Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 26, 2009

DEPARTMENT OF POTS AND KETTLES.... CNN's Rick Sanchez has apparently been making some less than kind remarks about Fox News on his Twitter account. A Fox News spokesperson had an interesting response.

"Everyone knows that Rick is an industry joke, he shows that he's a hack everyday [sic]. And he doesn't have to worry about working at FOX because we only hire talent who have [sic] the ability to generate ratings."

I have to admit, reading a statement from Fox News spokesperson accusing anyone of being a "hack" and an "industry joke" is rather amusing. Sanchez isn't exactly my cup of tea, but Fox News exists to make a mockery of American journalism. If anything, Sanchez should be thrilled by this kind of criticism, and wear it as a badge of honor.

Stepping back, however, note how the Republican network responds to criticism from others within the industry. I remember in 2003, about six months after the war in Iraq began, Christiane Amanpour noted that in the months leading up to the U.S. invasion, CNN "self-muzzled," in large part because it was "intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News."

A Fox News spokesperson shot back, "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."

Seriously. "Spokeswoman for al-Qaeda." Fox News wasn't kidding.

Similarly, last year, Jon Stewart described Fox News as "an appendage of the Republican Party." Asked for comment, an FNC spokesperson responded, "[B]eing out of touch with mainstream America is nothing new to Jon, as evidenced by the crash-and-burn ratings of this year's Oscars telecast."

It's not enough that the Republican network has given up on journalistic standards -- it has to be thin-skinned, too?

Steve Benen 2:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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Comments

FNC has a culture of bullying--and like all bullies, at the heart is cowardice. The brave can handle the truth, wherever it leads. FNC hides from the truth and filters it for their sensitive, cowardly audience.

Posted by: c4Logic on July 26, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, we know why fox gets the ratings:

Fox News Porn

Posted by: T.R. Elliott on July 26, 2009 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like any right wing commenter on any thread in any comments section of any newspaper.

It's the language of a loser, floundering for a way to strike back, And failing.

Posted by: JPS on July 26, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

"it has to be thin-skinned, too?"

The truth always hurts.

Posted by: Liam J on July 26, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

like all bullies, at the heart is cowardice.

That's a load of bullshit. At the heart of bullying is an inflated sense of self-importance.

Somewhere online, someone related the story of his old girlfriend who had a habit of lying. At one point, the guy called his girlfriend on it, pointing out how the facts were at odds with what she was saying. She immediately went into full-on meltdown mode and threw a huge screaming tantrum. What's clear is that she did this as part of a pattern where people around her decided that it was less trouble to simply go along with her dishonesty and accept what she was saying as true rather than deal with the burden of one of her screaming fits.

And that's what Fox is doing here-- throwing a tantrum in the hopes that people will decide it isn't worth the trouble.

Most Fox viewers know that it's a footsoldier of the Republican party, and that's why they watch it. But they hope that by shooting back with a stream of insults when they're called on it will mean that people will be too cowed to do it again.

I've observed that with people who have conservative relatives, that this is how conservatives treat their families, as well.

Posted by: Tyro on July 26, 2009 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

"...because we only hire talent who have [sic]..."

Actually, I don't think "talent who have" is grammatically incorrect, as "talent" could be plural in this instance.

That's the risk you always run when you're trying to nitpick your enemies.

Posted by: garnash on July 26, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Seems to me that "...we only hire talent who have the ability to generate ratings..." gives the game away. No?

Posted by: MattF on July 26, 2009 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I never refer to Fox News without appending ", the paid propaganda arm of the RNC".

It makes me feel better, and is more accurate to boot.

JC

Posted by: John Casey on July 26, 2009 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

"...because we only hire talent [sic] who have..."

Fixed.

Posted by: ploeg on July 26, 2009 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's not enough that the Republican network has given up on journalistic standards

Kinda hard to give on something you never aspired to have, isn't it?

Posted by: Domage on July 26, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

I f you don't watch the teevee, you don't hafta eat the shit.
(and, yes, i really do to think they are all turds -- every one, or in Fox' case, 'everyone')

Posted by: neill on July 26, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

"....we only hire talent who have [sic] the ability to generate ratings."

