And you think our media are biased?

There are people who whine constantly that various media outlets in Ireland have “An agenda”. With the exception of a certain Sunday newspaper that  blatantly pursues the commercial interests of its owner, as a rule I don’t think we do too badly. For comparison, have a look at this memo from Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon to his team, about how to refer to President Obama’s heathcare reforms:

From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
To: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers

Subject: friendly reminder: let’s not slip back into calling it the “public option”

1)      Please use the term “government-run health insurance” or, when brevity is a concern, “government option,” whenever possible.

2)      When it is necessary to use the term “public option” (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation’s lexicon), use the qualifier “so-called,” as in “the so-called public option.”

3)      Here’s another way to phrase it: “The public option, which is the government-run plan.”

4)      When newsmakers and sources use the term “public option” in our stories, there’s not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct.

Wow. If there was ever an argument for the placing of a disclaimer on particular (Fox and MSNBC) news channels, this is surely it: “The following programme follows a particular political bias, and should not be considered objective, non-partisan or politically neutral.”

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