Fox News CEO and former Nixon aide Roger Ailes claimed late last year that his news channel had undergone a “course correction.” He no longer allowed Fox personalities to directly promote Tea Party events on the air, he cut back on the Palin, and he replaced Glenn Beck with five of the dullest personalities he could find.
Possibly reacting to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting – or the phone hacking scandal confronting parent News Corp – Ailes seemed to be trying to prevent his network from becoming a complete joke.
But as elections near, Fox News is like a werewolf beneath a full moon. Daily the channel has been morphing into a Romney telethon. Recently its producers manufactured a controversy to help Mitt Romney’s National Finance Co-Chair raise more millions. And then last week, all pretenses were dropped.
Fox and Friends — the morning show broadcast from an alternate dimension where Michele Bachmann makes sense and George W. Bush has Bill Clinton’s record — aired a four-minute attack ad targeting the President. Apparently a producer on the show worked on the ad “for weeks,” matching all the dishonesty of the Rove/Koch brothers’ ads attacking the President. But this particular dishonest attack ad aired in full for free on a national news network — twice.
By the middle of the day, someone at Fox remembered their much-parodied “Fair and Balanced” motto and took the ad down. It was, Fox officials announced, not authorized. But they will not fire the producer who spent several weeks making an unauthorized ad.
What’s amazing here is not that Fox News was attacking the President. Frankly, they do worse on a daily basis. The amazing thing is that they admitted there is a line –and they’d crossed it.
Reports are emerging that Mitt Romney and his allies will be spending $1.8 billion to defeat President Obama, and that remarkable figure includes not a cent of the three and a half year campaign waged by Ailes’ channel to discredit and demean the Commander-in-Chief.
A new study shows that Fox News viewers are less informed than people who watch no news at all. Put it this way: Fox News viewers are nearly as uninformed as Fox News’ hosts.
Once, the frenzied, fact-free witch-hunting of McCarthyism was considered a crisis in American democracy. But that was before Ailes transformed the same tactics into an extremely successful business model. And it looks as if we can expect more of the same as we get closer to November.
So much for that “course correction.” You have to LOL when Ailes and his minions pretend to have standards. It’s too bad you have to take them seriously, too.