Amanpour: 'Nobody More Complicit' Than Fox in Bad Journalism

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Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog

On Wednesday's Amanpour & Co. (aired on PBS and CNN International) host Christiane Amanpour declared that "nobody is more complicit" than Fox News in questionable journalism, and likened the network's coverage of the pandemic to its coverage advocating for the war in Iraq that ended up failing to find the WMD stockpiles that were believed to exist.

As the group discussed how the media should cover President Donald Trump's briefings on the pandemic when he gets something wrong, the segment was critical of Fox News hosts who previously tried to downplay the COVID-19 virus in its earlier days, leading to guest and former Fox News reporter Carl Cameron to making a criticism of Fox News opinion hosts, but also some of his criticism toward other networks.

After praising the journalists at Fox, he then complained that there is bad journalism on a number of networks because they are driven to make a profit:

CARL CAMERON: There was a time in America when the networks used to be loss leaders in their news divisions. Nowadays, news is a commodity. It's a product -- it makes money -- it's a business -- it needs to have income. And a lot of times, what's happening is it's not news -- it's the attraction of eyeballs to watch commercials on cable and on news. That's a fact of business -- not science and not pandemic. Listening to politicians who don't know what they're talking about can be deadly.

Amanpour then lambasted Fox News as she responded: "Yeah, and nobody is more complicit in that than Fox News."

A bit later, she invoked Fox's coverage of the Iraq War as she posed:

AMANPOUR: And, Carl, it's not going to be news to you or, frankly, anybody who's watching when I say we've kind of been there before in a life and death situation when Fox News really was, you know, a real cheerleader for the Iraq War, talking about weapons of mass destruction and all the rest of it. There was no evidence to that, and the nation went to war under George W. Bush. And now we know that Fox News, behind the scenes, they're busy Lysol-ing -- they're taking all the precautions that they need to take.

She added:

So I just wonder whether you think there's anything more the network should do to maybe rein in some of the opinion hosts, as you say, because of course people like Chris Wallace are exceptional people and exceptional journalists, but there's a huge amount of weight given to the pundits -- to the opinion hosts.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday, April 8, Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International:

(31 minutes in)

CARL CAMERON, FORMER FOX NEWS REPORTER: There are a handful of really good journalists -- Chris Wallace being an example of that at Fox. It's the opinion hosts, not the journalists, that are the problem. And that is a political issue. This is about science, and trying to pretend that it's not is deadly, deadly dangerous. I think that there are actually a lot of journalists who know better, but, sadly, much of the media is no longer journalism first.

There was a time in America when the networks used to be loss leaders in their news divisions. Nowadays, news is a commodity. It's a product -- it makes money -- it's a business -- it needs to have income. And a lot of times, what's happening is it's not news -- it's the attraction of eyeballs to watch commercials on cable and on news. That's a fact of business -- not science and not pandemic. Listening to politicians who don't know what they're talking about can be deadly.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Yeah, and nobody is more complicit in that than Fox News.

(…)

(35 minutes in)

AMANPOUR: And, Carl, it's not going to be news to you or, frankly, anybody who's watching when I say we've kind of been there before in a life and death situation when Fox News really was, you know, a real cheerleader for the Iraq War, talking about weapons of mass destruction and all the rest of it. There was no evidence to that, and the nation went to war under George W. Bush. And now we know that Fox News, behind the scenes, they're busy Lysol-ing -- they're taking all the precautions that they need to take.

So I just wonder whether you think there's anything more the network should do to maybe rein in some of the opinion hosts, as you say, because of course people like Chris Wallace are exceptional people and exceptional journalists, but there's a huge amount of weight given to the pundits -- to the opinion hosts.

CAMERON; There's a disparity, and thiat's a great problem. Faith and belief and hope are wonderful things, but they are entirely ethereal. Science is a hard rock stone, and it takes a long time to be correct. ...

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