In the New York Times Sunday Review, chief Hillary Clinton campaign reporter Amy Chozick (who is writing a book on the campaign) tells tales from the makeup room at sexist, biased Fox News in “Hillary, Roger, and Me.” (That’s an echo of the title of left-wing Michael Moore’s first documentary.) The story’s text box: “Ailes made female reporters look like models, and the "centrist" Clinton like a criminal.”
I sat in the makeup chair for what felt like hours. It was November 2014, two years before the presidential election. I was about to make my first and only appearance on the Fox News Sunday show “Media Buzz.”
The Fox News makeup treatment is unlike any other in journalism. It involves false lashes, layers and layers of foundation and heavy applications of come-hither lip gloss. While caking cover-up onto the dark circles under my eyes, the makeup artist gossiped about a Democratic senator who, hours after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, had been cranky about how she’d coifed his hair.
Here's Chozick on the Fox News woman-haters' club:
While Mr. Ailes doled out attractive female anchors in revealing outfits as eye candy, his empire thrived partly on its audience’s widespread fear of the only woman who has ever had a real shot at the presidency, the person I was there that day to discuss: Hillary Clinton.
Over two decades, Fox News made Mrs. Clinton one of the longest-running villains on TV. Mr. Ailes would rewrite her part over the years: In the 1990s, she was a bra-burning affront to stay-at-home mothers; in her Senate race, she was an entitled wife riding on her husband’s coattails; by the 2008 primary, she was Lady MacBeth, desperate to star in her own production.
In 2016, Mr. Ailes made Mrs. Clinton, a centrist Democrat whose most audacious campaign promise was that she wouldn’t over-promise (“we don’t need any more of that”), seem like a cross between Saul Alinsky and Ramsay Bolton.
But Fox News also gave something to Mrs. Clinton: proof of the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” no longer hiding in the shadows but right there on the televisions in 90 million American households.
(Indeed, Chozick validated Clinton’s late-90s paranoia about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” taking on the innocent First Couple in an August 2016 account headlined “'Conspiracy’ Validation Seen by Clinton Camp." Chozick defending the claim as "not entirely baseless.")
On Sunday, Chozick notably separated off “liberal media” critics from New York Times readers who thought Chozick was too tough on Hillary Clinton:
I’d had my own fraught relationship with the channel. As the Times beat reporter assigned to covering Mrs. Clinton, I represented the hated “liberal media” to many faithful Fox News viewers (including members of my extended family in South Texas, where I grew up). To some Times readers who thought my articles were too tough on Mrs. Clinton, just appearing on Fox News confirmed their suspicions that I was a Republican mole.
Chozick’s distaste for conservative-leaning television was apparent. She implied that it was just a shame that “poetic justice” wasn’t served, and that Hillary Clinton didn’t bring down Trump and Ailes herself.
As a newspaper reporter, I didn’t want to look like I worked on-air for Fox News. But as an unabashed television connoisseur (including occasional closeted viewings of “The O’Reilly Factor”), I’d always appreciated the staging Mr. Ailes brought to Fox News....
If there was any poetic justice, it was that a woman caused the downfall of Mr. Ailes in the end. But that woman was not Mrs. Clinton.
As Hillary-beat reporter during the campaign, Chozick posed Hillary Clinton as a triumphant policy wonk after the third and final presidential debate between she and Trump, three weeks before her shocking defeat:
After two historically acrid debates, Mrs. Clinton finally got the policy discussion she had craved. But in between expounding on her proposals to make college affordable and to raise the minimum wage, she savaged Mr. Trump’s career, his finances and his sensitivities, portraying him as a lightweight with the temperament of a spoiled child.....And yet it seemed clear through this last confrontation that there was a gap in knowledge, or at least in command of the material that candidates seeking to be president are expected to master.
How did that all turn out, anyway?