The First Refuge of Scoundrels: How Fox News Recruits From Reporting’s Worst Rejects

Journalism is a competitive field and the best and the brightest are highly valued assets by reputable news enterprises. And then there’s Fox News.

Tucker Carlson

No other “news” organization so aggressively hires the refuse cast off from other media employers. It must be a great comfort for wayward reporters and pundits to know that if they should violate the standards of ethics and/or decency demanded of them, they will always have somewhere to turn for sympathy and a fat paycheck, not to mention an undiscriminating audience.

For so many fallen television personalities, Fox News has been a support system that promises them a steady career path and a future that, in the past, would have meant well-deserved humiliation and disgrace. For these folks Fox was their white knight who stepped forward to whitewash their professional sins.

Pat Buchanan: The author of notoriously bigoted books like “State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America,” Buchanan was released from his contract with MSNBC after he wrote that as a result of “the rise to power of an Obama rainbow coalition of peoples of color […] whites may discover what it is like to ride in the back of the bus.” He then complained that he was a victim of blacklisting by a coalition of blacks, gays, and Jews, before being swept up by Fox.

Juan Williams: A veteran correspondent for National Public Radio, Williams went astray when he confessed that “when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.” Williams failed to see the inherent racism in his commentary and refused to apologize. Shortly after NPR relieved him of his duties there, Fox signed him to a new multimillion dollar contract.

Judith Miller: In the lead-up to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, New York Times reporter Judith Miller coordinated with the administration to make the case for war. Her articles gave credibility to fabricated allegations that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. Eventually her distortions were revealed and the Times sent her packing. And where else but Fox would have welcomed her with such open arms?

Erick Erickson: Following the election in November of 2012, many news outlets resolved to reexamine their operations and staff. At CNN they concluded that there was no longer a place for an ultra-conservative blogger who once called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a “goat-fucking child-molester.” Fox was also undergoing a self-examination and decided that Erickson was just what they were looking for.

Rick Sanchez: Not satisfied with calling Jon Stewart a bigot in a radio interview, Sanchez elaborated by falling back on the well-worn anti-Semitic theme of Jews controlling the media. “[E]verybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart,” Sanchez said, “and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they – the people in this country who are Jewish – are an oppressed minority? Yeah.” Today Sanchez is a correspondent with Fox News Latino and MundoFox. Ironically, Sanchez once castigated Latinos who worked for Fox as “sell-outs,” and Fox responded by saying that “Everyone knows that Rick is an industry joke, he shows that he’s a hack everyday. And he doesn’t have to worry about working at FOX because we only hire talent who have the ability to generate ratings.”

Mark Fuhrman: A regular crime analyst on Fox, Fuhrman may be better known as the disgraced former Los Angeles police officer who upended the O.J. Simpson trial by falsely testifying that he had never used racist epithets. That sort of behavior, however, is not a problem for the editorial bosses at Fox.

Doug McKelway: A familiar face in Washington, D.C., McKelway anchored a local news broadcast until he drew complaints for having told a gay activist he was interviewing that he wanted to take him outside and punch him in the face. That episode capped a rocky tenure during which he often fought with producers over his perception that the station’s broadcasts were too liberal. He doesn’t have that problem anymore now that he is a correspondent at Fox.

Lou Dobbs: This long-time CNN anchor was ostensibly CNN’s financial expert. Somewhere along the way he assumed the role of an immigrant basher and a proponent of the racist notion that all terrorists are Muslim. And to sweeten the pot, Dobbs joined the Birther Brigade by repeatedly demanding that President Obama produce his “real” birth certificate. In retrospect, it seems like Dobbs was positioning himself for future work at Fox News.

Oliver North: Here’s an oldie but a goodie. Col. North was convicted of lying to congress about President Reagan’s arms-for-hostages affair. While the conviction was later overturned by an appellate court that ruled that North’s testimony had been immunized, the underlying facts were not in question. North’s confession to a host of illegal acts was not a hindrance to his becoming a host on Fox News.

Don Imus: What can be said about the guy who was fired for calling a group of women on a college basketball team “nappy-headed hos?” Fox calls him the anchor of the morning block on their financial network.

