100 TV Critics Show Their Bias By Walking Out on FNC's Roger Ailes

When Fox News Channel Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes spoke to TV critics on Monday night, about two-thirds of the group of 150 walked out in protest, with several “voicing their scorn for what they say is Fox News’ conservative spin,” the Miami Herald’s Glenn Garvin reported on Wednesday. (Updated 6:02pm EDT)

Can you imagine 100 TV critics, upset by CBS’s liberal bias, walking out on Les Moonves or Sean McManus? Or even a dozen critics turning their backs on the scandal-scarred Dan Rather? Such open disdain for Fox News Channel’s uniquely non-liberal approach speaks volumes about the media elite’s arrogant belief that it’s journalistic malpractice to give a fair shake to conservatives.

But, Garvin noted, Ailes had his own tweaks for the critics, citing their articles from a decade ago predicting “a quick and painful death for Fox News when it first went on the air in 1996.” Thwarting the critics’ desires, FNC has topped cable news ratings charts for more than four years, with CNN, Headline News and MSNBC trailing far behind.

[UPDATE, 6:02pm EDT: After Glenn Garvin’s story appeared in today’s Miami Herald, Peter Ames Carlin, TV critic for The Oregonian newspaper, sent a letter to Poynter’s Jim Romenesko saying that Garvin had it wrong: “If some reporters left grumbling about FNC's politics they were a distinct minority. The room remained crowded, there were plenty of questions, hardly any of them were confrontational....To say the room emptied is simply not true.”]

[About an hour later, Garvin sent his own letter to Romenesko: “Peter's claim that the room was "crowded" is quite mysterious to me. There were about 150 critics accredited for Monday's session, and I'd say my estimate of 50 in attendance was generous....I certainly heard several derogatory comments about Fox News before the session from critics who did not attend.”]

Excerpts from Garvin’s July 26 article, “Fox News' Ailes says he's just getting started”:

Firing poison darts at his cable-news competitors and taunting his critics in the media, Fox News Channel boss Roger Ailes celebrated the 10th birthday of his network but instead of cake, served notice that his conquest of other television empires already is under way....

Ailes made his comments during an appearance Monday evening before North American television critics, a hostile audience that generally makes no secret of its contempt for his network. Fox News panels here have often been something closer to hand-to-hand combat than to news conferences, and this one was no exception.

About two-thirds of the 150 critics left the room before Ailes took the stage, several of them openly voicing their scorn for what they say is Fox News' conservative spin.

Ailes quickly returned their fire with a brief promotional film featuring blurbs from critics and TV writers (Bill Carter of The New York Times wrote that Fox News Channel was created ''to give Mr. Ailes a toy to play with, though, given the current state of Fox News as described by some insiders, it may be less a toy than an imaginary friend'') predicting a quick and painful death for Fox News when it first went on the air in 1996....

Instead, as Ailes gleefully reminded the critics, his network has led the cable news pack in the Nielsen ratings for the past 55 months and has more viewers than its competitors, CNN and MSNBC, combined.

''Fox News is doing pretty well,'' Ailes said with a sly smile, noting that many of the critics who forecast the channel's doom were ''sitting in their hotel rooms right now'' instead of attending his news conference....

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