"We Distort, You Decide"
by The Cranky Media Guy
I know, I know, right about now you're thinking, "Who the
hell is Roger Ailes?" See, Mr. or Ms. Smarty Pants, you don't
know everything, do you?
Roger Ailes is one of those behind-the-scenes guys you've probably
never heard of, unless you're in the TV business. Ailes is the
guy who advised Ronald Reagan that he shouldn't try to remember
specific facts and figures for his presidential debates and just
be himself. Roger Ailes is the guy who, standing just outside
camera range, pumped his fist in the air when George Bush (the
daddy and ex-president) told off Dan Rather on the air. In short,
Roger Ailes is a guy who has been lurking around the edges of
the Republican Party for some time now.
That, in and of itself, is no crime. When it comes to knowing
how TV works, Ailes is kind of an evil genius. I'd recommend his
book, You Are The Message, to anyone who wanted to be a
TV (or radio) personality. When it comes to electronic media,
Ailes really knows his shit. In a way, that's the problem.
See, Ailes' current job is running the Fox News Channel. He built
it from the ground up; Fox mega-weasel Rupert Murdoch gave him
six months to get it up and running and he did it. That's a hell
of a trick. OK, so why is he a weasel?
FNC's slogan is "We Report, You Decide". That implies
objectivity, wouldn't you say? That's what you're supposed to
get out of that, for sure. The slogan and the channel are supposed
to appeal to people who think that the mainstream media are "liberal".
Even if you think that that argument is a bunch of hooey, objectivity
is a good idea in journalism, right? The trouble with FNC is that
the operation lists to starboard harder than the Titanic. The
general sense you get when watching FNC is "conservatives
good, liberals evil". Hate to break it to you, Rog, but that
Remember all the criticism about Oliver Stone's movie JFK
when it came out? Remember how people said that some of Stone's
"facts" were shaky at best? Remember how Stone said
that he was creating a "counter myth" to oppose all
the untruths he said had been spread about the Kennedy assassination?
Well, what people said about that movie applies here: you don't
counter BS with more BS; you counter it with FACTS. That should
be especially true in the news biz. You think the other guys lean
to the left? Don't lean to the right and call that "objectivity".
Fox News Channel is well-produced and, God knows, way more entertaining
than CNN. All you have to do, Rog, is what your slogan says: report.
Just give us the facts without the spin to the right. We're big
boys and girls. We can handle it.
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