Tim Rutten interviews disenchanted former Fox News producer Charlie Reina for today's Media Matters column in the L.A. Times.
"Roger is such a high-profile and partisan political operative that everyone in the newsroom knows what his political feelings are and acts accordingly. I'd never worked in a newsroom like that," he said in an interview. "Never. At ABC, for example, I never knew what management or my bosses' political views were, much less felt pressure from them to make things come out a certain way. I'm talking about news bias, and I never experienced it there. At CBS or the AP, if a word got in that suggested bias liberal or conservative it was taken out.
"At Fox it was all about viewpoint. I'm not talking about the nighttime personalities. I'm talking about the news report. Fox executives will say their network only appears conservative because it is fair, when everyone else is liberal and biased. That's bull. Fox doesn't 'seem' conservative and Republican. It is conservative and Republican."
Av Westin, a longtime ABC news exec, says the blatant politics at Fox are the same as at other Rupert Murdoch news operations: "The uniform smirks and body language that are apparent in Fox's reports throughout the day reflect an operation that is quite tightly controlled." In the column, a Fox spokesman calls Reina's characterizations untrue.
Cal Thomas, who is mentioned in the column, fires off a letter to Rutten with a copy to Romenesko.
Added 12:45 a.m.: Jay Rosen at Press Think: "This is one of those hmmmm moments when very large and complicated arguments about politics, culture and media--including the you're biased debate--come down to how you read a document."