Feud At Fox News: Sarah Palin Slams Fellow FoxPod Tucker Carlson

Uh oh. The family ties at Fox News are being stretched to dangerously explosive levels. It appears that Sarah Palin’s ire has been aroused by her colleague Tucker Carlson. Ironically, both are losers who have been disparaged by Fox News at various times (Roger Ailes called Palin an “idiot” and, before being hired by Fox, Carlson called them a “mean, sick, group of people” for attacking him), and now they are taking swipes at each other.

Fox News Palin/Carlson

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The spark for this fire came from an interview of Dave Berg, a former producer of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Berg, who is promoting a new book, spoke with the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein and told him that…

“After the campaign, she had a book to promote, and wanted to do the show, but it was difficult to work out the logistics because she didn’t like to be away from her family for long periods of time. Finally, the only way we could get her to come to Burbank was to book a charter jet from Anchorage for $35,000. The jet was big enough to accommodate all of her family members.”

The Diva from Wasilla took offense to this characterization despite the fact that there is long-standing evidence of her extravagant demands for public appearances. But for some reason, she went after the Daily Caller, which is run by Carlson, instead of Berg who made the statements to which she objected. On her Facebook page Palin launched into a tirade replete with personal insults and invective.

“Guess the boys at The Daily Caller spent a bit too much time at the frat house and not enough time in their college library. (Or maybe it’s in one of their Jr. High tree forts where their leader gathers the boys to ‘report’ their ‘conservative’ issues.) Their claims about what I supposedly ‘demanded’ of the Tonight Show are, in their frat boy terms, B.S. This is not the first time we’ve had to correct their sloppy ‘journalism.’ Paraphrasing and dramatizing sure doesn’t fit into any fair and balanced image, especially from a little fella loving his title of FOX News Channel host. Maybe those bow ties are a bit too tight, bros.”

Meow! So according to Palin the Daily Caller is not really “conservative,” nor a practitioner of “journalism” (as if the woman who couldn’t name a single newspaper that she read would know). And she just couldn’t help ridiculing Carlson’s fashion sense, albeit for the bow ties he stopped wearing years ago. What Palin did not do in her rant was to offer any proof that the claims by Berg were false. She would certainly have the evidence if she were interested in refuting what she called “B.S.” Why do you suppose she would decline to provide it?

Obviously Berg’s assertions are probably accurate and Palin, who has criticized Hillary Clinton for her contract riders, is only interested in smearing her critics. As usual, Palin is not the least bit concerned about being factual or truthful. And in this case, the Daily Caller was merely publishing what Berg said, but Palin slams the Daily Caller and thanks Berg “for the kind comments.” Huh? Her reading comprehension is even worse than her verbal “skills” that have produced the some of the most mangled (and hilarious) mutilations of the English language.

Carlson is notoriously thin-skinned, so we may have the good fortune of hearing his retort to Palin and a prolonged public quarrel. It’s notable that Palin chose to belittle Carlson with a reference to his “frat house” immaturity. Just yesterday, Carlson made a similarly insulting remark directed at the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., saying that “This is what happens when you have a foreign policy run by college sophomores like Samantha Power.” For the record, Power is a Pulitzer Prize winner with a distinguished career that puts Carlson, a trust-fund baby, to shame. More to the point, both Carlson and Palin regard college credentials as liabilities, which explains a lot about their mutual affinity for ignorance.

However, what will be truly interesting is to see if Palin is taken to the wood shed for beating up on “little fella” Tucker. After all, Fox News CEO. Roger Ailes, made it clear that he will not tolerate intra-network derision by people in his fiefdom “shooting in the tent.” So they better be careful. They don’t want to make Uncle Roger mad.

