Wash. Post: Fox is “second-chance employer” for those who “ran afoul” of liberals

Yesterday, I pointed out that Fox News has hired Doug McKelway for its D.C. bureau. McKelway drew praise from conservatives over the summer after lying about President Obama during a WJLA segment, getting into a huge fight with his boss over the segment, and then getting suspended and eventually fired. I asked whether in hiring McKelway, Fox News was unaware of his famous falsehood, or if it was just part of bureau chief Bill Sammon's efforts to “slant news.”

Today, the Washington Post notes that McKelway's hiring is just the latest example of the Fox picking up media figures who were previously fired for controversial comments:

[McKelway's] hiring followed by just a few weeks Fox's decision to sign Lou Dobbs, the controversial former CNN host, to star on the Fox Business Network, and to award a new, nearly $2 million contract to commentator Juan Williams just hours after Williams was fired by NPR for statements he made while appearing on Fox.

Fox also decided late last year to simulcast Don Imus's radio program five days a week on Fox Business. The program is the successor to Imus's last radio program and TV simulcast deal with MSNBC, which Imus lost after making his “nappy-headed 'hos” crack about the Rutgers women's basketball team in 2007.

There's a thread running through all these personnel decisions: McKelway, Dobbs, Williams and Imus all were controversial media figures. In each case, they ran afoul primarily of liberals who objected to something (and in some cases, a lot of things) they said. Dobbs, for example, was a liberal bete noir for his nightly criticism of federal immigration policy and illegal immigrants on his CNN show; he also kept alive questions about President Obama's birth certificate long after the issue had been discredited.

By hiring each one at or near the peak of their notoriety, Fox chief Roger Ailes “is being opportunistic,” says Andrew Tyndall, who writes a newsletter, the Tyndall Report, covering television news. “It's a way to play the culture wars.”

Tyndall jokes that the hiring policy may be turning Fox into “the safety-net network. If you say something outrageous, there's still a paycheck waiting for you.”

Tyndall's right - given Fox's decision not to even comment on host Andrew Napolitano's trutherism, it's clear that there is no statement that can get a conservative fired from Fox.