Tuesday, July 26, 2016


washed up
     From Pacific detritus to a world apart, tide pools offer a kaleidoscope. We go there, just ahead.

how will America's conservative voice survive the slime?

      The future of Fox News is the serious speculation in media and financial circles now that its creator and driving force has been dumped for being a sexual miscreant and bully. This is a story larger than the offenses of a dirty old man and sexual extortionist, Roger Ailes.
      Fox News is a huge cash cow, the largest money maker in the 21st Century/Rupert Murdoch empire and a key to it's market value. Fox is also the principle mouth piece for a brand of Republicanism and conservatism. The king of Fox News's culture of sexual harassment is offender number one, creator Ailes and that raises yet another question, the integrity of anything you see on Fox News. More about that quandary in a moment.
not a journalist
      In serious journalistic discussion, Roger Ailes is considered a propagandist, despite being the brains behind the successful Fox News empire. 
      Ailes concocted the notion of a propaganda network when he worked for Richard Nixon. Before Fox News Ailes was a political word smith and hack.
He was a partisan in the employ of Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, plus other candidates. His specialty was spin, selling a candidate and their position. There was nothing fair or balanced about his work ethic. He did not care about facts or truth other than what a campaign or administration wanted the public to know and or think. He was a shill, and if the reports are to be believed he was an abusive sexual predator all the while.
      Ailes was outed by high profile Fox News talent. Since then victims of his harassment from past decades have come forward and the Murdoch family canned him, albeit with a multi million dollar severance. Ailes made them billions, still the younger Murdochs do not like Ailes and so Fox must now manage a future without the dirty old man and coverage tyrant.
fox news is big money
      Fox News with it's conservative to arch conservative personalities and the Ailes spin on news has amassed an audience of devotees. To abandon it's current format risks a huge financial loss. But it has become clear Ailes directed the tone, nature and content of Fox News-both it's personality programs and it's "news coverage." Ailes decided what and who got on the air. He hired the talent and directed coverage.
      Ailes was not a journalist, remember. He was a propagandist but he found an audience of true believers and he made the network a profit center, a huge winner of cash while he advanced political agendas of his own choosing while also harassing, intimidating and extorting women who worked for him.  He set a tone and in the last few days we've learned there were other men who emulated the boss. Conservative America had no idea who was playing them for a chump.
saying no to miles
      My problem with Fox News has always been Ailes. Years ago a well respected political operative and now a former Governor suggested I might reach out to Ailes as he was building Fox News. This public servant knew Ailes because they had worked for the same President. I passed on the option because of my sense of Ailes. He was not out to create a new brand of journalism, he was out to create a clearly tilted perspective on news with the sole purpose to feed a conservative political audience it's own view of things and to make billions of dollars in the process. Some will tell you Ailes created a response to a liberal bias, to balance things. Poppycock! Ailes poisoned the well of journalism by politicizing it in an overt and obvious way. Obvious to those who care about real balance and no slant. But it is the nature of the poisoning. Everything at Fox was according to Ailes. He was a dictator.
      If the New York Times has a liberal bias it is the product of an editorial page and even that is the enterprise of many voices and input. At Fox News it was all Roger Ailes. Hannity and O'Reilly would not exist if they did not tow the Ailes line.
      I don't believe the swill that some spew that CBS, NBC, ABC or even CNN are liberal media. It is just they are not conservative and that alone condemns them to being "liberal." MSNBC is indeed liberal, the antithesis to Fox News, but for the most part the other networks traditionally were simply equal opportunity offenders. A good news organization will tow no line and will in all likelihood irritate left and right, republican and democrat. 
the credibility crisis at fox news
       So here's a hard point. Fox was created by Ailes in his image and to his own designs. He was a manipulator, a political propagandist who dreamed of having a network to sell a party's point of view. That is not fair or balanced and it is not journalism. Any real reporting that was done on Fox was probably done by virtue of enterprise and professionalism of those who worked there. Obviously not everyone drank the Ailes cool-aid. And finally women with courage came forward and exposed the lecherous political hack who posed as a news executive. How can a network that took it's marching orders from a sexual offender who emotionally brutalized employees and who's purpose was to sell a particular political point of view, and who ran the place with an iron hand not be ashamed, embarrassed and exposed for being what it is, a mouthpiece and the tool of a jerk. 
       Bill O'Reilly should put this in the no spin zone. Sean Hannity is a perfect Roger Ailes creation, but O'Reilly is different. I don't think O'Reilly cares much at all about anything that he blathers about.  It's an act. He's a television player and good at it. His real concerns are his ratings and his bank account. He's living a good life with the elite and he played the Ailes game for the big dollars. In that way he is a symbol of Fox News. It is not real, it is spin. But now that Ailes is on the trash heap, Fox has a chance to prove it can be something else, not a Roger Ailes project and not under his menacing regime of an old boy world where white men ruled, where they could sexually intimidate women, where a narrow point of view was spread as truth even if it was not so. So in the months and years ahead it will be interesting to see how Fox News might care more about news than Roger Ailes did.
        Oh, there is a lot of speculation that Ailes might be an advisor to Donald Trump. They are long time friends. How does that sit with you?
a private world
a visit to pacific coast tide pools

    See you down the trail. 


  1. You might want to read Dan Abrams' column in the Review section of the Sunday New York Times for another view.

  2. I read Dan's piece. I would also refer those who care to read Gabe Sherman's reporting on this story. He writes for New Yorker and probably broke the story. His 2014 Book on Ailes the Loudest Voice in the Room is also insightful.
    I think Dan, being new as news exec was frightened into "copying" some of Ailes production techniques--but Ailes himself copied those from local TV stations that had begun to add sounders, active graphics, branding of stories, colorful sets and etc. Ailes of course had a bigger budget than local TV and he had more time to fill. Still I'm not sure all of that eye candy makes for better journalism, nor in the long run does it help attention span.

    1. Oh, you're talking journalism. I thought the subject was ratings.

  3. I seem to recall a comment made by Ailes in 2011 that HE would be picking the next president. If I hadn't already known it, this comment would have been all I needed to know that this man was bad news for FOX and the country.

  4. Even among traditional Republicans and Republican campaign strategists there is a dislike of Ailes, his style, personality and ego.