The following letter was sent on Friday to Rob Owen, President of the
Television Critics Association, in reaction to
reports that about 100 TV
critics walked out of a presentation by Fox News Channel Chairman and
CEO Roger Ailes, in protest of Fox’s "conservative spin."
Rob Owen, President Television Critics Association
Dear Mr. Owen:
I was appalled when I read news accounts
about the utter lack of respect that so-called "fair" and "balanced"
members of your organization exhibited toward Fox News Channel’s
Chairman Roger Ailes Monday night. Such open contempt for Fox speaks
volumes about their personal intolerance and disdain for any point of
view that doesn’t reflect their liberal ideology.
At a press conference for TV critics, FNC and Fox affiliates chief Roger Ailes announced he will be unveiling a syndicated morning news show next January. Now Fox fans will be able to get their fix without cable:
Ailes and Fox are gearing up for a yet-to-be
named morning show that will air after the local news broadcasts. Mike
Jerrick and Juliet Huddy of the Fox News Channel will host the 9 a.m.
offering, which will focus on light, entertaining fare when there's
little hard news.
The morning show will
launch in January and will go up against the final hour of a
Couric-free "Today" and newly formatted "Regis and Kelly," with a
little less Regis Philbin. Since September, Philbin has been doing four
days a week instead of five.
When Fox News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes spoke to TV critics on Monday night, about two-thirds of the group of 150 walked out in protest, with several “voicing their scorn for what they say is Fox News’ conservative spin,” the Miami Herald’s Glenn Garvin reported on Wednesday. (Updated 6:02pm EDT)
Can you imagine 100 TV critics, upset by CBS’s liberal bias, walking out on Les Moonves or Sean McManus? Or even a dozen critics turning their backs on the scandal-scarred Dan Rather? Such open disdain for Fox News Channel’s uniquely non-liberal approach speaks volumes about the media elite’s arrogant belief that it’s journalistic malpractice to give a fair shake to conservatives.
But, Garvin noted, Ailes had his own tweaks for the critics, citing their articles from a decade ago predicting “a quick and painful death for Fox News when it first went on the air in 1996.” Thwarting the critics’ desires, FNC has topped cable news ratings charts for more than four years, with CNN, Headline News and MSNBC trailing far behind.
For Laura Ingraham fans, it has been quite interesting to see her so much on Fox News lately, and watch the growth of one of America’s leading female conservatives. Conceivably, her recent success and notoriety have lead ABC to create a new television series casting “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart as a conservative radio talk show host (as reported by NewsBuster Matthew Sheffield Tuesday).
With that in mind, Ingraham was on “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday, and she and Bill had some fun with this issue (hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with video to follow). O’Reilly began, “Now, to change direction here, Calista Flockhart is teeing you off.”
Fox News Channel chairman and CEO Roger Ailes responded to Keith Olbermann's latest critical volley against Bill O'Reilly on Monday, saying the MSNBC host's behavior "is over the line."
Ailes, appearing Monday at the summer meeting of the Television Critics Association, was referring to a weekend incident at the gathering in which Olbermann whipped out a mask of O'Reilly and gave a Nazi salute.
Ailes said Olbermann picks on Fox's O'Reilly to boost his ratings.
Bill O'Reilly got his show off to a surprising start this afternoon, with a novel theory as to why the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in criticizing Israel for its role in the current conflict. During his opening monologue O'Reilly theorized that the papers are fearful of turning off liberal Jewish readers.
As per Bill's hypothesis, papers such as the NY and LA Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post have been taking big hits in readership and profitability. With Fox News Channel's ED Hill in the studio, O'Reilly continued: "liberal Jewish readers are all [those newspapers] have left" as a significant market segment. If the papers were to be too critical of Israel, it could alienate their last remaining readership niche.
In our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, an amazing barnburner occurred July 21 that will remind folks of Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd's old "Point/Counterpoint" skit on “Saturday Night Live” with the only thing missing being the famous line “Jane you ignorant slut.”
