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Posted - Nov 8 2012 : 12:53AM
Stop with this nonsense that he turned off independents. It's not true. He won independents by five, more in the swing states. The more frightening thing to me is: the Dems don't need independents anymore. The electorate in presidential elections is decisively more big D Democratic. Maybe that is Obama. Maybe it's the new normal.
 
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Your other left
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Posted - Nov 8 2012 : 1:40AM
Yes, Romney did better with independents than McCain had, and he bested Obama in some states, but he did not win the independent vote. He just got a bigger piece of it. Unfortunately for him, he didn't need a bigger piece, he needed all of it.
 
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Posted - Nov 8 2012 : 7:47AM
Personally, I have "folders" full of JPEGs (I'm not about to print them out and put them in binders)
 
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Posted - Nov 8 2012 : 11:54PM
fox_fail.JPG

As I said earlier in this thread, Fox' hardcore viewers like it because it verifies their beliefs in a way that Network news or CNN never did. And it is likely that everyone you know watches it too. Knowledge is not being gained.
And then there's the reality disconnect. When you have Dick Morris saying that it's going to be a landslide for Romney in the face of all evidence to the contrary, you see the debilitating effects. Fox News did not air a second of the Romney 47% tape. They didn't mention Todd Akin or Richard Murdouck. It was days before they started airing stories on Trayvon Martin. This "we didn't report it, so it didn't happen in your world" reminds of nothing so much as the Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy and the
zaphod.jpg
BTW, while I agree that liberals should "limit their MSNBC viewing" I believe they get some reading from different sources every now and then. I disagree with Benedikt's meaning; liberals do NOT have the reality disconnect that conservatives displayed this year. When the political year started there was a willingness to work for the House and Senate, but no doubts in anyone's mind that these would be uphill battles. When Obama flubbed that first debate, I don't know anyone on the Dem side who thought he did well. NO ONE. There's simply not a willingness to put blinders on simply in the name of being a good cheerleader. (Indeed, the Democratic party often survives in spite of the defeatist attitudes often put up by adherents.)
Fox is, first and foremost, entertainment -- with a capital E -- for conservatives. So is Rush Limbaugh. Their main allegiance is to the almighty dollar, Reagan Principles, second. They need controversy. They need people screaming at each other. They need to present a message pleasing to the ears of their viewers. Nothing can be allowed to dilute the message. That's a problem.
What I find most intriguing about Fox post-election is how they've co-opted a new message; the MEDIA was in the tank for Obama. We're the only ones reporting the truth but we're overshadowed by the monolithic Liberal Media. Why are they rebooting and now classifying themselves as a scrappy, independent voice of the people after years of ads like this?
fox_ad2.jpgfox_ad.JPG
fox_ad3.jpg
Short answer: They have to. After the elections of 2006, 2008 and last Tuesday, it's apparent to anyone that Fox simply cannot be an effective marketing arm for the Republican party. So crowing that you've got huge ratings doesn't make much sense. So now they have to go to their best boogeyman, Big Media, who continues to be totally, super-mega-biased against conservatives. Fox has to recast itself as David, because dammit, its tough being Goliath. The Lakers, the Yankees...outside of LA and New York, people are united in HATING both those teams and cheer when they lose. Fox lost their championship game this week, so reality has to be recast; we're not as big as everyone thinks we are, goodness no! We're just an intrepid band of intrepid, low-paid, low-profile gals and guys trying to do what's right for America.
So even as the GOP has to pick themselves up and figure out what to do next, so too does Fox. It will be interesting to see how their relationship with the GOP party bosses evolves from this point on.
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Senior Member

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Posted - Nov 12 2012 : 7:58PM
[link inactive:404 - Page not found]Johnathan Martin, POLITICO: The GOP's Media Cocoon
Even I will be more selective in which "news" and politics sources are worth my time, but unlike the vast majority of conservative junkies, I still read the Washington Post regularly. No, I don't have to swear off all of Fox News, or every talking head that got it wrong but Dick Morris and Karl Rove you are dead to me. You just gotta know what you're doing...
Edited by - Cody McLarge on 11/12/2012 7:58:41 PM
 
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Woman of the Decade
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Posted - Nov 13 2012 : 1:29AM
One thing that shocked me is that even the usually sober George Will was talking about a sizable Romney win. Whether you believe that Romney had a chance or not, nobody should have been seeing anything that said Romney Landslide. He's always pompous, but a blind cheerleader is not something I ever thought I'd be calling him.

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Posted - Nov 13 2012 : 2:21AM
I can't quit George Will, but no more election predictions.
 
