The opinion shows are another matter. They are partisan, and only O'Reilly pretends otherwise: "The Spin Stops Here." Nonetheless, this column by Stu Bykofsky in the November 4, 2010 Philadelphia Daily News makes a good point about balance. He watched a week of Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox, and Keith Olbermann's equivalent show on MSNBC--and makes the point that if you want to hear more than one point of view, there is not much choice:
I no longer have cable, so I don't see O'Reilly, Beck, or Hannity anymore. I do not miss O'Reilly; his pugnacious style is annoying, and his ego has been inflating at a horrendous rate for several years now.
I do not miss Hannity much. While he seems like a nicer person than O'Reilly (or at least he knows how to simulate decency and humility), I seldom see much deep thought coming from him.
Beck, like Hannity, seems like a decent person--someone I would invite over for dinner, and while not deep, he occasionally says things that contribute to the national conversation. The signal to noise ratio, unfortunately, is not terribly high. Realistically, how can it be, on a show that is intended for mass consumption?
If the left wanted to complain that television is not a terribly effective method for serious discussion, they would have my complete agreement. If they wanted to complain that Fox, especially the opinion shows, is clearly on the conservative side, I would agree with them--and point out that the broadcast networks are just as clearly on the progressive (or fascist, or crony capitalist, whatever label you want to give it) side. What I find detestable is the notion that Fox is somehow especially bad, or evil, or despicable, compared to other media organizations.