On the left was Fox News’s Juan Williams. On the right was conservative radio host Laura Ingraham filling in for Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor” (very enthusiastic hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left and Ms. Underestimated with absolutely must-see video to follow!).
From the beginning, this fight perfectly exemplified the divergence in opinion concerning the most recent flare up in the Middle East. Juan enunciated the liberal view that Israel is largely to blame for the rise in hostilities, and that America needs to put pressure on it to force an expedient ceasefire even if it goes counter to Israel’s ongoing security. Here’s a perfect example of Juan’s solution to the current problem:
Somehow, I don't expect we'll be seeing the leftist Fox-haters trumpeting the latest news about Rupert Murdoch. Seems he was last seen hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton:
Two of the most public people in the world had a chummy breakfast yesterday, but media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) tried to keep their political get-together as secret as possible.
There were no Fox News cameras to record the odd couple breaking bread together at Murdoch's News Corp. headquarters in midtown, where, after years of attacking her, the conservative Murdoch hosted a fund-raiser for Clinton's Democratic Senate campaign.
The campaign refused to even confirm the time or location of the controversial fund-raiser. No estimate of the take or number of people who attended was released.
Quiz time: When is a political ad that features pictures of deceased, flag-draped American heroes controversial? Apparently, the answer is only when Republicans produce such a commercial. The Democratic Campaign Committee has posted a 60 second spot on their Web site, and it shows images of the coffins of American military personnel, as well as a soldier standing in front of a makeshift grave marker. (Update, 5:40pm EDT July 14: The ad has now disappeared from the DCCC Web site, replaced by one calling for a hike in the minimum wage.)
Unsurprisingly, ABC, NBC and CBS expressed no outrage over the Democrats attempt to politically exploit America's fallen. NBC'sToday show,ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS's The Early Show this morning all completely ignored the issue.
On Tuesday night’s “O’Reilly Factor,” host Bill O’Reilly and guest Laura Ingraham had a marvelous time tearing apart The New York Times (video link to follow). During the discussion, Ingraham pointed out something that many Americans now feel about the Old Grey Lady:
Well, I think that they truly believe that America is the single biggest danger to the modern world.
I don't think, Bill, that they believe that they have a dog in this terrorism fight. I think they think it's a fight between two groups of fundamentalist, the fundamentalists who are the Islamists. They don't much care for them.
But then the fundamentalists in the Bush administration, who have this messianic view of the world that they can make the world in their own image. And I think they're more petrified of the Bush fundamentalism, as they refer to it, than they are the Islamists.
Yikes. That about says it. O’Reilly then asked a pivotal question:
That didn't take long! Just yesterday I suggested readers keep in mind the MSM's bashing of Pres. Bush on his birthday the next time a liberal accused conservatives of being 'mean-spirited.' Groucho fans will know what I mean when I say: bring down the duck! On last evening's Journal Editorial Report , liberal newsie Marvin Kalb said the magic 'm-s' word in condemning the Wall Street Journal for its criticism of the New York Times.
The Journal had run an editorial, Fit and Unfit to Print [subscription required] that both explained why it had run a story on the anti-terror financial tracking program, and criticized the New York Times for doing so. For the record, the editorial explained that in contrast with the Times article, the Journal only published declassified information that had been provided them by the Treasury Department.
CBS "Early Show" host Harry Smith performed two interview segments on North Korea's failed missile test. While he showed noticeable restraint from the usual isn't-Bush-bumbling line of questioning, even showing concern at America's adversary here -- asking Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns "Is Kim Jong Il just nuts?" -- he didn't press former Clinton diplomat Bill Richardson on the Clinton administration's policy of appeasement and arms-control agreements that the North Koreans egregiously violated.
The Burns interview came first. In addition to the "just nuts" question (Burns demurred diplomatically, "let's just say he's unpredictable"), Smith asked: "The Chinese as recently as last week were reaching out to the North Koreans, saying please don't do this. They seem to do whatever they want. How do you deal with a country that is so willful and disregards the pleas of even its friends in the neighborhood?"
