The UK media should put its own house in order before attacking US channels like Fox News for biased reporting, Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow has claimed.
News organisations are still “massively male dominated” and their management “still in the hands of men” said Snow, arguing that with so few women, blacks or gays represented, it was impossible to say that news was unbiased.
Fox News, the Rupert Murdoch owned news channel was “a terribly easy target” to criticise for having an unbalanced agenda, said Snow.
“Before we start attacking Fox, we should look at ourselves. How can we say we provide fair and balanced news?” argued Snow. “If we want to put out a white, male liberal agenda then we should have a go, but at least we should tell people what we’re about.”
Snow said he had been told by his editor Jim Gray that he should keep his pro-Europe views quiet.
“But there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to say that you are pro-Europe but still provide viewers with an opportunity to look at the issue in a balanced way,” said Snow.
Robert Greenwald is director of Outfoxed, a documentary examining how Fox News has pushed a rightwing agenda in the US.
He said he had been prompted to make the film because all the journalists he spoke to: “talk about the ‘Fox effect’ in their own newsroom and how their managers are pushing the news agenda to the right to compete and how it is affecting the type of stories they cover and how they cover them.”
Greenwald warned: “Don’t underestimate the effect it is having on the other news institutions in the US – because it’s making money.”
Snow said he did not deny that Fox was having an impact on the media in the US “mainly because news channels are mostly watched by editors” than because it was having an impact on viewers.
“People watch it because it reflects what they already think,” said Snow.