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Posted - Nov 18 2012 : 12:25PM

Senior Member

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Posted - Nov 28 2012 : 4:27AM
Yeah, yeah you've probably seen . (BuzzFeed)
However, what did ?
And Melinda Henneberger, who may be the second smartest person at the Washington Post, and I, would like make sure you know that. Yep, two sides of the same damn coin, and it isn't even worth arguing.

Senior Member

12345
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Posted - Nov 28 2012 : 11:57AM
That's slightly contradictory. I would argue that the "it" that they aren't as good at is something that they are not trying to do, which is invent 'facts' and take things entirely out of context.
They are both partisan. C'est la vie. You are allowed to be partisan, especially if you basically broadcast that you are.

Edited by - lindi on 11/28/2012 12:01:07 PM


Dianic

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Posted - Dec 2 2012 : 5:08PM
.
 
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Your other left
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Posted - Dec 2 2012 : 6:29PM
^ Yeah, the climate deniers do the same thing - extract the bits where the data is going their way, while ignoring the bigger picture that shows the long-term trend is going up.

Senior Member

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Posted - Dec 3 2012 : 9:02AM
The only thing that's shocking is 57 million cuckoo birds pulled the lever for Romney.
 
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Posted - Dec 5 2012 : 12:19AM

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Posted - Dec 5 2012 : 12:22AM
^
Rove must be stunned. The Cheney Bush White House got Iraq Intel wrong, outed a CIA agent, missed warning about 9/11, "but THIS I get punished for? This?!?!???"

Senior Member

7415 Posts
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Posted - Mar 13 2013 : 9:49PM
Thar he goes!
Ah, MSNBC weekend programming, starting with Up! With Chris Hayes where a bunch of know-it-alls sit around marveling at social progress, only to admit, "yep, more needs to be done, and ain't that the shit, we know exactly what needs to be done", or more aptly, what the government needs must mandate/tax/spend next.
But only that could be topped by the Melissa-Harris Perry hour, where more know-it-alls spend an hour agreeing with one another that white people are racist, have always been racist, and everything they do is racist. Why do white folks procreate? To spread racism, of course.
And now Ed Schultz will bloviate on the weekends too. I assume this component feature will be where Ed and the panel discuss non-union labor, and sit around agreeing that non-union labor is evil, out to dismantle union labor, and probably racist too.
So who will replace Ed? Some say Ezra Klein. That would be alright.
But let me offer MSNBC some actual advice. Move Sharpton into that hour, and move Chuck Todd's show, The Daily Rundown, into the 6pm slot to compete with Special Report with Brett Baier on Fox News. It's pointless to have a "daily rundown" of all the political news that will be made later that day at 9am, especially because any news made before then was probably made on a competing network, or the preceding show, Morning Joe. There's a place for a mostly nonpartisan "deep dive" political news show, one especially hosted by Chuck Todd, but it's not 9am everyday, following a heavily political show with its own mostly nonpartisan spirit, and always featuring Chuck Todd. And MSBNC should pull the trigger now, lest Zucker and CNN place Jake Tapper opposite Brett Baier first.

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Posted - Mar 13 2013 : 10:04PM
Ezra Klein was my husband's guess.
I love Melissa Harris-Perry. We're often gone Saturday and Sunday morning, and it's the only thing my husband ever asks me to tape. She often takes a different approach than other commentators, looking into issues from fresh angles. Have I ever mentioned that I love Melissa Harris-Perry?
I wish they'd move Scarborough's show, because it's over at 6am here, so it's ending about the time I get up. I don't tape it, but I'd rather watch it than watch Alex or Andrea and whoever else is droning before the foursome at noon.
And did I mention that I love Melissa Harris-Perry?

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Posted - Mar 20 2013 : 11:55AM
^
I love her lisp. It makeths her thound so thmart.

Senior Member

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Posted - Apr 5 2013 : 9:06PM
Chris Hayes's show has been on a week now. It seems to suffer from the same problems on all the talking head shows though the continuous panel aspect improves upon some of that. Plus, Hayes goes out of his way to provide a spot for a decidedly conservative "pundit", usually a columnist or a respected analyst. But he doesn't learn anything from them. I've seen Bill Maher coopt a conservative truth, but not Hayes. Like his mentor Rachel Maddow, it seems the point of having an opposing viewpoint is just to have it. When he delivers his monologues, it's the same damn talking points. But at least, those talking points are simply progressive, not tinged with the attacks Ed Schultz was prone to launch. So it's more like The Last Word though less smug, and the bluster is gone, which is a very good thing.
 
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Posted - Apr 13 2013 : 12:59AM
********
Motherfuck me with a two-liter Coke bottle that is some fucking awful shit. Does Brad Paisley read ADT??
Maybe we're better off not talking to each other if this is the best we can do!
 
