Responding to a inquiry from The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, Roger Ailes confessed his networks' position within the political echo system. "Every other network has given all their shows to liberals," said the Fox News chief. "We are the balance."
The metamorphosis from "Fair and Balanced" to "we are the balance" is a significant admission that extends beyond simply dropping a "d." Ailes publicly embraces the misguided and long-held conservative lore that the entire mainstream media is reporting from the left. Fox's version of "balance" -- according to its president -- isn't to provide its viewers with an equal hearing of all sides. Rather, Fox's purpose is to supply right-wing bias to correct what it (wrongly) perceives to be an error in the media cosmos.
Apparently in pursuit of Ailes' version of balance, he confesses that Fox News promotes his own blend conservative ideology. It was Ailes, according to Kurtz, who "cooked up" Fox's recent Regulation Nation series. Ailes tells Kurtz that he thinks "regulations are totally out of control":
Ailes raises a Fox initiative that he cooked up: "Are our producers on board on this 'Regulation Nation' stuff? Are they ginned up and ready to go?" Ailes, who claims to be "hands off" in developing the series, later boasts that "no other network will cover that subject ... I think regulations are totally out of control," he adds, with bureaucrats hiring Ph.D.s to "sit in the basement and draw up regulations to try to ruin your life." It is a message his troops cannot miss.
This series just happened to be perfectly inline with the Republican Party's message of the week.
How do you run afoul of the network boss? By unbalancing the network and not reporting from a conservative point of view: "Ailes keeps a wary eye on anchor Shepard Smith, who occasionally backs aspects of the Obama record: 'Every once in a while Shep Smith gets out there where the buses don't run and we have a friendly talk.' "
As for the network's involvement in the Republican Primary? Some expressed surprise that Fox hasn't taken sides, crediting the network for its newfound neutrality. They quickly forget Ailes failed to recruit his preferred candidate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, into the race. Now Ailes knows his power is based on Fox's perceived neutrality between Republican candidates. Each of the top Republican contenders made a pilgrimage to kiss their Svengali's ring. Ailes now sits in the middle, with each member of the field knowing that Fox's audience will ultimately pick the Republican who will face off against President Obama.
When the primary contest ends, nobody should be surprised when the network returns to its war on Obama. When the network does, remember Ailes' confessions:
1. - Balance is not providing viewers with the conservative and progressive point of view, instead it is about balancing the phony notion of liberal bias in the mainstream media.
2. - Ailes' narrow ideological leanings create major portions of network coverage such as its "Regulation Nation" series, where Fox personalities -- among other things -- spoke out against child labor laws.
3. - Providing any balanced coverage earns you a sharp rebuke from the boss for getting "out there where the buses don't run."