Congress Allocates More Money To Phony Benghazi Investigations Than To Veterans

Two months ago GOP House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would concede to pressure from Fox News and the Tea Party by creating the House Select Committee On Politicizing Benghazi. He then packed the committee on the Republican side with rabidly partisan attack dogs, led by alpha dog Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

Gowdy Doody

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Since that announcement there has been nothing of note to report. There are no scheduled hearings and no estimated timeline for the investigation. Count on it to drag out long enough for Republicans to exploit it during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The one bit of news that has just emerged is that the Speakers office has allocated $3.3 million to the committee for the current year. So after spending untold millions by four other partisan committees who, despite making wild predictions about White House malfeasance and cover ups, never found anything to support their manufactured accusations, they are now proposing to up the ante with no indication that the result will be any different.

To put the budgeting in perspective, the House Veterans Affairs Committee will only be receiving $3 million this year, even though they have more than twice as many members and a legitimate scandal to investigate with legitimate victims who continue to suffer. The Benghazi Circus will spend more in its first year than the Intelligence Committee which deals with numerous international matters that have far-reaching impact on national security.

The financial priority that is demonstrated by these budget choices is evidence that the Republican House is more obsessed with phony scandals and political sabotage than with actually solving real problems for the American people. The tragic events in Benghazi have always been merely a crude weapon for the rightist politicians and pundits who are fixated on destroying all things Obama. And the new committee is just another means of achieving political goals that they couldn’t achieve at the ballot box. This was illustrated with certainty when back in May of 2013, Fox News aired a tribute to their chief, CEO Roger Ailes, for his efforts as “The Driving Force” in “Keeping Benghazi Alive.”

Fox News Ailes Benghazi

This was one of the most brazen admissions of the abandonment of journalistic ethics ever broadcast. The arrogance they display with on-air graphics confessing that they “made terror attack a story” in response to a “push” by their CEO, is unprecedented. Credible news organizations do not permit executives to interfere with editorial decisions. But the operative word there is “credible,” which has never applied to Fox News.

FLASHBACK: Fox News Admits The Benghazi Myth Was ‘Pushed’ By CEO Roger Ailes

Somewhere in the bowels of the Republican led Congress, Speaker John Boehner and his lieutenants are plotting the formation of a strictly partisan committee to dredge up more slanderous falsehoods about the tragedy in Benghazi nearly two years ago. It’s the continuation of an effort that has produced zero evidence of any wrongdoing by the administration after months-long hearings by four other committees, as well as several investigations by independent agencies.

Fox News Ailes Benghazi

The Select Committee on Benghazi, to be chaired by a raving wingnut, is a gift to Fox News who has been lobbying for such a panel for more than a year. Leading that campaign is Fox’s own chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes. And if there were any doubt that this agenda was set by his directive, this video from May of 2013 should put that to rest:

Notable from this year-old broadcast is Fox anchor Steve Doocy’s remarks that proudly brag about the role that Fox and Ailes played in “pushing” the phony story.

“Fox News has been doing this story from the get-go. And the mainstream media, the Daily Show, has mocked us for covering Benghazi. And now everybody else is catching up. It’s been a story they’re realizing. One of the reasons we’ve followed it is Roger Ailes, our chairman and CEO. […] Had Roger and Fox News not pushed this story the White House would have just left it in the dust.”

However, Doocy’s victory dance to celebrate Fox’s success in exposing malfeasance in the White House may have been somewhat premature. A year later there is still no evidence of anything untoward by President Obama or his team. And now that the economy has seen significant growth, unemployment has dropped to 6.3%, and ObamaCare has enrolled over eight million Americans, it must be time to opportunistically reprise the Benghazi affair. [And, by the way, the Daily Show is still mocking you]

Roger Ailes spent decades as a professional Republican consultant before being tapped by Rupert Murdoch to run Fox News. Ordinarily media executives do not interfere with the operations of their editorial departments, but such journalistic ethics have never been a part of the Fox News mission. Thus we see their CEO openly shaping news coverage, even influencing policy, and getting praised for it on the air by his employees.