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Posted - Jul 14 2013 : 8:57AM
Fox News has done everything except hold a ticker-tape parade for George Zimmerman (and let's remember, its still early yet)
Early on, they immediately let it be known they would be supporting Zimmerman, right or wrong. They made Sean Hannity the main face of it and issued daily invective against Al Sharpton and MSNBC. Ever since the trial started they've been persistently on "Riot Watch" because of course, that's what Black people do, when they get mad.
Right now, Ann Coulter, -- Ann Coulter -- is on with them offering her expert analysis. Oh, and here's Tucker Carlson with his Civil Rights-concern trolling ("I thought...well...once Barack Obama was elected, I thought we have moved past this sort of thing!")
And they've now brought on their "Relgious Contributor" (uh, I can't tell if he's a priest or a protestant minister) who's presuming to offer advice on how Trayvon's parents should find it in their hearts to forgive George Zimmerman. Wow. Just...WOW.
Conservative politicians did not want to touch this with a ten-foot pole. Even now, we haven't heard a lot from either side. But Fox decided to go all-in with this, and since they are the official spokesperson for the party this is another black mark for them on top of everything else that we discuss almost daily in the "Ghastly Outdated Party" and the "How Should Republicans Change" threads. The cheerleading aspect of this doesn't play well with anyone except Fox' white, senior citizen audience.

the unknown pervert
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Posted - Jul 14 2013 : 9:06AM
Let me throw this hypothetical out there. How do you suppose MSNBC, CNN, Fox, and the other mainstream media would have covered this if Zimmerman were black? I say they give no more of a shit about this story than they have any of the however many cases of black on black violent crime that have been committed in Chicago this year. Same applies if Martin had been white. No one would have cared. Even Nancy Grace would have ignored this because their was no female victim or perpetrator. You'll never get any media executive to say it on the record but if this was any other type of murder other than white looking guy killing black guy they wouldn't have had any interest in this crime.
 
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Posted - Jul 14 2013 : 9:16AM
^
Granted, you're right on that point. It boiled down to 1) this country's still infantile attitudes on race and culture and 2) the Media's "Oooooooh Shiny Object!" -addiction.
Of course, in most cases of Black on Black crime, if they get a suspect who admits to the shooting, the cops usually don't just let toussle his hair and say "aw, he's so cute. Get outta here you lil' scamp!"
But again, as discussed in this thread, Fox News holds more weight with conservatives than CNN and MSNBC do with liberals.

Senior Member

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Posted - Jul 14 2013 : 5:47PM
How the fuck has this doofus clown managed to stay relevant? I hear that he even has a successful website. I guess shouldn't complain about this and just enjoy the show, being a centrist/liberal, but intelligent conservatives must be banging their heads against the wall these days....
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Posted - Jul 16 2013 : 11:05AM
One thing I will say regarding NBC; it is probably in their best interests to settle with Zimmerman ASAP. What they did was wrong and they know it.

Senior Member

2759 Posts
11/09
Posted - Jul 16 2013 : 12:40PM
Completely agree. It makes me think of that song by Don Henley "Dirty Laundry". The media have been peddling BS for a long time. Cable News is awful.
I have been railing against all type of this kind of reporting for decades. Dead child, Casey Anthony, anything with children being selected for media fodder is a great example.
People are gullible and lap it up. Are they as much to blame as the media?

Senior Member

7415 Posts
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Posted - Aug 19 2013 : 7:18PM
[link inactive:404 - Page not found]Har he comes!...again
So MSNBC gave Chris Hayes a documentary to freak out about global climate change, then found that no one really gives a shit about him. It's time to go back to shouting, self-congratulation, and no more attempts at interest in alternative points of view. Tough break, little Hayes.

Senior Member

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Posted - Aug 19 2013 : 7:53PM
You should actually read the article Little Cody.
5:00 PM ET - Ed Show
6:00 PM ET - PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton
7:00 PM ET - Hardball with Chris Matthews
8:00 PM ET - All In with Chris Hayes
9:00 PM ET - The Rachel Maddow Show
10:00 PM ET - The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Senior Member

7415 Posts
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Posted - Aug 19 2013 : 8:15PM
Ah, you're right. Take out the first airing of Hardball. My bad.
Point still stands that Chris Hayes is a rating disaster.
 
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Posted - Aug 19 2013 : 8:30PM
^
Yes he is. He was literally not ready for prime-time. MSNBC president Phil Griffin is such a total fucking douche, one has to wonder if he's not a Fox News plant. Yes, Olbermann was an ass, and Griffin successfully drove him away, and he clashes with Ed too, so he said, "let me get Chris Hayes in here and I'll show'em all: It's ME who makes the shows successful, not the other way around".
Hayes is great as a guest, an analyst, and a very nice guy I'm sure, but an hour of him is like an hour of BookTV on C-Span.
 