I guess it does take a lot of talent to be a rodeo clown.

"[B]eing out of touch with mainstream America is nothing new to Jon, as evidenced by the crash-and-burn ratings of this year's Oscars telecast."

FNC must have thought there was some merit to Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, since they tried to copy it with the "Half-Hour News Hour".

How'd that turn out?

Posted by: 2Manchu on July 26, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Geraldo will respond since Rick Sanchez was implicitly calling him a sell-out.

Posted by: Rosali on July 26, 2009 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News is to journalism as professional wrestling is to athletics.

Posted by: Richard Greenhaw on July 26, 2009 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

A guilty conscience ensures a thin skin response.

Posted by: Darsan 54 on July 26, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

"..And he doesn't have to worry about working at FOX because we only hire attractive whores willing to toe the party line and also have the ability to generate ratings."

Fixed

Posted by: BuzzMon on July 26, 2009 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News is to journalism as professional wrestling is to athletics.
Posted by: Richard Greenhaw on July 26, 2009 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK*************************

HA!! This one I must use w/ some of my Republican friends who, needless to say, luv them some Fox. Btw, isn't just calling yourself 'Fox' pretty narcissistic to begin with? Maybe not, when it's all about "the ability to generate ratings." How about the ability to generate some truth? some independent and unbiased investigative journalism? some non-cheery-picked facts? Just ask'in.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on July 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

"and filters it for their sensitive, cowardly audience.
Posted by: c4Logic on July 26, 2009 at 2:30 PM"

I suggest:
"and filters it through their sensitive, cowardly audience."

Posted by: Bill on July 26, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

[B]eing out of touch with mainstream America is nothing new to Jon, as evidenced by the crash-and-burn ratings of this year's Oscars telecast."

This is not snark on the Fox spokesman's part -- it is a profession of faith.

Consider things from the point of view of a believer in Orthodox Marketolatry, the official religion of the GOP, as preached by its Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Fox -- and NewsCorp generally.

Ratings equal money, and money is the summum bonum, the goal, the raison d'etre, the veritable Aristotelian τελος, of all creation.

Something that pulls ratings is ipso facto true. If it didn't pull ratings, it couldn't be true. And nothing true couldn't pull ratings.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 26, 2009 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Fox is the Predatory Capitalist News Network. It's all about ratings, money and profits, female newsreaders who look like Penthouse centerfolds, war porn, torture porn, hating people who aren't white Christian Americans, race-baiting, the Manufactured Outrage of the Day, ridicule and bullying, middle-aged frat boys, and the War on Christmas.

Welcome to Idiocracy.

Posted by: Speed on July 26, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

When did Dana Perino start working at Fox?

Posted by: ComradeAnon on July 26, 2009 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

I would recommend this Dave Carr piece from about a year ago in the NY Times on Foxes history in responding to things like this in this manner.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/07/business/media/07carr.html?_r=2&scp=2&sq=fox&st=cse&oref=slogin

Posted by: Napoleon on July 26, 2009 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

When did Dana Perino start working at Fox?

She didn't. It was just a lateral transfer within the same organization.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 26, 2009 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hiring "talent" to get "ratings" says a lot about their desire to cover the "news."

Posted by: BigRenman on July 26, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

The only thing far-right nutjobs love more than bullying, well, just about everyone else is whining about how badly they have been used by, well, just about everyone else. Including themselves, sometimes. And it's just not fair.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on July 26, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

What's clear is that she did this as part of a pattern where people around her decided that it was less trouble to simply go along with her dishonesty and accept what she was saying as true rather than deal with the burden of one of her screaming fits.

Man, that describes the dynamic of a lot of marriages.

Most Fox viewers know that it's a footsoldier of the Republican party, and that's why they watch it. But they hope that by shooting back with a stream of insults when they're called on it will mean that people will be too cowed to do it again.

Jon has done such a great job of cataloguing Fox's hackery that they really have no choice but to hurl insults. As far as I can tell, the intimidation stategy isn't really working for them.