In the past two years, as oil and gasoline prices have moved to record highs threatening to strangle the American economy, the media have blamed it all on the current Administration in the White House. Or on Hurricane Katrina. Or Iraq. Or Iran. Or a strike in Nigeria. However, on Thursday, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly got Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) to admit that the nation’s energy problems are caused by government’s inaction for decades, and that both parties are to blame (extremely grateful hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with a video link to follow).
Certainly, this was an inconvenient truth for a former presidential candidate who blamed all the world’s problems on President Bush during the 2004 campaign to admit on national television. But, he didn’t give this up easily. In fact, at first, he did blame it on guess who. Fortunately, O'Reilly didn't let him get away with it:
“You and Al Gore, big environmental guys. And I'm a big environmental guy. OK? So I'm seeing Gore and Kerry. Here they are, decades in the Senate, and I'm seeing Brazil have ethanol for all its automobiles starting next year. And I'm seeing the United States not even close to having ethanol for automobiles. I'm going, ‘How come Gore and Kerry didn't get us ethanol?’ How come?”
After Kerry stated that he voted for ethanol whenever it came up in the Senate, O’Reilly asked, “Why didn’t it happen?” Kerry said, “Because the president’s energy policy…” O’Reilly asked, “Is this President Clinton?” Kerry said, “This is President Bush.” That’s when it got really interesting:
In the Style section of Saturday's Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz covered the slightly strange story of the Wall Street Journal editorial page criticizing the New York Times scoop on the SWIFT financial tracking system, when the Journal ran the story as well once the Times decided to publish. But the most interesting part of the story was the new poll:
In a Fox News poll released yesterday, 60 percent of those surveyed said the Times did more to help terrorist groups by publishing the information, while 27 percent said the story did more to help the public. Forty-three percent called what the newspapers did treason. Just over half said government employees were more to blame for leaking the classified information, 28 percent faulted the media for reporting it, and 17 percent said they were equally to blame.
Representatives from Fox News, CNN, and the BBC were told that broadcasting opinion surveys about Mexico's upcoming election eight days before the voting was forbidden. They are also banned from analyzing the candidates' weaknesses and reporting on campaign activities.
CNN and BBC both have separate feeds from the one shown in America (No Lou Dobbs en Español), so they have no problem complying with the rules. Fox News has only one feed, and would have to alter its entire programming.
MRC President Brent Bozell appeared on FNC's "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday morning to address the "breathtaking arrogance" of the New York Times deciding what national-security secrets should be divulged. Brent loved John Snow's letter noting that arrogance, and suggested that the Times didn't show a "left-wing agenda" on this story, but a "far-left-wing agenda." See our posted video and handy Times Watch links here. Here's a transcript:
Co-host E.D. Hill: “Our next guest says the New York Times is guilty of treason. Treason, for publishing that piece on that secret government program that tracks terrorist finances.”
MRC's Geoff Dickens reports that on Thursday's edition of his Fox-syndicated show "Geraldo at Large," Geraldo Rivera editorialized against keeping terrorist suspects at Guantanamo: "And later, close it down, for God’s sake. Gitmo is a national embarrassment. We’ll take you inside the terror lock-down on Cuba."
Rivera used strange terms like "malignant desperation" and "successful suicides" to describe the situation on the ground, although Judge Andrew Napolitano noted that the prison is "immaculate" and the treatment of prisoners is "almost gentle." He was disturbed by the lack of charges against these suspects, but acknowledged it could be seen as an injustice to release these suspects "to re-attack the American soldiers they were once fighting against." Here's more of the transcript:
Fox News Channel is currently thinking about a new show that is supposed to be a conservative version of the very liberal "Daily Show," seen on Comedy Central.
I've long thought conservatives should take a stab at televised political parody. The last time it was really done was during Rush Limbaugh's short-lived syndicated show which was doomed by niche audiences and unsympathetic programming. In the cable age, though, this type of show really has potential. I was pleased to see FNC has apparently chosen just the person I had in mind for such a show, radio host Laura Ingraham.