Big Double Everything Fan

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Posted - Aug 19 2013 : 10:05PM
Glad to see Ed back for the weekday but I wish he got his 8:00pm slot back. I like Ed the best of all the MSNBC lineup followed by Lawrence and then Rachel.

Senior Member

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Posted - Aug 20 2013 : 10:14AM
C-Span can be some of the best programming on TV. Book TV can be fascinating.
I'll tell you what, stop watching the Soap Opera called Cable News.

Senior Member

12345
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9/02
Posted - Aug 20 2013 : 10:55AM
Oh, I missed Chris Matthews the last coupla weeks, so glad he's back, heard him say yesterday that he was going to be on only one of the two daytime time slots here, but he didn't say what was replacing him in the other.
Ed!!! Oh, so glad. We can't always catch him on the weekends. Need Ed. Wow. (If they could get Dylan and Keith back I'd be even happier--especially Dylan, I think. And especially Keith, on second thought. Especially Dylan).
You are all correct. Chris Hayes is Milquetoast. Dis-missed! But I like him fine as a guest commentator.
Edited by - lindi on 8/20/2013 10:55:24 AM
 
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Posted - Aug 20 2013 : 12:27PM

If you're interested in the subject that being talked about, then OK. If you've got an author talking about the intricacies of the Crimean War or something...

Senior Member

2759 Posts
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Posted - Aug 20 2013 : 2:41PM
Careful Smiler, you are starting to sound a bit like a wing nut.
There was an excellent one about Watergate and Deepthroat. The Author was clear, and concise. That can be a problem that the speaker is not very good and it drags it down. And there are many instances where that is not the case.
People not watching C-Span and rambling about Cable News is no Surprise. Many folks love spin, and Soap Opera Drama. Something like C-Span requires someone to think, and pay attention.
And of course much of what the news media gives you their version of can actually be watched on C-Span, but again people have to pay attention and think.
This is an excerpt from Wiki and it is very interesting about the Crimean War:
The Crimean War is sometimes considered to be one of the first "modern" wars as it "introduced technical changes which affected the future course of warfare", including the first tactical use of railways and the electric telegraph. It is also famous for the work of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole, who pioneered modern nursing practices while caring for wounded British soldiers.
the unknown pervert
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Posted - Aug 20 2013 : 5:30PM
I had never heard of Hayes before he replaced Schultz. From what I have seen of him since he comes off like an Olbermann wannabe. I'll give him credit in that respect. He has the douchiness part down. He seems smug and full of himself to me. What he is missing if he truly wants to be like his idol is the ability to have people give a shit one way or the other about him.

Senior Member

7415 Posts
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Posted - Aug 20 2013 : 8:27PM
Oh, he wasn't as bad as Olby. He's not that bad, a rather astute observer at times. His piece on Ted Cruz - "the most dangerous right wing politician" he just did was actually pretty spot-on. Cruz is either an ideologue or a brilliant tactician - but either way, he's fearless, and "dangerous" to progressive priorities.
Ed had some of that too - I actually caught his expose of Chris Christie, Sunday, as a phony moderate and sat there in agreement, but if only Ed could objectively realize that phony is skating on sky high approval ratings while ripping his progressive priorities to shreds. Chris Hayes actually pointed this out to Christie's challenger, Barbara Buono, to some awkward silent moments of air time. Of course, Ed was blinded to the same phenomenon in Scott Walker and Wisconsin, so no surprise.
There's some moments of pure ideological blindness, which was far more prevalent, and entertaining, back in 2010. Here's hoping it returns for the next midterms. But I still find MSNBC a good watch for opinion/news/entertainment, often times more than the echo chamber over on Fox News.

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Posted - Aug 26 2013 : 9:45PM
 
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Posted - Aug 27 2013 : 7:54PM
The over-all impression is that your average Republican or conservative is simply too fanatical to be part of polite discourse
Most conservative politicians pointedly refuse to go on any MSNBC show. Just like the RNC now refuse to have NBC or CNN involved in any of their debates.
Heat, Kitchen...
 
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Posted - Aug 27 2013 : 7:56PM

Senior Member

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Posted - Aug 28 2013 : 12:47AM
Maybe because
the unknown pervert
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Posted - Aug 28 2013 : 9:04AM
Also when Olbermann was at MSNBC he had it written in his contract that he didn't have to have guests who he disagreed with on his show.