Posted by: Del Capslock on July 26, 2009 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

What's clear is that she did this as part of a pattern where people around her decided that it was less trouble to simply go along with her dishonesty and accept what she was saying as true rather than deal with the burden of one of her screaming fits...Most Fox viewers know that it's a footsoldier of the Republican party, and that's why they watch it. But they hope that by shooting back with a stream of insults when they're called on it will mean that people will be too cowed to do it again.

It's called enabling, and we mustn't be a part of it regardless of whether it is Fox News, a girlfriend, or a parent. To let it slide gives it legitimacy and ensures that it will continue, as the protagonist/antagonist will view acquiescence as success.

It is a real psychological disorder given a national audience, 30% of whom do not realize what they are witnessing and buy into it.

Posted by: jcricket on July 26, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

And while we're on distasteful subjects...

Reed seeks redemption after political downfall
Starting new faith organization

http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/072609/new_470899248.shtml

Posted by: anonymous on July 26, 2009 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatism used to be about standards, but I guess such elevated things as too "elitist" for the populist trolls at FOX. Now conservatism is about ratings and numbers. Every notice how demagogues like O'Reilly try to prove they are smarter or better or righter than their opponents on no firmer basis than because of the ratings they generate? Conservatives used to be afraid of the "mob". Now they are one.

Posted by: Ted Frier on July 26, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS are all bastions of journalistic integrity, aren't they? And the fact that they have the the highest ratings among all of cable news is that so because of a "right wing conspiracy?" Or are you saying that conservative women are simply more sexier than liberal women? True that!

Posted by: HarryS on July 26, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

We would all do well to remember a 2003 interview Rick Sanchez conducted with former Ambassador Edward Peck. Peck was trying to explain to Sanchez why the stated reasons for upcoming invasion of Iraq were baloney, and why the Iraqis hadn't risen up and deposed Saddam. Sanchez was incensed, and tried to invalidate Mr. Peck's argument by saying, " The United States doesn't attack other countries and kill innocent men, women, and children", or words to that effect. The ambassador sighed, and said, "Son, would you like a list of countries that..." and Sanchez cut his mike. Back then, Rick Sanchez was indistinguishable from the claque at Fox News.

Posted by: d m nolan on July 26, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

People tune in to Fox News so they don't have to watch appendages of the DNC -- like CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS.

Posted by: Soozie Q on July 26, 2009 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

People tune in to Fox News so they don't have to watch appendages of the DNC -- like CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS.

You left Pravda off your list. And Isvestiya. And you didn't call it the 'Clinton News Network'.

It's always 1990 somewheres, I guess.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 26, 2009 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

"People tune in to Fox News so they don't have to watch appendages of the DNC -- like CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS."

So you're saying it's the DNC that's behind the birther madness? Oh, yeah, makes sense.

Nothing cracks me up more than hearing the phrase "liberal media". What we have is more like Cannibal Media, they will sell their own country, soldiers and citizens down the river for ratings with their "fair and balanced" framing.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on July 26, 2009 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Note the phrase, "ability to generate ratings" instead of "journalistic excellence and integrity" etc. That tells you enough already.

Posted by: N e i l B on July 26, 2009 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

All of the journalistic standard are below par, MSNBC fares better.

I frequently turn off the television and listen to music. I am tired of the GOP lies and manipulation of the news. For instance, to take the light off the C-Street scandals, health care, they try to bombard the news with outrageous and disrespectful claims against the President. ***I get it already, they want the President to fail.

Did anyone know about the yet another scandal with YWAM and the Akha Indian Tribe in Oregon?

There's allegations that the YWAM in Oregon is removing "only young girls" and taking them to YWAM in Thailand.

The women at the University are being "involuntarily sterlized."

see www.akha.org/content/blog/page7.html

home page is www.akha.org

Posted by: annjell on July 26, 2009 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

[...] we only hire talent who have the ability to generate ratings." -- Faux Noise

In Polish, "talent", in vernacular, means "young girls of easy virtue". You used to hear guys saying that a party would be especially good, because there'd be a lot of "talent" attending, to brighten up your post-party hours. Don't know whether English uses the word in the same way but it seems singularly appropriate, when applied to Fux.

