It is long past time for everyone, including real journalists, to start treating Fox as an arm of the GOP (or the GOP as an arm of Fox, which amounts to the same thing). End the pretense.
Sorry, no matter how automatic & ingrained the whataboutism, CNN & MSNBC are not the same -- not in degree, not in kind. Mainstream media & conservative media are not parallel. They are not involved in the same pursuit. Refusing to say so is what's allowed this shit to happen.
Cons think other media are like Fox because they do not acknowledge the possibility of norms, procedures, & truths that transcend tribe, that apply to all tribes equally. They are blind to the possibility, so they can *only* process non-right perspectives as left.
But journalists outside the right-wing bubble DO believe in transpartisan principles & norms. They DO believe in facts, not just right-facts or left-facts. Of course they are human & subject to bias & blindspots like anyone, but they respect an ideal beyond tribal advantage.
That is the distinction the right's whataboutism is meant to erase. They want everyone & everything to be on one side or the other; it's literally the only way they can process the world. But other journalists should not be bullied into the same perspective.
Fairness, accuracy, skepticism -- these values transcend tribe. They are not right or left. It's time for journalism to defend itself, which begins by stating clearly that journalism matters & that Fox & RW media are *not journalism* as traditionally understood.
If journalists, seeking to avoid "taking sides," allow the RW to whatabout this, to blur the difference between journalism & propaganda, they are only hurting themselves & their vocation. Anyway blah blah I've said it all before: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/22/14762030/donald-trump-tribal-epistemology …
One additional note: I don't actually think there's anything wrong with journalists having a perspective, or opinions, or even being generally aligned with one side or the other. The question is which takes priority: journalistic norms or political commitments.
RW media has allowed the political commitments to completely swamp any respect for transpartisan norms. The rest of the media world, whatever its frequent failures & flaws, still clings to the norms. That's the difference, and it *matters*. A lot.
You can follow David Roberts.