Tucker Carlson: Perhaps the poster child for Fox’s Disgraced Reporter Rescue Program is Tucker Carlson, who has managed to fail on CNN, PBS, and MSNBC before receiving salvation from Fox. And like Sanchez, Carlson once held Fox in low esteem calling them “a mean, sick group of people,” after they published his home phone number on the Fox web site. But when Carlson was jettisoned from MSNBC he worked his way back into the good graces of Fox as the editor of The Daily Caller blog, then as a Fox contributor, and now the co-host of the weekend edition of Fox & Friends.

This pattern of staff development by Fox relies heavily on applicants (or, in the case of Sanchez and Carlson, supplicants) with proven histories of impropriety. They seem to regard the discards of other networks as their richest vein of new talent. And if the prospect has any lingering felonies on their rap sheet, all the better. The frequency with which Fox acquires ethically-challenged employees belies any suggestion that it is mere coincidence. They are clearly drawn to the reportorial riffraff and regard moral defects as badges of honor.

Consequently, if anyone is interested in handicapping the next batch of Fox contributors, just check to see who has been recently terminated at some other news outlet or paroled from prison. And if their offense involved an injury to a liberal policy or person, double down, you’ve got a sure thing.

Inside The Disgusting Mind Of Mark Foley

A North Palm Beach, Florida radio station has announced that they will be testing a new program to be hosted by congressional sexual predator, Mark Foley.

As a refresher, Foley was the Republican representative of the 16th district of Florida. He resigned his seat after it had been revealed that he had engaged in sexually explicit communications with Congressional pages, some of them underage.

Now WSVU is preparing for broadcast what may be the first episode of “Inside the Mind of Mark Foley.” Now there’s a place I surely would not want to go. The selection of that name suggests a certain tone deafness by the folks at WSVU. But the irony couldn’t be any worse than the station’s call letters themselves, which mirror the name of the television crime drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” How appropriate is it that the station that presently airs Don Imus, and is seeking to put Foley on it’s roster has call letters that bring to mind sexual perversity and assault?

Joe Raineri, the show’s producer, when asked about the project being syndicated said “I don’t see anything stopping it.” Really? Not even the fact that the host is a sleazeball who was forced to resign from Congress in disgrace? I suppose that in the world of talk radio, that may not be an impediment to success. After all, convicted felons Ollie North and G. Gordon Liddy haven’t been hurt by their malfeasance. And the number one talk radio personality, Rush Limbaugh, is still riding high (pun intended) after getting caught in an Oxy-Contin scandal.

Here’s a taste of the program from a promotional snippet:

“So do you want to know what’s inside the mind of Mark Foley? A real insider’s view into the inner workings of Washington, D.C.”

No I don’t. And this is just what we need – more bloviating from Washington insiders. There certainly isn’t enough of that in the media.

Don Imus Heading To Fox Business Network?

Industry sources are reporting that Don Imus is in talks with the Fox Business Network to simulcast his “Imus in the Morning” radio program:

“Several sources close to the show claim “Imus In The Morning” is close to a deal which would move the show to the Fox Business Network. According to these sources, RFD-TV is looking to drop the show due to financial problems at the network. Fox Business Network has reportedly shown strong interest in the show, and it could make the move as early as September 1.”

This is a de facto admission by FBN that they have failed to attract an audience capable of sustaining the network. They are approaching their second anniversary and still do not permit Nielsen to publish their ratings. That is an unprecedented situation that suggests that their ratings are embarrassingly bad.

Acquiring Imus would be a desperation play for eyeballs. While Imus suffered a devastating blow as a result of his “nappy headed hos” remarks, losing his top-rated radio program and the MSNBC simulcast, he still has a smaller but significant fan base. However, for a business network to hand over the prime morning hours as the stock market opens to a shock jock with no business credibility tells you that they no longer consider business news their mission. They are grasping for any viewers they can round up. Remember, this is the network that interviewd New York’s Naked Cowboy on their first day of broadcasting.

They haven’t come very far since then, have they?