Senior Member

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Posted - Oct 18 2013 : 6:34PM
Inside the Fox News lie machine: I fact-checked Sean Hannity on Obamacare

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2709 Posts
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Posted - Oct 18 2013 : 6:42PM
And in searching for this thread I came accross this post...
Yes Cody, for those who were identified by Party ID, those who called themselves Independents (who made up 29% of the electorate) voted for Romney 50% - 45%. But when voters were identified by Ideology, those who called themselves Moderates (who made up 41% of the electorate) voted for Obama 56% - 41%.
I wonder which way the Tea Party crazies will push these voters in 2014 & 16'
Edited by - rlankford on 10/18/2013 6:42:45 PM

Senior Member

7415 Posts
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Posted - Oct 18 2013 : 6:44PM
^Nowhere. They don't vote in midterms and they're already Democrats.

Senior Member

2709 Posts
6/06
Posted - Oct 18 2013 : 7:19PM
2012 Presidential Exit Polls
Party ID:
38% - D's
29% - I's
32% - R's
Political Ideology:
25% - Liberal
41% - Moderate
35% - Conservative
I'll let you have at it with the McLarge math. Dazzle me with your brillance.

Senior Member

2709 Posts
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Posted - Jan 13 2014 : 12:24PM
How Fox News Chief Roger Ailes Tried To Win Republicans The White House
by Michael Calderone at HuffingPost