This makes it all the more curious that Fox News is now feverishly chattering about a another White House email that allegedly discusses how the administration will respond to attacks by Fox News. Fox’s Catherine Herridge is aghast that such an email exists and that she can’t get her hands on it.

Fox News Email

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Setting aside the fact that every administration engages in media strategy, and that those discussions are legitimately confidential, Fox should be the network that is least surprised by this activity considering their aggressive attack posture with regard to this president.

When you have the CEO of a “news” network openly orchestrating negative coverage for a media enterprise that revels in anti-Obama hysteria, you cannot pretend to be surprised if the victims of those assaults choose to fight back from time to time.

Foxettes On Parade: Is Fox News Breaking The Massachusetts Upskirting Law?

This week a Massachusetts judge dismissed the conviction of a man who was caught surreptitiously taking photographs underneath the skirt of a female undercover transit officer. The dismissal was based on the judge’s contorted interpretation of the law that found that the woman was not “partially nude” and therefore not a victim.

The Massachusetts legislature quickly drafted and passed an amendment to the law that clarified what constituted a violation. Gov. Deval Patrick signed the bill Friday, making this statement:

“The legislation makes the secret photographing, videotaping, or electronically surveiling of another person’s sexual or other intimate parts, whether under or around a person’s clothing or when a reasonable person would believe that the person’s intimate parts would not be visible to the public, a crime.”

The media was all over this disturbing story with a nearly lascivious glee. It’s the sort of sex crime controversy that starts tabloid editors salivating. So it is not surprising that Fox News, the tabloidiest channel of them all, covered the story excitedly in their broadcast. However, Fox may be exposing themselves to legal liability due to their penchant for featuring the physical assets of their female hosts and guests.

Fox News Upskirting

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The evidence that is abundantly available of Fox News videotaping “under or around a person’s clothing” could be used against them in a court of law. If one of their employees were to press charges it wouldn’t be difficult to make a case given the thousands of hours of video proof. What’s more, executives at Fox have privately admitted that exploiting the sexuality of their nearly all-blonde roster of women presenters is a key part of their corporate culture. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. For instance:

  • When the view of reporter Kiran Chetry was obstructed, Ailes called the control booth to demand that they “Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!”
  • Ailes complained about host Catherine Crier’s attire saying that “I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.”
  • The casting of The Five included one particular co-host because “I Need The Leg. That’s Andrea Tantaros.”

megyn-kelly-gq2
Furthermore, NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik was told by knowledgeable sources about the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), she was asked about her own “glass table that shows off your legs.” She responded that “Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.” That must be why Bill O’Reilly wears those low-cut blouses. Also, when Gretchen Carlson was tapped to replace Megyn Kelly in daytime, she revealed that “pants were not allowed on Fox & Friends,” and teased viewers with the prospect that on her new show “I might forget my clothes the first day.”

It would fun to see Fox News get hit with an indictment for breaking the Massachusetts Peeping Tom law. But don’t hold your breath. The Foxettes are firmly committed to the mission of their employer despite the fact that they are being exploited as sexual objects. They know that their livelihood depends on the 60+ male demographic that makes up the bulk of their audience. So if they have to suffer the indignity of catering to those perverts, they suck it up, cash their hefty paychecks, and try to remember to keep their legs tightly crossed.

Sarah Palin Rehired At Fox News To ‘Piss Off’ People And Other Tales Of Temper Tantrums

What does Fox News CEO Roger Ailes have in common with New Jersey governor Chris Christie? They are both bullies who enjoy taking out revenge on their political enemies in the most childish way possible. [They are also a couple of jerks whose chunky frames are only outweighed by their inflated egos, and who have a deep and perverse mutual affection for one another] By now everyone knows how Christie sought to punish Democrats in Fort Lee by shutting down lanes on the George Washington Bridge, creating severe traffic jams, costing millions in productivity loss, and potentially endangering people’s lives. And now we learn, from Ailes himself, that his emotional maturity is similarly stunted.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter this week, Ailes was asked “Why bring back Sarah Palin just a few months after not renewing her contract?” His answer exposes him as a petulant little twerp who may be too senile to continue running a national news network.

Ailes: I’m not a defender of everything she says. I don’t hear everything she says. But I know she represents a certain group of people who rose up against their own party, which you rarely see. I probably hired her back, if you really want to get to the bottom of it, to give her a chance to say her piece and piss off the people that wanted her dead.

Indeed, Palin represents a certain group of Tea-sodden people, but they are fervently supportive of the far-right wing of their party (as is Ailes) and would never consider voting for anyone but a Republican. The fact that Ailes can’t cite as reasons for Palin’s rehire her superior intellect or insightful analysis says much about his disdain for both Palin and his audience. His management philosophy at Fox appears to include a mandate to inflict revenge on liberals who don’t even watch the network. In reality, the people who dislike Palin (this author included) couldn’t be happier that she is back on Fox News making an ass of herself and the network.

This isn’t the first time that Ailes has made a personnel decision that is rooted in childish vengeance. Last year, in a fawning biography that Ailes himself had solicited, he told the author why he had kept Glenn Beck on the air long after he had decided that Beck was a divisive figure who was costing the network advertising revenue. The reason Ailes gave for putting off Beck’s departure was that he “didn’t want to give MoveOn and Media Matters the satisfaction.” So Ailes permitted Beck to continue broadcasting his race-baiting, Nazi-inflected, conspiracy theories for several more months because he would rather poison the airwaves (and the minds of his viewers) with lies and hatred than to let his ideological adversaries think they had scored a victory.

Another example of the juvenile (and paranoid) brand of Ailes’ management style was revealed in an article this week in the Daily Beast. David Freedlander wrote in “Fox’s War Against Ailes Biographer” about the lengths to which Ailes will go to attack journalists who dare to write anything about the cable news overlord:

“Fox News has been waiting for [Gabriel] Sherman’s book [The Loudest Voice In The Room] to come out. According to interviews with a half-dozen former employees of what is known as the Fox News ‘Brain Room,’ the brain trust at the network has been following Sherman’s work for years. Although the so-called ‘Brain Room,’ located in the basement of Fox News studios, was supposed to be dedicated to research for the networks programming, two former news librarians describe an environment where they were frequently called to do opposition research about media reporters who were writing about Fox News or Ailes. Former employees described being tasked to investigate reporters from a variety of beats, including hunting down personal information such as voter registration that was used to determine how ‘Fox-friendly’ the reporter was.”

The use of a newsroom’s assets and personnel to carry out private vendettas is plainly unethical, as noted by NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik. Folkenflik was himself a victim of Fox’s wrath and gave the Daily Beast his assessment of the toxic environment at Fox News:

“They are on a wartime footing. They approach this stuff in a very different way, in the way that a PR shop in a political campaign would. It is hard to imagine any other serious news outlet — The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN — handling negative news stories in this way.”

And that’s pretty much the gist of it. Fox is perpetually at war. It is a theme that permeates their broadcasts whether it’s about a Class War or a War on Christmas, there is a built in hostility at Fox that infects its personnel on and off the air. It is why they regard anyone who disagrees with their editorial viewpoint as a hostile adversary. And that precise language was used in an ad that Fox placed in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post:

Fox News Ad

[Update 1/11/2014] In response to Ailes claim that he rehired Palin to piss people off, Palin took to her Facebook page to say “Funny. I accepted for the same reason!” Proving that both Ailes and Palin are too stupid to grasp that her critics aren’t the least bit pissed off by her coming back to Fox and spewing her laughably ignorant drivel.

Unbelievable: How Fox News CEO Roger Ailes Distorted A Middle School Election

By now anyone who is paying attention knows that Fox News is a disreputable purveyor of heavily biased propaganda on behalf of the Republican Party and conservative politics. The network openly favors GOP/Tea Party pundits and politicians and has even been caught reporting Republican press releases verbatim as if they were independently sourced news stories.

Roger Ailes

Now an excerpt from an upcoming biography of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes provides an outstanding illustration of the mindset that runs Fox News. The book, “The Loudest Voice In The Room” by Gabriel Sherman, was excerpted in New York Magazine and includes a passage about how Ailes intervened with the reporting in a local newspaper he owns in Putnam County, New York, where he lives in a mountaintop estate. The entire excerpt offers a revealing look into the thought processes of Ailes as he seeks to dominate any environment in which he resides – even a small upstate New York hamlet and its local news, schools, and government.

Another drama erupted after a reporter named Michael Turton was assigned to cover Haldane Middle School’s mock presidential election. After the event, Turton filed a report headlined “Mock Election Generated Excitement at Haldane; Obama Defeats McCain by 2–1 Margin.” He went on, “The 2008 U.S. presidential election is now history. And when the votes were tallied, Barack Obama had defeated John McCain by more than a two to one margin. The final vote count was 128 to 53.” Reading the published version a few days later, Turton was shocked. The headline had been changed: “Mock Presidential Election Held at Haldane; Middle School Students Vote to Learn Civic Responsibility.” So had the opening paragraph: “Haldane students in grades 6 through 8 were entitled to vote for president and they did so with great enthusiasm.” Obama’s margin of victory was struck from the article. His win was buried in the last paragraph.

Turton was upset, and wrote a questioning e-mail to [editor Maureen] Hunt, but never heard back. Instead, he received a series of accusatory e-mails from the Aileses. Turton had disregarded “specific instructions” for the piece, Beth wrote. “Do you anticipate this becoming an ongoing problem for you?” A short while later, Roger weighed in. Maureen Hunt’s instructions to focus on the school’s process for teaching about elections had been “very clear,” he wrote, and Turton’s “desire to change the story into a big Obama win” should have taken a backseat. Ailes described himself as “disappointed” by Turton’s failure “to follow the agreed upon direction.”

The unfolding of events in this deliberate act of interference with a journalist’s role in reporting the news mirrors perfectly the sort of heavy-handed control that Ailes wields over Fox News. It is easy to see the parallels between this microcosm of journalism and the obvious distortions of reality that occur on Fox News every day.

This excerpt is a tantalizing morsel of what the book promises to deliver when it is released later this month. It is written in a compelling way, with credible sources, profound revelations, and dramatic flair. Consequently, we can expect Fox News to mount a fierce smear campaign against the book and its author as its release nears and in the weeks that follow. Indeed, it has already begun.

How Fox News Links ObamaCare To Falling Into An Orchestra Pit

“If you have two guys on stage and one guy says ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?” ~ Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes

The “Orchestra Pit” theory of news programming by Roger Ailes perfectly describes the way much of the mainstream media, and particularly Fox News, responds to current events. Whatever angle they can wrench themselves into that results in producing more superfluous melodrama is the one they choose, regardless of how far that diverts from real substance or even reality (see Fox Nation vs. Reality for some flagrant assaults on truth).

Roger Ailes

Yesterday the administration released data on the number of people who enrolled in new health insurance plans made available by ObamaCare. In the first month there were 106,000 people who got new plans via Heathcare.gov and the state-based exchanges. Almost immediately that number was decried as a catastrophic failure by the media. However, very few reporters actually provided the necessary context within which to view this data. They leaped at the opportunity to bellow ignorantly about what they characterized as an insurmountable defeat. Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer even discussed the possibility that this would herald the end of liberalism.

A more thorough analysis of the data shows that the magnitude of the fiasco was not nearly as pronounced as the media declared. First of all, everyone knew that there were functional problems with the website that would hamper enrollments. So to register surprise when numbers were released that fell below estimates made a year ago is plainly dishonest. The lower figures were expected by everyone involved and the feigned shock illustrates the devotion that media has for hysterical theatricality.

Furthermore, the numbers are not even all that bad despite the botched technology. Comparing this rollout to the rollout of RomneyCare in Massachusetts shows a similar pattern wherein enrollments started out slowly and rapidly increased as it got closer to the deadline. The Washington Post reported last month that…

“Just 123 people signed up during the Bay State’s first month of open enrollment. By contrast, 20 percent of the first year’s 36,000 enrollees purchased coverage in the last month before an individual mandate penalty kicked in.”

It is also notable that the states that provided their own exchanges signed up many more people than those that failed to do so. For instance, Kentucky’s exchange signed up five times more citizens than its exchange-less neighbor, Tennessee. Of the “Four Corners” states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah), only Colorado has its own exchange. But it signed up three times the number of citizens as the other three combined. In fact, California’s exchange enrolled more citizens than all 36 exchange-less states combined. What’s more, many in the media are conveniently forgetting that the expansion of Medicaid is also a part of ObamaCare. And 400,000 Americans now have health insurance through Medicaid as a result. That brings the total to half a million.

By this measure, with four months left in the open enrollment period, ObamaCare is on track to meet or exceed its estimates so long as the website problems are resolved, or people have adequate access to alternatives. But another factor that comes into play is the relentless attacks on ObamaCare by Fox News and other right-wing media. The consequences of this coordinated effort to frighten the American people include both dissuading new enrollments and prodding Congress to push for crippling legislation to delay and/or defund the program. It’s a self-fulling prophecy of doom wherein critics blast ObamaCare as failing to meet expectations, act to disparage and dismantle it, and then complain when it falls short of inflated expectations. Extremist right-wingers have been working furiously to sabotage ObamaCare, and it is no coincidence that almost every state without an exchange has a Republican governor and legislature.

The downside of this unfolding of ObamaCare news is the allegedly poor rate of enrollment. And on that matter, Fox obsessively focuses on negative reports that characterize the program as having tripped and fallen into a bottomless (orchestra) pit. But the other newsmaker on the stage is Obama’s plan that has provided 48 million Americans with access to health care that they had been denied previously. This solves a problem that prior administrations, going back FDR, have tried and failed to solve.

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It is a historic achievement, but the media is fixated on the website that fell into the Orchestra Pit, while ignoring the far greater achievement of making health care accessible to millions. So thanks, Roger Ailes, for helping the press to neglect what is truly important in order to promote relative trivialities and misrepresentations, and thereby advancing your personal agenda of Tea Party extremism and callous insensitivity toward those less fortunate than you. Despite your campaign to destroy a program that will bring life-saving relief to millions of Americans, the people are going to discover the benefits of this innovation and reward those who delivered it – and punish those who tried to kill it.

Fox News Hypes Roger Ailes’ Asinine Syria Strategy

The ever-shifting attitudes on the crisis in Syria by Fox News have already seen the network condemn President Obama for proposing that the White House take unilateral action against Syria, then complaining when the President brought Congress into the decision-making. They blasted Russian president Vladimir Putin for his alliance with Assad, then hailed him as deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize.

The only distinction between any of their positions and their subsequent contrary positions was where they thought Obama stood at the time. It’s as predictable as night following day. If Obama is for it, Fox fires on all cylinders to convince their gullible audience that there is something terribly wrong with it.

Fox News - Eric Bolling
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But Fox doesn’t always take an entirely negative approach. Sometimes they see a positive path to promote their kneejerk anti-Obamaism. Eric Bolling, co-host of Fox’s The Five, saw just such a path yesterday to advance a truly harebrained idea that was floated by Fox’s CEO, Roger Ailes. Bolling pretended that he just happened to be reading a sycophantic Ailes biography that was published a year ago (what took him so long), and discovered a passage that pertained to the current state of affairs in Syria. In a couple of rather vacant paragraphs, Bolling saw something so profound that he proclaimed that he was “about to blow your mind.” He then recited from the hallowed text of the book…

“Putin is angry. He thinks the United States doesn’t take him seriously or treat Russia as a major player. Okay, fine, that’s how he feels. If I were president, I’d get in a room with him and say, ‘Look at the slaughter going on in Syria. You can stop it. Do it, and I’ll see to it that you can get all the credit. I’ll tell the world it was you who saved the innocent children of Syria from slaughter. You’ll be an international hero. You’ll go down in history.’ Hell, Putin would go to bed thinking, ‘That’s not a bad offer.’

There will still be plenty of other issues I’d have with Russia. But instead of looking for one huge deal that settles everything, you take a piece of the problem and solve it. Give an incentive for good behavior. Show the other guy his self-interest. Everybody has an ego. Everybody needs dignity. And what does it cost? You get what you want you give up nothing.”

Let’s break this down. Ailes essentially proposed that Obama suggest to Putin that he should do something that he already knows he can do, and that he can do without any help from Obama. Then Obama is supposed to magnanimously offer to let Putin take credit what he (Putin) actually did. It’s a little like saying “Hey Roger. Why don’t you donate $10,000 to the Red Cross and, if you do, I’ll let you have all the credit.”

The proposal by Ailes is so devoid of substance that it can hardly be construed as a proposal at all. What’s more, it is ludicrous to think that Putin would have been interested in taking credit for leaning on Assad when Putin was allied with Assad’s efforts to defeat the rebels trying to depose him. Had Obama suggested that Putin tell Assad to retreat in the battle to preserve his rule, Putin would have gone to bed thinking “What a putz.”

Ailes seems to have no conception that “good behavior” is a subjective term and that it means something very different to Putin and Assad than it does to Ailes or Obama. It was the use of chemical weapons that upended the playing field and jolted Putin’s perspective to one that might find common ground with Obama and the rest of the civilized world. But that happened last month, not last year, and absent that, Putin would have laughed off any attempt to come between him and his pal Assad.

Eric Bolling has demonstrated that he is just as clueless as Ailes. His recitation of this dimwitted plan is nothing more than brown-nosing his boss and wasting air time to engage in rank self-congratulatory blather. Bolling has never distinguished himself as much of thinker, but this transparent act of vanity really drives home the point that he is incapable of original thought or coherent analysis. And that’s probably a good sign that he has a fair degree of job security at Fox News.

The Plot Thickens: Fired Fox News Exec Fires Back

Roger AilesLast week news broke that Fox News Executive VP of Communications, Brian Lewis, was terminated and escorted from the building by security. Vague charges of “financial irregularities” were asserted, but without specifics.

The termination was quickly followed by what appeared to be a coordinated smear campaign by Fox personnel, both in the office suites and on the air. It was suspiciously hostile treatment for a top aide to Fox CEO Roger Ailes, who had been with the network since it’s inception. This lead to speculation that the reasons for Lewis’ departure were likely different than those the company was offering.

[Read our previous story detailing the circumstances of Lewis’ departure and an alternative explanation for the separation]

Now Gawker is reporting that Lewis has retained a high-powered attorney, Judd Burstein, and the tone of his public introduction suggests that some fireworks will be part of the battle between Lewis and Fox:

Burstein: I have just been retained and am still plotting our course of action. But two things are very clear to me. First, Brian Lewis no longer has any confidentiality obligation to Newscorp or Roger Ailes because of the false and malicious statements made by Fox to date. Second, Roger Ailes and Newscorp have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis.

Yee-friggen-Haw! This sounds like it’s gonna be fun. The statement that any obligation of confidentiality is now moot is a blow across the bow of Fox News. It means that they know stuff and they’re willing to talk. It means that they are disputing the allegations of financial malfeasance, which means that there is another reason for the unceremonious sacking. And the frank language that casts Ailes and his henchmen as “toadies” is a clear indication that they mean business.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s gonna be bumpy ride.

Cloak And Dagger: Why Did Fox News Fire Roger Ailes’ Right-Hand Man?

Last month Brian Lewis was quietly escorted from the Fox News offices by security personnel. It is only now becoming known that this long-time employee was terminated under suspicious circumstances. The statement from Fox News said that Lewis, Fox’s Executive VP of Communications, was…

“…terminated for cause, specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract.”

No further statement from Fox was issued, and insiders are being characteristically silent as to the nature of the “financial irregularities.” However, there are good reasons to suspect that there is more to this than meets the eye.

Roger AilesLewis has long been identified as one of the closest associates of Fox CEO Roger Ailes. He was brought along to Fox with Ailes from their previous positions at CNBC. Having been with Fox since its inception, Lewis rose to a position of trust wherein his responsibilities covered everything from Fox News, to Fox Business, to the Fox television stations, and more. In addition, he was listed as a senior adviser to Ailes. His authority was broad and comprehensive. For Ailes to jettison him so abruptly he must have done something unforgivably terrible.

Adding to the curious nature of Lewis’ departure is the treatment he has received from official Fox spokespersons and even their on-air personnel. Lewis is now being portrayed as a nearly insignificant cog in the Fox family. They dispute the descriptions of him as an Ailes confidant. Apparently, at Fox you can be an executive VP from the network’s launch and still not be very important. Many Foxies piled on in the belittling of Lewis, including Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, and more.

This is the sort of coordinated smear campaign that Fox generally embarks upon when they regard themselves as under attack. Ironically, it was Lewis who spearheaded these campaigns prior to his falling out.

In one example, Fox went after Media Matters in advance of their publication of the book “The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine” They devoted hours of airtime to slandering Media Matters and its founder, David Brock, whom they called a mentally unstable drug abuser. Fox also aired innumerable segments challenging Media Matters’ tax exempt status in an effort to financially harm the organization. Funny, isn’t it, that Fox tried to get the IRS to punish what they falsely claimed was a political entity, and now they are condemning the IRS for allegedly doing just that to Tea party groups.

Another example is the campaign Fox ran against author Gabriel Sherman, who is writing a book about Ailes. This effort began with Ailes soliciting his own biography that was written by his hand-picked, sycophantic fluffer, Zev Chafets, in an attempt to beat Sherman to market. Then the war was escalated with personal attacks on Sherman, calling him a “phony journalist,” a “stalker,” a “harasser,” and “a [George] Soros puppet.” It is this Sherman angle that raises questions about the termination of Lewis.

Speculation is already surfacing that Ailes suspected Lewis of providing information to Sherman for his book. Ailes, of course, is notoriously paranoid and believes that Al Qaeda and the gays are out to get him too. However, if Lewis is a source for Sherman’s book he would surely have an abundance of juicy tidbits to unveil. Sherman himself wrote of Lewis’ departure from Fox and his account is both informative and provocative.

The likelihood that Lewis was engaged in something other than financial improprieties is pretty high. It is hard to believe that an Ailes loyalist for nearly two decades would suddenly become a common embezzler. Much more plausible is the theory that Lewis was persuaded to consort with an author with the intention of putting honest accounts into the record. That alone would mark Lewis as a traitor in the eyes of Ailes, and justify his expulsion from the Fox family.

Moreover, the familiar pattern that Fox follows by staging all-out war against anyone who dares to challenge their omnipotence is evident in the way they are hammering Lewis. If this were actually a routine dismissal of an errant employee there would be no need for the merciless bashing that Lewis is enduring. However, if Lewis was consorting with the enemy, this is precisely how Fox would respond.

This is a textbook example of a Fox News preemptive attack of the sort they launched on Media Matters and, previously, Sherman. It is something they believe would serve them later on should they need to discredit Lewis if his contributions show up in Sherman’s book. Most of all, it is not how a company ordinarily handles a sensitive personnel matter. But it is characteristic of the scorched-earth strategy that Fox employs when cornered.

[Update] See Brian Lewis’ response here.