United Nations slammed for excluding Fox News from World Press Freedom Day ad

An ad that ran Thursday in honor of World Press Freedom Day that encouraged viewers to consume news from a multiple outlets and featured more than 25 examples, ranging from CNN and MSNBC to local newspapers – but Fox News was left out.

Fox News is the most-watched cable news network in America by a wide margin, but wasn’t featured in the ad, which was put together by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The ad, which was captured by TheWrap’s Jon Levine, mentions The Guardian, The Atlantic, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, NBC News, The Economist, NPR, The New York Times, BBC News, National Review, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Magazine, Inter Press Service, New Yorker, New York Daily News and a variety of other new organizations. There was no mention of Fox News.

“Fox News didn’t make the cut,” Levine captioned the video.

“I happened to have MSNBC on when the ad flashed by and I noticed it. Given the size and influence of Fox News, it’s hard for me to believe it was left off by accident,” Levine told Fox News.

The ad resulted in headlines such as, “The United Nations Doesn’t Want You to Watch Fox News,” which was published in The Observer.

United Nations spokesperson Monia Adjiwanou provided Fox News with the following statement when asked why the news organization wasn’t included: “The spirit of this effort is to encourage people to consume all quality, independent news sources. In the time we had, we tried to include as many of those partners as possible, but as you will see, there are a few that aren’t on this list. We welcome all organizations to champion this cause, and we hope there will be more initiatives like this in the future.”

The Hill’s media reporter and columnist Joe Concha tried to get a detailed explanation and didn’t have much luck – ironic, given that  the point of the ad was to promote journalism in the first place.

You can’t celebrate Press Freedom Day and simultaneously ignore requests for comment,” Concha told Fox News.

Media Research Center Managing Editor Curtis Houck,  a watchdog for liberal bias, isn’t surprised that Fox News was passed over for the ad but pointed out that the network wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the liberties the day was supposed to represent.

“If the U.N. was truly concerned about preaching the important need to be well-rounded in one’s news consumption, Fox News would seem like a no-brainer to include in any list,” Houck said.

“If the UN was truly concerned about preaching the important need to be well-rounded in one’s news consumption, Fox News would seem like a no brainer to include in any list.”

– Media Research Center Managing Editor Curtis Houck

The U.N. General Assembly started World Press Freedom Day in 1993 to “celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom,” “assess the state of press freedom throughout the world,” “defend the media from attacks on their independence” and “pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” according to the U.N. website.  

Mediaite columnist Joseph Wulfsohn told Fox News that “much of the left and in this case, the United Nations,” haphazardly considers Fox News a right-leaning opinion network because of its outspoken prime-time hosts but says it shouldn’t be dismissed as a legitimate news organization.

Concha agrees and said that, “Oftentimes the opinion side gets lumped in with the news side by those looking to push a narrative that Fox shouldn’t be taken seriously,” while pointing out that “Bret Baier won the 2017 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, and Chris Wallace and Shep Smith are widely respected by Fox News competitors.”

Ben Evansky, a Fox News field producer, approached U.N. Secretary General Spox Farhan Haq about the situation.

“There’s no anti-Fox feeling at the U.N.; we work quite well together; look at you and I talking right now,” Haq told Evansky.

Fox News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

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