On Monday, Fox News president Roger Ailes gave a talk at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, FL. In both the talk itself and a follow-up interview with a local news affiliate, Ailes displayed his network's penchant for political activism, disinterest in journalistic ethics, and casual ability to spew outright falsehoods.
Courtesy of ThinkProgress, have a look at Ailes discussing the recent scandal surrounding Sean Hannity's ethically dubious involvement with a Cincinnati Tea Party fundraiser.
As ThinkProgress' Matt Corley pointed out:
In his interview with the local Florida affiliate, Ailes also defended Fox over the recent scandal involving Sean Hannity and the Cincinnati Tea Party. “Sometimes mistakes happen,” said Ailes. “If they happen, you go on the air quickly, say this is what happened, this is what we did and keep moving. And that's what we do.” According to a ThinkProgress review of his show's transcripts, Hannity has yet to address on-air Fox's decision to cancel his appearance at the Cincinnati Tea Party.
Either Roger Ailes has a different definition of the word “quickly,” or Fox News is trying to avoid accountability for their ongoing ethics nightmare. In addition to Hannity's silence, Fox's “media criticism” show, Fox News Watch, has completely ignored the scandal. They've been busy with other stories like media coverage of the new Oprah biography and Roger Ailes' new “ratings high.”
Maybe Ailes will bring down the hammer when he gets wind of this terrible oversight? More likely, Fox will just continue to ignore the “go on the air quickly, say this is what happened, this is what we did” step, and skip right to the “keep moving” part of the process. Like usual.
Additionally, as the Naples Daily News reported, Ailes laughably claimed that “I'm not in politics anymore. I don't do politics, I do the news.” Of course, as we've been documenting on a daily basis, Fox News is politics. It's transformation into an arm of the GOP is beyond dispute.
A report released by Media Matters last week detailed how Fox News personalities have actively rallied for the GOP in more than three hundred instances and in nearly every state. Check the archive for several hundred other examples, but let's just pick two more from the past twenty four hours.
Yesterday, Fox News ran with the American Spectator's false claim that Democrats suppressed an unfavorable report on health care reform, even though -- as they acknowledged on the air -- they had not “independently confirmed” the report. This was on one of those “news” programs that we are often told -- again by Ailes in the video above -- are free from the conservative tilt of the “opinion” programs.
Another “news” program yesterday perpetuated the Frank Luntz-created blatant falsehood that financial reform will create permanent “bailouts” in their on-screen “Fox Fact[s].” Twice.
Further demonstrating that he and his network do, in fact, “do politics,” Ailes stated during the speech that he doesn't think the health care reform bill is constitutional. As we've documented, Fox News immediately pivoted to “Plan B” after the reform bill passed, aggressively promoting the GOP's efforts to overturn the bill on constitutional grounds. Leading this charge has been Greta Van Susteren, who Rupert Murdoch held up as an example of a Fox News host that is “close to the Democratic Party.”
I'll ask again: Is anyone in charge at Fox News?