape. He's evidently coming to state tomorrow to make a big thing.

CAMERON: I'm gonna ask you about it. San Antonio, talk about budget and health care and all that kind of stuff. It seems to me to be a total non-issue, I mean, you've got a surplus.

BUSH: We do have a surplus, and the comptroller, I don't know if you know this.

CAMERON: I do.

BUSH: She coming out tomorrow again.

CAMERON: With...

BUSH: With a higher number.

CAMERON: Really. Are you prepared to talk about it?

BUSH: No, I don't, I, uh uh.

CAMERON: Okay.

BUSH: I'm just giving you a heads up, so you'll know.

CAMERON: My head is up.

BUSH: But I don't know the number.

CAMERON: Okay.

BUSH: And she won't tell anybody the number. It's kind of a tradition in Texas.

CAMERON: Is she appointed, elected, what's the deal there?

BUSH: Elected by the people.

CAMERON: Republican or Democrat?

BUSH: Republican.

CAMERON: That helps.

BUSH: Well, she's independently elected.

CAMERON: Understood.

BUSH: She's got a job to do.

CAMERON: Absolutely.

BUSH: And she's not gonna give out numbers that aren't real.

CAMERON: Okay.

BUSH: It's not my, uh. Obviously if she were my accountant, it would take a little bit of credibility out of the process.

CAMERON: Sure, of course it would.

BUSH: Anyway, things are good. Your family?

CAMERON: Very well. My wife has been hanging out with your sister.

BUSH: Yeah, good, my county...

CAMERON: Doro's been all over the state campaigning, and Pauline has been constantly with her. Umm.

BUSH: Doro is a good person.

CAMERON: Oh, and she's been terrific. To hear Pauline tell it, when she first started campaigning for you, she was a little bit nervous.

BUSH: Yeah.

CAMERON: But now she's up there.

BUSH: Getting her stride?

CAMERON: Doesn't need notes, she's going to crowds, and she's got the whole riff down.

BUSH: She's a good soul.

CAMERON: She's having fun, too.

BUSH: She's a really good soul.

CAMERON: Yesterday I ended up not working because my 10-year-old son went to basketball camp. First time he's ever been away.

BUSH: And he did okay, I hope?

CAMERON: They put him in with 13-year-olds.

BUSH: Eww.

CAMERON: Who beat the hell out of him. So I had to take the day off.

BUSH: Physically?

CAMERON: Well, they didn't like the snot nose 10-year-old.

BUSH: I mean, not beating.

CAMERON: Elbows.

BUSH: Yeah, that's okay.

BUSH: But is he... Did he hold his own?

CAMERON: He wanted to quit at the end of Monday.

BUSH: Yeah.

CAMERON: So I had to go up there yesterday and sort of couch him off the tree. And have him say, look you know this is what it's about. Think of Alan Iverson, think of Larry Bird.

BUSH: The fact that he's there is amazing, though, for the 13-year-olds kids.

CAMERON: I played a lot in high school and college.

BUSH: Did you really?

CAMERON: Oh yeah.

BUSH: Did you have any moves?

CAMERON: I was, I was nominated for All-American.

BUSH: Oh come on!

CAMERON: Didn't make it.

BUSH: Camerones! You were?

CAMERON: Absolutely.

BUSH: Fabulous! Hehe.

CAMERON: My high school coach was the, went on to be the assistant coach under Tommy Hineson for the Celtics.

BUSH: Really?

CAMERON: Yeah

BUSH: And where was this?

CAMERON: Melrose, Massachusetts. Just south of the New Hampshire border.

BUSH: Sure, I know Melrose.

CAMERON: So was...

BUSH: And you played college basketball?

CAMERON: Yeah.

BUSH: Did you really?

CAMERON: Well, well Division 2.

BUSH: That's okay, but still.

CAMERON: Oh yeah, I was...

BUSH: Where was this?

CAMERON: Bates College.

BUSH: Sure, I know Bates.

CAMERON: I was uh, well, Lewiston, just north of Kennebunkport.

BUSH: Sure, I know Bates. Bates is a fabulous school. No, I know Bates. It's a great school.

CAMERON: No, I was a hit man.

BUSH: You were the Tommy Hineson. Jim Luskatoff.

CAMERON: I was enforcer, that's right. Exactly. Alright, you guys ready? Alright.

BUSH: That's great.

CAMERON: Here we go, Governor. You see, the little things that get disclosed.

BUSH: I like that.

CAMERON: Thank you for joining us, sir.

BUSH: Yes, sir. Thanks, Carl. It's good to see you again.

CAMERON: Just a few days away from the convention now, how important is it to you, what premium price do you put on a harmonious convention, and why?

BUSH: Well, this is an event, a big event in the course of a long campaign. You and I have been through several of them...

Sources:
[1] Outfoxed. Dir. Robert Greenwald. Carolina Productions, 2004. http://www.outfoxed.org/
[2] http://www.freepress.net/news/4187
[3] http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=122948
[4] http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,125437,00.html
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