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Posted - Jan 21 2014 : 4:32PM
Fox News has a “crumbling foundation”: Roger Ailes’ biographer talks to Salon
Violence, paranoia, bigotry and sexual harassment reign at "America's Newsroom," author Gabriel Sherman explains
by Josh Eidelson
Gabriel Sherman’s exhaustive, inflammatory biography of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, released days ago by Random House, has already prompted network pushback. “While we have not read the book,” a Fox News spokesperson told the New York Times, “the only reality here is that Gabe was not provided any direct access to Roger Ailes and the book was never fact-checked with Fox News.” Sherman’s 538-page tome, “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News – and Divided a Country,” is the product of three years of work and hundreds of interviews. It paints Ailes as a transformative figure in American media and politics – and includes alleged episodes of violence, paranoia, bigotry and sexual harassment.
Sherman, a contributing editor at New York magazine, spoke with Salon Friday about Ailes’ power, his myth-making about his own biography, and Fox’s future. “He is presiding over an empire that has a crumbling foundation,” said Sherman. A condensed and edited version of our conversation follows.
You write that Ailes has been “essentially running the Republican Party …” Why Ailes and not, say, Mitch McConnell, or Jim DeMint, or Rush Limbaugh, or Rubert Murdoch?
I think Ailes has surpassed the Republican Party. Fox is driving the set of stories and the mission in a way that – it’s not that Ailes is doing it to help the Republican Party, Ailes has his own agenda. He is bigger than the Republican Party. He has a meeting, which I report on in the book, and he expresses disdain for the Republican Party... he jokes at one point that the GOP couldn’t organize a one-car funeral. So you know, to your question, why Ailes and not somebody else, I think because there is just a legitimate power vacuum in Republican politics. I mean, the biggest power center on the right in American life right now is Fox News. It is the toll booth that Republican politicians have to go through to speak to Republican primary voters. And Ailes has created an empire that effectively controls the message on the right. That’s why I write about him being the closest thing we have right now in American politics to a party boss.
Let’s take three motives: Winning profit for Fox News, winning elections for Republicans, and winning ideological or policy victories for conservatism. How big a role do each of those play in the way Ailes has run Fox?
I think the way to look at it is that it’s a dance. There are these competing interests and motivations that govern how Ailes runs Fox News; they are all interrelated, and at any given point one of those motives will be higher up than another.
Without the profits and the ratings, Ailes cannot win an election and push his conservative agenda. So at a certain respect, the profits and the ratings are the primary agenda, because this is the engine that allows him to accomplish everything else.
But really since 2002, since Fox News passed CNN and never turned back as the No. 1 cable news network — and now its ratings are double that of CNN and MSNBC combined, and it generates around a billion dollar profit for Rupert Murdoch’s media empire... now that financial success is so assured... Ailes can bank that. He knows that Fox is going to be an ATM machine for him and for Murdoch. So now, his agenda becomes more about advancing Republican fortunes at the polls.
And what my book shows is, most recently, his agenda has become pushing his own agenda. That’s how I see that Ailes has come to a remarkable point in his career, where his agenda — the style of politics that he is pushing, and that his audience wants to hear on Fox — is detrimental to the GOP.
That was the moment we saw Ailes’ agenda damaging Mitt Romney’s ability to win a national majority, by turning off moderate voices, from the center-right all the way to the left. Fox became this extreme circus-like brand of politics that Mitt Romney could never shake.
After recounting election night 2012, you suggest that "perhaps the freak show had become too freakish" for the GOP’s own good. How so?
I recount a confrontation that Karl Rove and Ailes had around the time of the 2010 midterm elections, when the Tea Party wave was washing over America, Sarah Palin was flirting with running for president, Fox was giving airtime to Tea Party candidates like Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Michelle Bachman and others.
And Rove goes to Ailes, and Rove is the consummate party insider... [he] went to Ailes and effectively said: You're going to kill our party. You're promoting people like Christine "I’m a witch" O’Donnell. You're putting Palin out there. These are marginal fringe candidates that are never going to win an election.
And I think in that confrontation you can see how Ailes' instinct and agenda, to promote both very entertaining candidates and very far-right candidates, damaged the party. And that's what brought him into conflict with Rove.
You describe Ailes' building what his brother called a "panic room," underneath his house, suspecting people of being spies, and believing Michelle Obama was threatening his safety when she said she was surprised to see him at an event. Do those anecdotes reveal something about Fox News as well as Ailes?
I think they are directly related to the culture of Fox News. I set out to write a book about Fox News. And very early on in my reporting three years ago, I realized the story of Fox News is the story of Roger Ailes. The network is a total reflection of his worldview. The paranoia, the conspiracy, the humor, the charisma. You can't write about Fox or Ailes without acknowledging that he has the timing and the range of a comic. I mean, he's hilarious.
But all of those elements of his personality are part of what winds up on the screen on Fox. But also, most importantly, how the organization is run. The paranoia.
I mean, I can't tell you how many people I spoke to said something along the lines of, if Ailes knew I was talking to you he would kill me, or my life would be ruined if it got out that Ailes knew I was helping you with your book.
And so I wanted to show [how] this conspiratorial world that Ailes has created for himself is also sort of a metaphor for the style of politics that has become so pervasive on the right... this fear of outsiders and this paranoia that has been dominant, that the GOP since 2012 has been making a vocal effort to change. But I don't think it will change as long as Fox News continues to be programmed by a man who has this worldview.
You mention "post-election tweaks" at Fox, and you end with the observation that "every show has its run." Where is Fox News headed?
I write at the end of the book with a bit of sadness for Roger Ailes; it's the human story, and the incredible journey that he had through show business, politics and now television news. And Ailes is 73. He is trying to re-create an America that doesn’t exist anymore. And one could argue it never existed.
And I see both him and Fox... you know, he is presiding over an empire that has a crumbling foundation. And it still is very much an empire, but the underpinnings holding it up are weakening.
And Ailes is clinging to power. So you can never predict when that end will come. But what has made Fox News powerful is speaking to a part of America that has continued to get older and older. And the time will come when that audience is no longer there to program to.
And what will happen then?
Well, it's impossible to predict the future. But I think one thing is clear: Without Roger Ailes, Fox News cannot exist in its present form. The culture of the newsroom, of how the news is programmed, is so tied to his worldview... and everything flows from his office... that if you take him out of the picture, that machine loses its life force.
That's not to say there can't be a conservative news network. There is a very vibrant conservative media in this country. But the sort of fear and drama that Fox is does not exist without Ailes. And I think it's telling that he has not publicly discussed a successor. He kind of refuses to acknowledge who he would pick to take over, if and when he goes.
Your book recounts producer Randi Harrison saying that in a salary negotiation, Ailes offered her $100 extra a week "if you agree to have sex with me whenever I want." A Fox spokesperson said they "have not read the book" but that "these charges are false." Who's telling the truth?
Well, the sourcing is very transparent in the book. There's more than 100 pages of endnotes at the back. That anecdote is told from on-the-record sources. Randi Harrison told that anecdote to me in the course of several interviews. I corroborated her story with other sources. So at the end of the day, you know, I have a firsthand account of that episode. And I think it's very important to note that it's in the context of other women who have had encounters with Ailes of a sexual nature that they felt uncomfortable with. And those are also documented in the book with on-the-record sources. So I think the reader can evaluate for themselves what the truth is. And I'm very transparent with the sourcing.
Has anything surprised you about the way Fox News has handled the release of your book?
Well, I think it's notable that the volume of hysteria that greeted the reporting of this book, the more than 9,000 words that Breitbart spilled distorting me and my journalism in the months that I was working on this book, the Twitter attacks by Fox personalities maligning me. I think it's telling that once the book is out they went silent. And the degree to which Ailes and Fox can control the conservative media's coverage of a story.
