A few days ago Howard Kurtz of Newsweek published an article profiling Roger Ailes, the CEO of Fox News. It was revealing of both Kurtz and Ailes.
The first sign that Kurtz was either unconscious or delusional was when he offered this description of Ailes’ allegedly changing moods:
“[A]s President Obama’s popularity has plummeted and the country has grown increasingly sick of partisan sniping, something unexpected happened. Roger Ailes pulled back a bit on the throttle.”
Kurtz never provides any evidence to support that contention. In reality Fox News is just as extreme an outlet for rightist propaganda as it has ever been. They incessantly hammer on fabricated scandals and openly disparage the President. The departure of Glenn Beck, which Kurtz mentions in passing, has done nothing to reduce the vitriol. Now Eric Bolling is calling President Obama a socialist in the program that replaced Beck.
Kurtz did manage to slip in this insight from unnamed Fox executives:
“Privately, Fox executives say the entire network took a hard right turn after Obama’s election, but, as the Tea Party’s popularity fades, is edging back toward the mainstream.”
The interesting thing about that is not the contention that Fox is “edging back toward the mainstream.” It’s not. What’s interesting is the admission that Fox “took a hard right turn.” That is something that Fox has been denying for years as they pretend to be “fair and balanced.” It also contradicts the constant Fox drumbeat of support for the Tea Party which they believe is a dominant factor in modern political culture (despite their puny 16% approval in recent polling). Another moment of clarity occurred when Kurtz painted Ailes with concern after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“Ailes ordered his troops to tone things down. It was, in his view, a chance to boost profits by grabbing a more moderate audience.”
Notice that Ailes did not want to tone things down to ease tensions and prevent further outbursts of violence. According to Kurtz, Ailes wanted to tone things down to make more money. Of course, returning to reality, Ailes never toned anything down and he most likely doesn’t believe that doing so would be more profitable.
Perhaps the most unintentionally hilarious part of the profile is when Ailes complained that “America used to be able to get straight journalism.” This was such an egregious separation from sanity that even Kurtz noticed.
Roger Ailes is still running a dishonest enterprise dedicated to spreading falsehoods and advancing an ultra-conservative agenda. He still employs demagogues like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, and Sarah Palin (who is NOT running for president and Fox is lying about it). He still allows the ignorant stooges on Fox & Friends to spew gossip and inane conspiracies.
Kurtz was able to ply a few morsels of truth from Ailes about his inherent bias, but that does not excuse his naivete about whether Ailes has softened. He hasn’t. And in the coming months, as the election season heats up, expect to see even more radically untrue attacks on Democrats and progressives. If Kurtz really thinks that Fox News is moderating their biases, he is even dumber than Sarah Palin.