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The Lies of Roger Ailes

Reported by Ellen - December 20, 2004

As previously reported by Melanie, during his interview on C-Span last night, Roger Ailes, FOX News Chairman and CEO, presented a different version of FOX News than the one we know all too well.

According to Ailes, he requires his reporters to "present the news, if there is more than one side, make sure you have it. If you think there's something else you don't agree with make sure it's in the story."

Comment: If Ailes isn't lying, then he is unaware that his reporters are failing miserably at that assignment. See, for example, my posts Prison Abuse a la FOX: The Military Perspective Only, Major Garrett Promotes Bush's National Sales Tax, and FOX Acquits the US Marine in Fallujah Again.

"We haven't retracted a story in eight years." Comment: Off the top of my head, I can think of two: The Kerry is a Metrosexual "joke" played by reporter Carl Cameron and the phony Communists for Kerry story by Jane Roh.

"(The Oil for Food scandal) is "the largest financial scandal in history." Comment: What about BCCI? Off the FOX radar screen, apparently, along with Halliburton.

On the topic of Bill O'Reilly's sex scandal: "I'm not going to say a lot. I believe in innocent until proven guilty." Comment: Unless you're Kofi Annan or a Guantanamo Bay detainee. (One interesting side comment from Ailes: He noted that FOX paid nothing of O'Reilly's recent settlement money. Interviewer Brian Lamb asked Ailes if he was comfortable with the way it came out. Ailes shrugged and said, "I answered your question. FOX paid nothing." Ailes' reticence and the fact that he underscored that O'Reilly paid the entire, multi-million dollar settlement is very damning against O'Reilly, in my not-so-humble opinion.)

Ailes said he left politics because it was "getting mean-spirited. I got up one day and hated politics." Comment: Roger, baby, you really must see Outfoxed! Be advised, however, that it might make you get up one day and hate FOX News.

"We like America. (The other media) don't hate it, they just are constantly telling you what's wrong. There's never a good story about America. We don't promote something that isn't true." Comment: Ailes may like America but he seems to like better demonizing any Americans who disagree with him. Anyone watching FOX News since Thanksgiving would think that America is on the verge of being taken over by God-hating atheists who want nothing more than to ruin everyone else's Christmas and prevent all Americans from practicing their religion and that if moral people don't strike back now, the country is in danger of being run over by such heretics. See, for example, Taking Sides in Cupertino. Roger, Tootsie, if you really like America so much, why are you always fanning the flames of hatred and discord?

Sadly, Brian Lamb asked none of these questions but took Ailes at his word throughout the interview. In fact, he seemed unaware of the ways in which FOX spins, distorts and misreports the news or even what others (The News Hounds, Alternet, Media Matters for America, e.g.) have specifically alleged against the network beyond a general conservative bias. Lamb's gentle but knowledgable interview style that he used so well in C-Span's Booknotes program (now replaced by Q&A, the show that featured Ailes) does not serve him as well when the topic is so much broader.

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