Now, let's do a thought experiment for a second. If Breitbart News thought my book was a big story... and if Sean Hannity and Karl Rove and Andrea Tantaros and other Fox personalities thought that my working on this book was a big story, so much so that they would take to Twitter to comment on it, I think it is very telling that there has been very little response now that it’s out.
So that tells me they were covering my book not as a news story, but as a political campaign. It was a political campaign designed to impugn me and my journalism. To distort my journalism in an effort to close the eyes of their conservative audience. And now that the book is out, I’'m so happy that readers can judge for themselves the book on its merits. That it's a nuanced and measured look at Ailes' power, and his dark side. And that is something that Roger Ailes has no power over.
While you were working on your book, Ailes was cooperating with a biography with a different tone, by Zev Chafets, that some people saw as a move to undermine your book. Have you read that one?
Of course, I read it... I read thousands of pages of secondary sources in the course of my reporting that are all listed in the bibliography...
And what was your reaction to it?
I thought it was a fascinating document that revealed Roger Ailes in ways that Roger Ailes did not perhaps intend...
There are episodes in Ailes' life that he recounts, both in Chafets' book and elsewhere, that are these wonderful stories, they're old chestnuts, and he tells them all the time. He tells them in meetings with his Fox executives. He tells them in speeches. And they're these stories that present Ailes as this kind of lucky kid from Ohio, who through luck and good fortune stumbled into politics... he never really cared about politics, he was a TV guy, a showman, and just kind of lucked into this career. And the prime example of that is his encounter with Richard Nixon on the set of the Mike Douglas show in January of 1968.
And in Chafets' telling... and this is an account that Ailes has given to other journalists... Ailes had met Nixon because he had booked a belly dancer called Little Egypt on the Mike Douglas show. And Ailes, being the savvy producer, wanted to spare Nixon an uncomfortable encounter with the belly dancer in the green room of the Mike Douglas show. So Ailes put Nixon in his private office, to give him a private place to wait while the show tapes. And that was the opportunity: When Ailes went into his office, he started making small talk with Nixon. He made the famous remark:
Nixon says, "It's a shame a man has to use gimmicks like television to get elected." And Ailes retorted, "Sir, if you think that way, you're gonna lose again"...
So that's a wonderful story. It shows Ailes as being a quick thinker. It shows him downplaying his ambition while he amassed power. So you know, I went out and I had rereported that anecdote long before Chafets' book came out, because I was fascinated by that. It's the Roger Ailes creation myth story.
And I interviewed the Mike Douglas producers, I consulted the show logs for the show, the documents, and it turns out there was no belly dancer that day. So there was no way that Nixon could've been having an awkward encounter with a dancer that Ailes was trying to avoid.
And what all of the sources that I spoke to told me is that Roger Ailes was intensely interested in Nixon. He wanted to be his media adviser. He had discussed becoming his media advisor with a colleague.
He had also discussed with another colleague his appreciation of the Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. And not for her ideology... I want to make it clear that in no way am I saying that Ailes was taken with Nazi ideology. It was her skills as a filmmaker that he was enthralled with. He loved her use of camera angles and edits to communicate a political message.
And so what my book does is show, actually, that there was a calculated effort. That Ailes had to meet Nixon, to talk his way onto the campaign. And I think it's an amazing bit of stagecraft that he has pulled off in his career, to present himself as kind of up-from-his-bootstraps, unassuming person, when in fact there has kind of been a design and an agenda to his desire to enter the political arena.
And so that's a case where Chafets' book has that anecdote, and it reveals Ailes, but what it reveals about Ailes is that he's willing to spin these myths and these yarns, these kind of invented stories about himself...
You portray Ailes as quick to see the potential of television and in some cases perhaps slow to adjust to the move to the Internet. Is that a trend that continues?
I see no indication that it changes. Ailes is very, very aware that his audience is an older audience that wants traditional television. They're not putting a lot of content online. So I don't see Fox innovating in a way that suggests that Ailes is looking to build, you know, a digital future beyond cable news. I mean, Fox has a phenomenally successful business model that he's going to ride this out as long as he needs. I mean, Fox is an ATM machine so they're not rushing into new media, because those business models are not as successful as the one he already has.
What does your reporting suggest about what CNN or MSNBC would need to do in order to compete with Fox?
They're in a tough place. Because Ailes has carved out such a loyal audience, and is willing to do things... CNN is a news network. MSNBC has kind of morphed into a progressive sort of talk radio with pictures, it's a different thing. But let's just look at CNN: They have bureaus all over the world... They supply much of the global news for many other media... CNN is in the news business, the news gathering business...
The president of CNN U.S., he can't do what Ailes does, which is effectively, Ailes has built a political organization that has journalists. I mean, Ailes starts every morning talking to his executives about... how to speak to conservatives, and appeal to their emotion. And, for example, he'll say, "Obama hates capitalism" and you see his vision radiate throughout the channel. You see the chyron, the segments, repeated segments on Fox: Is Obama a socialist? Is Obama bringing socialism to America? You see those themes, those story lines develop.
And while every news network you know has narrative... MSNBC right now is obsessed with Christie's bridge scandal... what Ailes can do, that CNN can't, is that he programs a political message. And that he has journalists that go out and fill in the spaces with some reports, but it's a political organization at its heart. And CNN is just a very different animal.
I think what [CNN's] Jeff Zucker is trying to do is to apply more entertainment values to what CNN does, and when there's not big, breaking news, maybe bring in eyeballs and viewers with compelling content like the "Blackfish" documentary that got a lot of attention. But they're just different. You know, CNN and Fox News are fundamentally different, different things.
And so I think there are limits to how CNN could try to apply Ailes' success to their own business. And I think it would be to their detriment. You know, in the past cable news executives have failed when they have tried to emulate Ailes. Because you can't emulate Ailes. Because Ailes has built something that is a complete expression of his own worldview. I mean, he is the fuel. He is the flux capacitor of Fox News, and Jeff Zucker is not at CNN.
CNN is a complicated multiheaded beast. You know, it's just very different.
And the efforts that Ailes made, that you report, to recruit Chris Christie or [David] Petraeus to run for president, what do those choices reveal about Ailes?
Well, I think that those choices are in keeping with his long career as a Republican operative. You know, Ailes politically is a committed conservative ideologue, hostile to government spending, hostile to environmental regulation, he's hawkish on foreign policy... you know, you go down the line, he's very conservative. But his career has mainly been spent working through moderates. You know, his political hero is George H.W. Bush. At one point they were speaking many times a week.
Ailes has been able to be the bridge between the moderate, country club establishment wing of the party, and the populist blue-collar base out in the heartland. And Ailes has communicated their frustrations and their resentments, and been able to harness that kind of frustration onto an establishment GOP candidate. And I think it's important that Ailes has monetized this unique ability to understand the frustrations of middle America not only in service of moderate GOP candidates... Ailes also has done this in service of large corporations.
Ailes crafted messages on behalf of Philip Morris and Big Tobacco in a campaign against raising tobacco taxes in California. He was running his own consulting firm, and his ads on behalf of Big Tobacco played upon fears of crime and cigarette smuggling, which you know were criticized... for their racial appeals: that if you raise taxes, you’re going to increase inner city crime and drug trafficking and gangs, because people are going to smuggle cigarettes. And that shows you how he was willing to take that message also to corporate America, and help lobby on behalf of corporate America by appealing to the resentments and the fears of sort of the white middle class that he understood so well.
Is there something you think has been missed in the coverage so far about what is in your book?
What I hope readers can experience now that the book is out is that this is a story. While it has revelations... fundamentally it is a story that has a beginning, and a middle, and an end. And at the center of that story is my protagonist, Roger Ailes.
"Mad Men" was so successful on television because it evoked the pre-culture war 1960s in New York City, and even if you weren't interested in advertising, you wanted to see what happened to these characters. In that same way, I've really tried hard to create a world, with Roger Ailes at the center of it, where you have these characters who you care for.
It's a human story and the characters are what are at the heart of it.

