The Washington Post

In defense of ‘Fox & Friends’: Viewers have their say

Attendees of the Values Voter Summit express approval of Roger Ailes’s show “Fox & Friends,” (RICHARD DREW/Associated Press)

Whatever, Fox PR: Who needs you!

A better voice for Fox comes from viewers of the channel, a good many of whom were on hand today in sunny Washington for the annual Values Voter Summit.

What does Dayna Sarlo of Alva, Fla., like about “Fox & Friends”? Well, the news. “It gives you more news stories, not entertainment news, not what celebrities are doing,” says Sarlo, 45. She trusts the “Friends” way more than the hosts on “Good Morning America” or the “Today” show. And her daughter, 17-year-old Elaine Sarlo, commends the program for a “different outlook than the rest of the media, which is more left-leaning.” It’s the “least biased,” she insists.

Correct, says Pam Smith, a 54-year-old resident of Johns Creek, Ga. ”They report both sides,” she says. “They show both sides’ warts and accomplishments.” As opposed to CNN, that is, charges Smith, alleging that the longtime cable network has “a dog in the fight.” And as for MSNBC, well, they “don’t even try to hide” bias, notes Smith.

Enough about fairness! Which “Friend” is your favorite, Values Voters? On that question, it’s hard to get strong opinions from the crowd, suggesting that people lump the couch-sitters into one broadcasting monolith. That said, Vicki Nicholson, 63, of Porterville, Calif., volunteered that she can “relate to Gretchen more — isn’t she the middle girl?” referring to co-host Gretchen Carlson and her place on the brown couch on the set of “Friends.” And Alison Wildmon of Tupelo, Miss., complimented co-host Steve Doocy for being “more laid-back and funny.”

Values Voter attendees expressed little outrage or awareness of the ”Friends” debacle of this week, in which the program manipulated or mistook or confused labor statistics to give viewers the impression that joblessness had doubled in the Obama years.

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


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