How To Handle Fox News

The Politico speculates that Fox News might retaliate against John Edwards for his principled stand against participating in debates sponsored by the network devoted to defeating Democrats. But it doesn’t require much imagination because Fox has already stooped to issuing veiled threats directed at independent minded politicians:

“Any candidate for high office from either party who believes he can blacklist any news organization is making a terrible mistake about journalists.” ~ Roger Ailes, Fox CEO.

To which I would respond:

“Any news organization who believes they can smear any candidate for high office from either party is making a terrible mistake about democracy.”

Roger Ailes is not someone to whom I would turn for advice on journalistic ethics. This is, after all, the same man who said, with a shamelessly straight face…

“The greatest danger to journalism is a newsroom or a profession where everyone thinks alike.”

Then he hires Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, John Gibson, Fred Barnes, Neil Cavuto, Tony Snow, Brit Hume, John Moody, etc. Now that the right wing tunnel vision that plagues Fox has resulted in the objects of their scorn declining to submit to the abuse, Fox gets cranky.

Earlier this year, the publicist for Joan Baez protected her client from a pre-Grammy assault by Mike Straka, VP and Executive Producer of Straka wrote of his surprise at being avoided, saying…

“she was on her way over to talk to Anita Vogel and me when her publicist whisked her away shouting, “They’re FOX. We don’t talk to FOX.”

Imagine that. Straka, the author of “Grrr! Celebrities Are Ruining Our Country,” was surprised that a celebrity didn’t want to talk to him. Sounds like an alert publicist to me.

So what’s wrong with the Congressional Black Caucus who, despite having been rejected by Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, insist that their Fox-sponsored Democratic primary debate is still on:
“As a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, the CBC Institute is holding the debates to help educate African-Americans and others on key issues of national policy.”

I submit that the CBC could go a lot further to help educate African-Americans by refusing to be exploited by a network that has repeatedly slandered them. And if they really think that debates on Fox represent…

“…a unique and rare opportunity for the candidates to present their message and ideas to millions of voters in a manner that is unfiltered by any political or news organization.”

Well, I’d just have to conclude that they are acutely naive.

It’s nice to see that the Edwards camp isn’t caving in to Fox’ tantrums. Edwards’ aide Jonathan Prince, responding to the prospect of vengeance from a spurned Fox, said:

“What are they going to do? The more that they behave outrageously, the more they show that they’re not a legitimate objective source of news.”

Bingo! If there is anyone who is still intimidated by the cable news neighborhood bully, this is all you need to know. It is now safe to stand up for honest reporting and unbiased coverage. Fox can’t persist with their defamatory behavior and expect their targets to stay silent and absorb the blows. And they can’t fight back either because it would just confirm their image as antagonistic and ideologically slanted.

The jig is up. Fear not, for there is no wizard behind the curtain. If you stand up to Fox, Fox will stand down – or fall down, flat on its face.