Friday, October 23, 2009
The Fox News Fiasco
Rope-a-dope. Rope-dope. Rope-a-dope. Knockout.
SMART STRATEGY? "NO MAS." This may be one of those topics Lake is referencing with his observation, "Sometimes you don't comment on some big event that is on everyone else's mind." Frankly, I'm not that concerned about this one. Not because nothing is at stake. A lot's at stake. But there's a point at which you relax. So much is out of your control. Ali is going to get hammered to death on the ropes by the deadliest puncher in heavyweight history, or, uh, he's not. You have to trust that a champion really is a champion and let events take care of themselves. For example, there are are guaranteed certified liberals who work for Fox News, some of them intensely annoying to conservatives like me. Like Ellen Ratner. What does she have to say about this blatant assault on the freedom of the press?
I have been working for Fox News as a confirmed liberal contributor for twelve years.
I know from the inside of the Fox News Channel operation that they are clear about the dividing line between reporting and opinion. They don't like to mix the work of reporters and the show hosts nor should they. I sit at the White House with Fox's White House reporters and they have asked the same questions as other reporters -- both during the Bush administration and the Obama administration.
As a liberal commentator on Fox News Channel I have never been told what to say and have only been asked to restrain myself once in twelve years. And when was that? -- It was on the day that Michael Jackson died and the producer asked me to keep my negative views to myself till some time had passed. That's a concern I can respect. They welcome my thoughts and views and they would welcome President Obama's views as well.
Other lefty Fox contributors like Terry McAuliffe and Bob Beckel have volunteered or reluctantly conceded the same point on the air. And don't think they aren't also working behind the scenes to defend their own integrity and point out the value of their presence on a network which has numerically more Democrats and Independents in its audience than CNN and MSNBC. Let the body-punchers do their thing. Let the guy behind the punches make the biggest mistake of all -- disdain the seemingly passive target of his contemptuous, bullying assault:
Barack Obama is pretty interesting when he gets in front of his money-givers — his biggest fans, I guess. In New York, he said, “Democrats are an opinionated bunch. You know, the other side, they just kinda sometimes do what they’re told. Democrats, y’all thinkin’ for yourselves...”I probably shouldn't tell you what I think of the g-dropping Obama, the "One" who thinks he can really get away with sounding like a down-home preacher to his richest audiences when he insists on sounding like a Harvard know-it-all to the rest of us. So I won't.
But why did I think of the video above? Because NRO's Nordlinger, who reported the anecdote above, was also moved to remember this gem from the independent, free-thinking lefty past:
Let me share with you a letter I published in Impromptus, my NRO column, last year. It had to do with hissing, which was a subject about which I had just written a piece:
Sometime in the late ’70s, Norman Mailer came to Zellerbach Hall at UC-Berkeley to give a talk. The place was sold out. This was during the period when he was writing pieces refuting Germaine Greer. He walked onstage wearing cowboy boots, Levis, and a shirt and jacket . . . and he had a rolling sort of John Wayne gait.
As he stepped up to the microphone, he said approximately the following: “I know that about half of you here tonight hate my guts because of my stand on feminism. So let’s get that out of the way. I want you to hiss me. I want you to let all of your feelings toward me out. Come on, hiss me!”
And the most spine-chilling hiss arose from the audience. It lasted ten seconds. I’d never heard anything like it before, and I haven’t since. It was authentic and deeply felt. And when it subsided, Mailer leaned into the microphone and said, softly, “Obedient bitches.”
Most readers here will know that I'm not over-fond of Norman Mailer. However. The ONE book of his I really liked was called "The Fight." It was about Ali versus Foreman. He had a front row seat. He was a gifted writer about prizefighting, if nothing else. And he made it clear that the punches Ali took from Foreman during his "rope-a-dope" rounds were so loud and devastatingly hard that he couldn't believe Ali was still standing after Round 2, let alone Round 7. Who is it in this war that really has the belly for a fifteen rounder with no timeouts for hurt feelings and bruised egos?
Kurtz addressed the accusations of both parties on Reliable Sources with a panel of top of journalists.
Marisa Guthrie, programming editor for Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, said that when administration officials target Fox News, it doesn't help the President's image or message, and magnifies publicity for the Fox News brand.
"[Obama] can talk to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but he can't talk to Chris Wallace? So, I think it really undermines his unity credibility. And if he's not on the network and administration officials aren't on the network to counter some of the stereotypical caricatures, then, you know, where do you go from there?" Guthrie asked. "Fox News doesn't thrive on access from the administration. They're the opposition. They thrive on agitation... [Fox News President] Roger Ailes said, 'don't pick a fight with people who like to fight.'"
Because sometimes they fight back.
One, two, three, four... nine, ten, OUT, you obedient bitches.