Former New York Times editor Howell Raines asks a fair question in the Washington Post — namely, “Why haven’t America’s old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration — a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?”
The truth is, some journalists — mostly TV critics — have. And they’ve been dismissed, derided and labeled “smear merchants” for their efforts. (At this point, of course, many are just happy to be noticed.)
Actually, even Ailes — whose public appearances of late included one on ABC’s “This Week” — seemed to acknowledge in a recent interview that the Obama administration might have some “legitimate complaints” about Fox’s coverage, as Think Progress noted.
Still, at Fox News Channel, no slight can go without a nuclear response, usually from an anonymous spokeswoman. And since Raines is a big fat target for his spotty record at the Times, expect to see a retaliatory quote something like this cropping up in the next few days from Fox, without attribution to an actual person:
“Since Howell Raines did all he could to destroy the credibility of the New York Times, which is now struggling and hanging on by its fingernails, Fox News — which is very successful and the top-ranked cable news network — isn’t really going to be soliciting his advice. Perhaps Raines can go and hire some more fabulists, a la Jayson Blair, to make up stories at whatever venture he chooses to ruin and turn into a laughingstock next.
“We wish him well.”
Update: Well the gang at Fox News certainly didn’t disappoint. Here’s the channel’s actual snarky, sarcastic quote, courtesy of mediabistro.com/tvnewser.
On the plus side, there is something to be said for consistency and predictability. And if the journalism thing implodes, I apparently have a future in PR.