Senior Member

7415 Posts
8/10
Posted - Jan 21 2014 : 7:47PM
Which all points to the obvious conclusion - there is little, if any, value in cable news, especially political coverage, just as there is probably little, if any, value in debating politics.
I don't know if I'll read this book - I have enough to read - but I'm skeptical of a title that includes "And Divided America". As I see it, hardly. Smiler's excellent post here nails it. But it's not just Fox News. That is just what "politics" amounts to today - everyone has their own "facts", their own network to drive the narrative, and little reason to entertain a digressive interest. Hell, we seem to be at a point where only the most unrealistic and illogical radicalism gets to drive the respective agendas - "Income inequality" vs. "opportunity and mobility." - things that are inherently beyond governmental control. The only possible outcome is total gridlock.
That is fine though. Luckily, I quite like the status quo. Conservatism could be redefined as an effort to jealously stall a more "progressive" agenda. There's tons of merit in doing just that. And, of course, there will be major victories/losses. "Marriage equality", for example, will inevitably be a lasting legacy of modern progressivism. But there will also be huge disappointments - I think the Affordable Care Act set back the cause of universal health care quite a bit. But for the most part, very little will really change.
That is the genius of Fox News, that MSNBC has been forced to parrot, and that even their respective political parties have to abide - there's just so much profit in the echo chamber.
The only people that should have any interest in watching cable news today are political junkies who think they ought to have an opinion about everything, and, hopefully, some sense of what it takes to win elections or, perhaps, at best, a policy bout.

Senior Member

2709 Posts
6/06
Posted - Jan 22 2014 : 1:11PM
^ The words of a bitter, sore loser.
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