In a 10,000 word poison-pen biography on Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes, containing all expected anti-FNC paranoia, Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson engages in what has sadly become standard practice for the left's Fox haters: he slimes the channel, then fails to produce a single quote from a supporter of the network. And for all of Dickinson's concern over Fox's supposed influence on conservative politics (Ailes's main offense, by Dickinson's telling), the piece of course pays no heed to the dominance of liberalism in American newsrooms. In short, as Mark Judge noted at the Daily Caller, Ailes's offense is one against liberalism, not against journalism.
He accuses Ailes of “blurring the line between journalism and politics,” and astonishingly has nothing to say about how liberals do the same thing — has Dickinson never heard of George Stephanopoulos? Jay Carney and the platoon of journalists who now work for Obama? MSNBC? NBC? Dickinson brings up Willie Horton, never acknowledging that Horton was first the creation of Al Gore. He claims that in the 1984 campaign Ronald Reagan “ditched the facts” — about everything. Dickinson claims that in 1988 Roger Ailes “rigged an interview [with vice president George H.W. Bush] about the [Iran Contra] scandal by insisting on an odd caveat: that the interview be conducted live.”
Insisting on doing an interview live? Why, that’s right out of the Goebbels playbook.
Dickinson ignores a basic, irrefutable fact: Fox News commentators like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity don’t only routinely ask representatives from the left to be on their show, they get frustrated when said liberals chicken out and refuse to appear. In a deceptive chart that is part of Dickinson’s piece, a day in the life of Fox News is charted. The only thing Rolling Stone left out are the Democratic guests that were on the very shows that Rolling Stone is criticizing. Like it or not, Fox, which does tilt conservative (“lean backwards”?), wants the other side represented. The same thing cannot be said for MSNBC. Or The New York Times. Or The Washington Post. Or CBS. Or “The Today Show.”
Judge reminds us that Rolling Stone, believe it or not, was once a forum for, you know, "journalism."
Although it’s a distant memory from another epoch, I remember that in 1970 Rolling Stone won the National Magazine Award for its coverage of the hippy disaster at Altamont in 1969, when a man was killed at a Rolling Stones concert in California. Rolling Stone’s coverage was brilliant, and very critical of the rock-and-roll left. The award citation praised the magazine for its ability to “challenge the shared assumptions of its readers” — a lovely phrase that Rolling Stone has forgotten.
My, how far we have come. Thoughts on Judge's piece? On Dickinson's?