In a WaPo media story today by Howard Kurtz, the headline reads: Fox News’s Bill Hemmer melds middle-of-the-road persona with conservative guest list
Fair and balanced? Kurtz has doubts.
Bill Hemmer, a middle-of-the-road guy from the middle of the country, sees himself as the straightest of straight arrows when it comes to news.
“The opinion-makers on our channel have enormous talent,” he says in his Fox News office in midtown. “I deal in facts. I deal in evidence. And opinion, frankly, is not my comfort zone. Opinion news is something I’m not good at. It is in the DNA of certain individuals. I’m not one of them.”
Kurtz reports that while Hemmer’s show is billed to be the “straight stretch” of news, the guest list and story choices “tilt markedly to the right.” Kurtz names a long list of conservatives Hemmer has had on the show including Karl Rove, Steve Forbes, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and more. But here’s a twist: at the close of the story Kurtz softballs the whole premise and writes, “Despite the guest lineup, Hemmer, 45, takes a generally balanced approach, a style he honed in his native Cincinnati and during 10 years at CNN.”
And besides, reasons Hemmer in the story, “If Mike McCurry were available to us, I would put him on TV tomorrow.” (McCurry was former President Clinton’s White House press secretary.)
It appears Kurtz still stands by his original premise, tweeting just a few hours ago, “Bill Hemmer is focused on fairness, but his Fox News show is heavily stacked with Republican and conservative guests.”
> Update: More hammering. In an even more recent tweet today, Kurtz says, “As if to underscore my story about the right-leaning bookings on Fox’s “America’s Newsroom,” today’s leadoff guest was [GOP Whip from Virginia] Eric Cantor.”