TV Newser has more details, noting that the show may never happen since it's only a pilot.
Related: Study says "Daily Show" creates negative perceptions among viewers about politics. The post has an unrelated but interesting item about how Democrats believe the federal government should give more aid to white victims of Hurricane Katrina than black victims. See James Taranto's discussion for more.
Bill O’Reilly interviewed the outspoken Geraldo Rivera on “The O’Reilly Factor” Thursday evening concerning the current goings on in Iraq, and how the media are covering it. During their discussion, Geraldo stated his surprising support for President Bush, while offering a rather strong critique of Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) as well as for all those who want to establish a time certain for American troop withdrawal (video link to follow):
“The only way we can find an honorable exit from Iraq is to do what the commander in chief is now suggesting and what good people like Hillary Clinton are also suggesting is to stay the course. We have to stay the course.”
He continued on this train of thought later in the interview:
“But I'm telling the American people right now that Bush is right. The commander in chief is right. Woe on to us if we think that we can forget about what's happened. That, I think, is lamentable.”
Geraldo also lashed out at the junior senator from Massachusetts:
What do you do when you’re a cable news network struggling to keep up in the ratings? Do you lure viewers away from your competitor with programming that they would want to watch, or alienate those same viewers by insulting their intelligence?
The latter seems to be the strategy for CNN’s Jack Cafferty. Shortly before 5pm EDT on the June 22 The Situation Room, Cafferty made this remark to substitute host John King after reading viewer responses to his question of the hour:
John King, substitute host: "Jack, I’m glad they always tell you exactly what they’re thinking."
Cafferty: "And, and they’re pretty smart, too."
King: "Yes they are, yes they are. Thank you very much–"
Cafferty: "The dumb ones watch Fox."
King [laughing]: "Ouch! Ouch, ouch, that’s going to bring some more e-mail."
The always modest, always charming Howell Raines, former executive editor of the New York Times, has a new autobiography out, “The One that Got Away,” a sequel to his 1993 memoir “Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis.”
Dipping into his latest book on his love of fly fishing, we find that Raines is still rising to the conservative-bashing bait.
On page 189, he lets fly with thoughts about liberal bugbear Fox News:
“Fox, by its mere existence, undercuts the argument that the public is starved for ‘fair’ news, and not just because Fox shills for the Republican Party and panders to the latest of America’s periodic religious manias. The key to understanding Fox News is to grasp the anomalous fact that its consumers know its ‘news’ is made up. It matters not when critics point this out to Foxite consumers because they’ve understood it from the outset. That’s why they’re there. Its chief fictioneer, Roger Ailes, had been making up news in plain sight for a half century.”
Neal Gabler might have hit a new low when it comes to the coarseness of his criticism. On this evening's Fox News Watch, he branded as 'sub-moronic' a statement President Bush made during his recent Iraq trip. And, furious that the media has been insufficiently critical in its coverage of Iraq for his taste, Gabler repeatedly labelled the MSM 'brain dead.'
Gabler began his assault by pouring cold water on the president's recent uptick in the polls: "the boost is very small. . . If you want to look at his numbers, his numbers are very, very low."
Even so, Gabler was galled that the press hasn't given sufficient attention to the bad news from Iraq. "The most positive media development for the president has been the fact that on the very day that he visited Baghdad, 24 Iraqis were killed in Kirkuk of all places and 50 were killed around Iraq, but it got no coverage. It was page 15 of the New York Times."
Back in December, Brent Bozell warned that group marriage – polygamy – was becoming the rage on television, including this:
What’s next? Non-fictional "group marriage TV" will arrive on the Bravo channel in the spring, with a documentary called Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family, featuring a New York triple with two gay men, a woman, and two children. Now, reading that last sentence – what was your reaction? Perhaps a bit surprised, maybe somewhat disgusted. But you weren’t shocked, were you? I rest my case.
