I wasn’t giving CNN and WaPo a pass.
I just don’t lump them in the same category as Fox. These are apples and oranges. If you’ll do a little digging into the history of "media bias”, I think you’ll understand why I don’t compare them. Conservative media starts from a totally different ethical stance than traditional, so-called mainstream journalism, which is also sometimes called liberal (in the academic sense).
Mainstream journalism aspires to objectivity, fairness, facts, detachment, and so on. Some of the programs on CNN are indeed highly opinionated and biased. But the programs are upfront about this. They acknowledge that they are opinion shows. They give slanted interpretations, but they do not misinform or mislead or deceive. They don’t bring on fake experts. They don’t use logical fallacies.
Fox’s opinion shows and hosts are playing a very different game. The foundational ethic of conservative media is a rejection of the possibility of objectivity. They do not aspire to be objective. They don’t believe it’s possible, and they claim (falsely) that the traditional media is playing an equal but opposite game, that they are also not trying to be objective. “Media bias” is itself a lie in the way they present it. There is not actually left vs. right. There is traditional journalistic ethics vs. conservative journalistic ethics. And the traditional strives to be unbiased, while the conservative strives to apply bias. It’s apples to oranges. That’s why I don’t pick on CNN. I don’t choose to watch CNN because I don’t enjoy the oversimplification and emotion, but I do consider them harmless.
Fox is different. They are misinforming their audience in order to mislead their perceptions, and to shape their underlying beliefs and worldview. They use logical fallacies and rhetorical tricks to subvert critical thinking.
The conservative universe, for the most part, is actively propagandizing. They are trying to persuade, to win trust, not merely inform. They are practicing the darkest arts of propaganda.
You just can’t lay the same claim on any media that biases left. Not even Mother Jones or Vox. They are way way left, but they are not propaganda. It’s very easy to turn away and read something different. Fox is, as the data show, highly addictive. People are lured in, get hooked on the distorted logic and alternative facts, and are led further and further into the universe. It’s cultish. I don’t think people can get out.
Despite the appearance of similarities in the biases shown between traditional media and conservative media, I consider them apples and oranges. They have totally different journalistic ethics, and some of the conservative outlets are engaged in propaganda, while the same is not true of any of left-leaning media that I know of.