I have an interview with veteran media activist Jeff Cohen in the new issue of the Boston Phoenix. Cohen has just written a book on his years with CNN, Fox News and MSNBC called “Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media.” He’s also the founder of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), a left-liberal group that monitors media bias.
The bulk of the book is about Cohen’s stint as senior producer for his friend and fellow progressive Phil Donahue, who landed a show on MSNBC only to be muzzled by executives terrified that they would be accused of liberal bias. Cohen tells me:
We could have had a show with aggressive, articulate, passionate people saying things on national TV seen nowhere else. And it would have happened night after night. This was the time that independent, smart, active news consumers were turning away from the mainstream and looking for alternatives. MoveOn was doubling its size during this time, and we were being muzzled. We could have been an alternative in the mainstream. The best of both worlds. And our ratings would have climbed.
Instead, “Donahue” was canceled in early 2003, just before the war in Iraq got under way.