Somebody at Fox News is in deep trouble with the cable network’s chairman Roger Ailes. In a New York Magazine article published on Sunday evening, named and anonymous sources reportedly close to the channel tore apart Fox News Channel’s management and on-air personalities. One quote from a blind source claiming to be close to Mr. Ailes, said:
“He thinks things are going in a bad direction,” another Republican close to Ailes told me. “Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she’s stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven’t elevated the conservative movement.”
The New York Times received a response from Fox News Channel executive vice president of programming, Bill Shine who responded to the hit piece:
“I know for a fact that Roger Ailes admires and respects Sarah Palin and thinks she is smart. He also believes many members of the left-wing media are extremely terrified and threatened by her. Despite a massive effort to destroy Sarah Palin, she is still on her feet and making a difference in the political world. As for the ‘Republican close to Ailes’ for which the incorrect Palin quote is attributed, when Roger figures out who that is, I guarantee you he or she will no longer be ‘close to Ailes.’ ”
It should be noted New York Magazine conveniently penned a glowing piece on Media Matters’ founder David Brock on Sunday as well. The headline of the Brock piece is “If I Take Down Fox, Is All Forgiven?” while the smear job on Mr. Ailes, along with a photoshopped unflattering photo of the Fox News executive, has the headline: “The Elephant in the Green Room.”
Coming from a liberal media outlet that also went after Koch Brothers Charles and David, this is hardly shocking, but it appears that liberal activists are reaching out to their allies in the media to help take down the cable network. Back in late March, Politico reported Mr. Brock was planning an all out offensive on Fox. Ben Smith wrote: (bolding is mine)
The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel.
The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.
“The strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment,” said Brock, Media Matters’ chairman and founder and a former conservative journalist, adding that the group’s main aim had been to challenge the factual claims of the channel and to attempt to prevent them from reaching the mainstream media.
The new strategy, he said, is a “war on Fox.”
In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters — which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget — is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics.
Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor.
This is not the first time liberals have attempted to take on Fox. Since the network’s inception in 1996, both Presidents Clinton and Obama along with their administrations and allies tried to go after the cable news outlet. But as powerful as the Oval office may be, their attempts failed each time.
Now the war against Fox has gotten personal. Very similar to how public union employees have gone from protesting in front of company buildings to harassing executives on their front lawns and intimidating private citizens and small businesses in Wisconsin, liberal activists are employing personal attack tactics to intimidate the public at large as to what happens if conservative thought is released to the public. This is what Mr. Brock means by “containment.”