Nobody is going to mistake Howard Kurtz (CNN/Washington Post) for an insightful media analyst. His sycophantic and highly conflicted reporting barely qualifies as news on most days. And his latest column for the Post is no exception. However, it does hit on a couple of obvious truths that only Kurtz can think of as revelations:
|Howard Kurtz: Beck has become a constant topic of conversation among Fox journalists, some of whom say they believe he uses distorted or inflammatory rhetoric that undermines their credibility.|
|HK: [Fox News VP Bill] Shine says that last fall a vice president was assigned “to help keep an eye on that program” and review its content in advance — a full-time job.|
A full-time VP to keep an eye on Beck? I sure hope that guy had mental health insurance. Also, he didn’t do a very good job, judging by what made it to the air.
|HK: Television analyst Andrew Tyndall calls Beck an “activist” and “comedian” whose incendiary style has created “a real crossroads for Fox News. [...] They’re right on the cusp of losing their image as a news organization,” he declares.|
What on earth would it take for Tyndall to regard them as over the cusp?
|HK: When Fox covers breaking news during Beck’s hour, some journalists say, they are flooded with angry e-mail from viewers about the preemption.|
And who could blame them? Beck’s viewers don’t want to be bothered with “news.” Even the sort that Fox pretends to deliver.
|HK: Some staffers say they have watched rehearsals, on internal monitors, in which Beck has teared up or paused at the same moments as he later did during the show.|
Because the secret of good comedy/propaganda is timing.
|HK: Beck has caused such anguish at Fox that some of its journalists celebrated the failure of last week’s interview with embattled ex-congressman Eric Massa, which Beck pronounced a waste of time.|
If those “journalists” want to celebrate whenever Beck’s program is a waste of time, they could celebrate every day.
Thanks Howie, for your always keen and penetrating outlook.
[Update: 3/17/10]: It appears Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was disturbed by Kurtz’ article. He hustled down to DC to dress down his staff for talking about “The Family.” In short he ordered them to shut up, fall in line, obey, or leave. And what ever they do, do not have an independent thought. That’s what the talking points are for.
Roger Ailes channels Michael Corleone: