Demonstrating that a fish stinks from the head, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes made some remarkably dishonest remarks in an interview with TVNewser’s Chris Ariens. Ailes was asked how he thought the next four years of the Obama administration would play out. He said…
“It’s day to day for us. We don’t — I know no one believes it — we have no agenda. If he runs into a burning building tomorrow and saves four kids, he’s gonna be the biggest goddamn hero Fox News ever saw. But if he leaves four guys behind on the battlefield but can’t explain it, then he’s gonna have a problem with Fox News.”
This is pretty good evidence that the liars on Fox News have taken their cues from the boss. The reason they are so comfortable making outrageous statements that are utterly devoid of factual basis is that Ailes has communicated clearly that it’s acceptable and he’s shown them how it’s done.
The notion that Fox News has no agenda is a fallacy that no one with a functioning brain would give credence. Even the most ardent conservatives recognize the partisan bias exercised at Fox, and they exploit it to their advantage. Sarah Palin once counseled a troubled GOP senate candidate to “Speak through Fox News.” Ailes himself has described his vision of Fox saying “I see this as the Alamo. If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we’d be fine.” The network worked feverishly to oppose President Obama’s first term and reelection.
Ailes’ suggestion that he would praise the President if he did something worthy is provably false. In the days that followed the killing of Osama Bin Laden, Fox News ran numerous stories suggesting that the mission was unlawful. Their coverage of the same issue during the presidential campaign portrayed Obama, not as a heroic and decisive leader, but as an egotistical braggart. It’s likely that Fox would handle a story about Obama saving children from a burning building in the same disparaging manner. And even though Obama did not leave “four guys behind on the battlefield,” an obvious reference to Benghazi, Ailes and Fox still characterize the story that way.
Ailes likes to pretend that he’s a “fair and balanced” journalist. But the assertion that he has no agenda is belied by what actually gets on the air. A couple of years ago he told the conservative National Review that he saw himself as merely a contrarian. “To be honest with you,” he said, “if all the media was tipped to the right, I’d be the biggest liberal in New York.” But he had plenty of opportunity to be contrary after 9/11 when the rest of the media was propping up George Bush, whose administration had failed to prevent the attack. He could have been a big liberal in 2003 when the rest of the media was jumping on Bush’s bandwagon for an unjustified and illegal war with Iraq.
Nope. Ailes is as he has always been: an unrepentant arch-conservative activist running a pseudo-news enterprise on behalf of a starkly right-wing agenda.