Well, it’s a little late to qualify as "spring" now, but this film will air on Bravo this month, and it’s now being publicized by Fox News, in their syndicated program "Geraldo at Large." MRC’s Geoff Dickens reported that on Thursday night, Fox anchor Laurie Dhue filed a story for Geraldo on the film with a predictable opening:
In May of 2004, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi participated in the beheading of Nicholas Berg, a businessman working in Iraq. His father, Michael, emerged in the aftermath of that crime as an outspoken liberal activist and is now running for Congress in Delaware on the Green Party ticket. So who better to bring on for a discussion about Zarqawi’s death? Michael Berg appeared on all three cable channels this morning to spew hatred towards the United States Government and George W. Bush. Interestingly, only one network, MSNBC, found the time to mention that Mr. Berg is now a political candidate. Rather then cover the successful elimination of a significant terrorist threat, CNN, FNC, and MSNBC all gave time to someone who would make statements such as this one on CNN’s American Morning at 7:50AM EDT:
Michael Berg: "Well, you know, I'm not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn't commit the rapes, neither did George Bush, but both men are responsible under their reigns of, of terror....I don't get it. Why is it better to have George Bush be the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?"
Democratic political consultant and longtime Fox News contributor Susan Estrich responds to charges by Bob Cesca on the Huffington Post that Fox News encourages the "white power" movement.
Cesca had said:
Last week, Fox News Channel's John Gibson urged white people to make more babies in order to counter the growing Latino population in America. Watch Stephen Colbert present Gibson's ridiculousness here.
Next up... Tony Snow, former Fox pundit and current White House press secretary, blurted out "squeezing the tar baby" in his first official press conference.
On Tuesday's "Special Report with Brit Hume," the "all-star" panel of Mort Kondracke, Mara Liason, and Fred Barnes discussed how the new White House press secretary, Tony Snow, did on his first day. There was also a clip of Helen Thomas badgering the new press secretary on a phantom issue.
BRIT HUME: All right. When we come back with our panel, how did Tony Snow do in his first outing in front of the full press corps under the lights? More with the all-stars after a break.
(Clip of Tony Snow with Helen Thomas)
HELEN THOMAS: Are all of these stories untrue that we've been reading for the last several days, that millions of Americans have been wiretapped?
TONY SNOW: Well, there is -- OK. Well, let's -- yes.
NPR ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin defends two NPR correspondents who go on Fox News regularly, Mara Liasson and Juan Williams. Many NPR fans, especially those inflamed by Media Matters, complain to NPR that for their reporters to go on FNC is merely to provide a fig leaf for Fox News's claim to be "fair and balanced."
Dvorkin says it's okay for NPR people to go on Fox because of "NPR's commitment to free speech and free inquiry," although reporters "have to stay reportorial -- not become editorial writers or opiners."
Nothing riles some public-radio listeners like NPR journalists appearing on FOX News television programs. Two prominent NPR correspondents, Mara Liasson and Juan Williams are regular panelists on FOX. What bothers those NPR listeners who complain to me is that the cable television network openly espouses conservative opinions as expressed by outspoken hosts. The FOX slogan, "fair and balanced" is deemed by many of the complainants as ironic, to say the least.
That's because NPR makes every effort to remain nonpartisan, and FOX, it appears, does not. Frustrated public-radio listeners tell me that the NPR presence only serves as cover for FOX's claim that it is "fair and balanced." And that frustration is further pumped up by some political blogs, seeking to trash both FOX for being conservative, and NPR for looking like FOX's willing agents whenever its news representatives participate on FOX's programs.
The runaway success of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel, founded on
the premise that other news outlets are biased, is the source
of much anger to lefty journalists. Most elite journalists I've encountered hate the network and the fact that it's broken through the liberal glass ceiling of news.
A great example of this was a Monday column
in the LA Times by Scott Collins which instead of leading with a 38
percent ratings drop at CNN (something that's causing turmoil and
repeated personnel shifts), focused on a 17 percent drop at FNC.
Inside the article, Collins allows CNN president Jonathan "Pajamas"
Klein to comment on why the rival network has fallen [by half the
amount his has]. Perennial ratings dropout Keith Olbermann is also