During Wednesday night's edition of Piers Morgan Live on the Cable News Network, a panel of four media analysts joined their liberal host in agreement that The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News -- and Divided a Country, a new book written by New York Magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman, will not have much impact on readers' views of that cable network.
“People who are skeptical of Fox News are going to read this book and are going to be sure, once and for all, that Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party,” said media critic Brian Stetler of the New York Times. However, Amy Holmes -- a host on TheBlaze TV -- asserted that the book is filled with “pretty thin gruel.”
Appearing on FNC’s O’Reilly Factor Monday, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham was asked by host Bill O’Reilly: "What, you're a not a left-wing magazine?" Meacham denied any liberal agenda in the magazine: "No, I don't -- We're not a partisan magazine. We're just not." A skeptical O’Reilly replied: "Come on." Meacham defended his assertion: "We're not. We try to be provocative. We try to break news. We try to contribute to the conversation. You can decide whether we do or not."
O’Reilly asked Meacham about the magazine’s liberal leanings after the Newsweek editor argued in favor of investigations of Bush officials over interrogation tactics. O’Reilly also asked for Meacham’s opinion on a recent political cartoon in the New York Times that criticized those interrogation tactics by depicting the Statue of Liberty brandishing a whip, but Meacham refused to comment: "I'm not going to comment on somebody else's editorial decision." In frustration, O’Reilly replied: "You're an American. Forget you're editor of Newsweek, you're an American. You see this thing, what do you think? You think this is fair?"
O’Reilly went on to reference new photos of prisoner abuse about to be released: "Yeah, do you think this is fair? Do you think that's good for the country? Are you looking forward to putting those pictures coming out next week in Newsweek magazine, of abusing the prisoners, you looking forward to doing that?" He later added: "...you won't comment on that -- on that Statue of Liberty with a whip? Come on, you're an American, too. You know, I'm fighting the battle here alone. It's me and the Wall Street Journal, and couple of other guys on Fox, against a juggernaut of media apathy that you're a part of at Newsweek magazine, with all due respect."
Not that it counts for much but who are the most influential political media figures? It's an interesting question, one that for the most part is hardly a provable assertion. How can one measure influence, after all?
You probably can't but you can at least measure how famous (or infamous) a pundit is. New York Magazine attempted to do just that by creating an index that looks at a given commentator's mentions in Google, blogs, newspapers/magazines, TV shows and then computes a "popularity score" based on the rankings for each category.
The top figure in the survey? Former Bush top aide Karl Rove with a score of 67.79. He's followed very closely by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh with 67.35.