September 27, 2013
Richard Stengel (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Richard Stengel (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly proclaimed last night that at least 25 journalists have acceded to positions in the Obama administration, with the most recent high-profile example being Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel, who’s joining Obama’s State Department. Another high-profile example of the journalism-to-Obama pipeline is White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, a former Time magazine reporter.

The journo-traffic into the ranks of the Obama administration was enough for “O’Reilly Factor” guest and Fox Newser Dana Perino to declare over any debate about our media’s ideological disposition: “It allows us to stop the charade that everybody is fair and balanced,” said Perino. O’Reilly agreed. “For every conservative working at the national level, there are eight or seven liberals,” said the popular cable host.

The political makeup of the country’s reportorial corps is certainly fair game for Fox News. To O’Reilly’s point about the predominance of liberal reporters in newsrooms around the country, there’s no shortage of studies that have come up with comparable ratios.

Yet blather about reporters is secondary to their output. Debate about the media’s alleged tilt needs to focus on the work that actually appears on the page and on the TV screen, and not on the personalities behind it all. After all, those outposts staffed by allegedly left-leaning newsies can often produce stories that appeal to conservatives. For example — this very O’Reilly segment about the massive job-meld between big media and the Obama administration? It appears to have been based on this Washington Post story.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.