On Tuesday, during a panel discussion hosted by Dan Balz of The Washington Post, with Fox News’ Bret Baier and PBS’ Judy Woodruff as guests, Baier made clear the difference between the news branch of the Fox News network and the opinion branch.
Balz asked: "President Obama said recently the following: ‘If you’re watching Fox News, you are living on a different planet than if you are listening to NPR.’ So, put aside for a minute whether Mars or Venus is planet reality, there’s no question that different networks present the news differently, and that consumers, as we’ve already talked about, are somewhat in silos. So, my question is, how concerned are both of you about the bifurcated nature of the way news is both presented and consumed? But more importantly, how cognizant are you of your own audiences, and to what extent does that shape the way you put a program together?"
After Woodruff offered her answer, Baier replied:
Listen, I think people do get their news from a lot of different places. Again, what President Obama references — we had our challenges with the Obama administration, covering the Obama White House, and — but even in the darkest hours, where they were coming after Fox News a bit, I was still getting answers. Jay Carney was taking my calls; Robert Gibs was; our White House correspondent was covering the administration. And when we were denied access to an interview that the press pool was being put out by the White House, other organizations stood up for us, and that meant a lot to the news organization of Fox.
The problem sometimes is that Fox gets painted with a broad brush, and Sean Hannity’s show is not "Special Report." I think Sean Hannity, for what he, you know, his opinion — he does an amazing job with bringing forward his thoughts on things, similar to an opinion page of a newspaper that has their opinions — but you know what you’re watching; you know what you’re reading. So the difference between those two shows is pretty stark.
I think, you know, sometimes, President Obama, when he talked about Fox News, would talk broadly. Do we do stories that others shows don’t? Yes. But there’s a lot of stories that, just by the selecting [of] the story doesn’t mean that it is not news.
Here’s the video (the pertinent portion begins at the 20:10 mark):