Posted by: exlibra on July 26, 2009 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News thin skins go nicely with their thick heads...and their traitorous hearts. It's a conservative Republican ensemble thing. Ugly, yes, but all the parts go together like an evil Mr. Potato Head.

Posted by: The Oracle on July 26, 2009 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

The injection of "[sic]" is a turn off. I don't think it's done at this website for similar inelegant statements from Democrats and liberals. I noticed it back when Steve was at Carpetbagger and while I agree with Benen's political stance, I find this schoolmarmish attitude with "sic"s to be unhelpful.

Posted by: Quiddity on July 26, 2009 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know whether English uses the word in the same way Um, yeah.

Fox competes on the basis of true belief in victimology. They're all put upon by others like the liberal media or academia or ACORN or some other inchoate threat. They count on the threat response in its audience to enhance its message.

Ailes has been at this game since it worked so well for Nixon. It still works. If the forces arrayed against Fox were as powerful as portrayed, Al Gore would have been president for at least 8 years. But there is no liberal media.

Posted by: TJM on July 26, 2009 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

FOX News: We Distort, You Deride.

Posted by: Out & About in the Castro on July 27, 2009 at 4:32 AM | PERMALINK

Here, by the way, are what I believe to be the quotes in question:

do u know how much money i'd make if i'd sold out as hispanic and worked at fox news, r u kidding, one problem, looking in mirror

8:22 PM Jul 24th from web

#

if i didn't believe in doing right thing, i'd be rich anchoring at fox news

8:19 PM Jul 24th from web

Posted by: W. Kiernan on July 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

As has been pointed out, the mention of "ratings" rather than "integrity" is telling. Sadly, it's also a mindset not exclusive to Fox.

Hell, the only folks I ever see on the teevee news trying to inform their viewers (and to do so correctly and accurately) are Bill Moyers and Rachael Maddow. The rest are just glorified hissy fits/commercials/propaganda disguised as news and/or punditry.

Which explains the likes of Soozie and HarryS and the other tardaloons ...

Posted by: Mark D on July 27, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Quiddity: Huh? "Sic" just means "I'm aware there's a slight error here, but that's how the original was, so don't bother pointing out the error to me." It's not schoolmarmish, just a sign of a careful writer giving the reader credit for being equally attentive.

Posted by: Hob on July 27, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"It's not schoolmarmish, just a sign of a careful writer giving the reader credit for being equally attentive."
Posted by: Hob on July 27, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Yes, but...
I believe there is some Law of the Internet that states that when one writes a post calling out another poster for a grammar glitch, solecism, malapropism, etc, one is inevitably committing some similar or at least equivalent glitch in the post?
Not that I've ever caught Mr Benen doing that -- but I think the trigger for this discussion was someone pointing out that his "sic" on the Foxperson's

"we only hire talent who have [sic] the ability to generate ratings"

was unwarranted. And that's correct; in this context, the word "talent" can, like "fish," be either singular or plural.
I don't mind Mr Benen's "sic"s, or consider them overly prissy, when he applies them to statements that are delivered in print or settings more formal than the internet. ("Sic"ing blog posts or comments is a bit much, though, as that part of the 'net, like casual conversation, isn't a formal setting. Everyone commits typos, and ungrammatical speech is a given. It irks me; as a teacher, I can't help but notice a widespread decline in spelling / grammar / idiom accuracy in general, especially among the college-age students w/whom I usually work, and am very confident that the internet's looser norms are contributing to this evolution. But that's my problem.)
But Mr B does need to be sure he himself isn't doing it rong.

/pedantry

Posted by: smartalek on July 27, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"It's not enough that the Republican network has given up on journalistic standards -- it has to be thin-skinned, too?"

FoxNews-Steve Benen focuses on our skin here at FoxNews because he is an exfoliating homo.


Posted by: DonkeyKong on July 27, 2009 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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