Pulse: Chatter: Has Fox 29 Crossed the Line From Reporting to Editorializing?

Or is it simply politics as usual?

Back in September, the Inky questioned whether Fox 29 news had begun crossing the line from reporting into editorializing, citing a story in which a reporter called Governor Rendell “an apologist” for Housing Authority boss Carl Greene. Fox 29 news director Kingsley Smith defended what he called an increase in reporterly pushback at the station. But given Fox 29’s right-leaning parent company, some  —  including Mayor Nutter’s then-press secretary, Doug Oliver  — wondered if it was just old-fashioned bias.

Oliver  —  who’s since taken another post  —  says he first noticed a critical tone from once-objective journalists in the coverage of the DROP issue this summer. But it wasn’t until Fox reported in August a viewer poll in which Mayor Nutter received a six percent approval rating that he spoke up.

“How many people voted?” Oliver says. “When? Who conducted the poll? They didn’t say.” He arranged a meeting with the station manager and Smith  —  who says he, too, wanted to meet, to explain the new, tougher approach. “They said the poll should have never aired, and apologized,” Oliver recalls.

Smith remembers differently. “It was non-scientific, a fast poll through texts from our viewers,” he says. “We didn’t apologize for it. There might have been an apology for, you know, upsetting them.” And regarding any assertion of a wider conservative agenda: “There is no direction coming from the parent company,” he insists. “I think it’s real easy, if you’re asking tough questions in a market where pretty much one party has been in power, to look like you’re on the other side.”

Oliver says that in the end, whether it’s conservative bias or not doesn’t matter. “The point is that sometimes with Fox 29, there’s going to be some opinion in their reporting, like columnists. I felt the administration needed to be aware of that, going forward.”

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  • Ed

    So Fox 29 decides to engage in some good, old-fashioned muckraking journalism and you complain because the target is the man standing in a pile of muck? Maybe if the rest of the media would quit giving the Democrats a free pass we might actually have some “change” in Philly politics?

  • Mark

    My problem with Fox 29 is not that they are taking a stand. The idea is refreshing. My problem is that they don’t have the chops to pull it off. There is not one ounce of smarts or gravitas on the set. They have a male model for an an anchor posing his way through interviews along with another woman I never seen before. It is a battle of who is more clueless. At first I thought they were just trying to appeal to the vacuous Glee crowd, which is fine. But these anchors just don’t fit this new opinionated hard news style.

  • Tommy

    They get rid of Dawn Stensland, Kerri Lee Halkett, Dave Huddleston and then keep these two. Not only do I not know them, they are not from Philly and not very good. The guy Thomas seems like he is acting the news, he is like a bad James Bond movie. And the woman just doesn’t cut it. The format is not the problem. Also, I can’t stand John Bolaris. I do like most of the reporters though – it’s a shame they can’t go somewhere else

  • Summer

    That’s ridiculous an ol’fashion costume can’t even be worn in good fun but on another note if the lady was driving in the far lane maybe she didn’t see correctly in that case….maybe but assuming is always wrong to do find out before you flip out!