Political Animal


December 05, 2012 10:00 AM The Predictable Benching of Rove and Morris

By Ed Kilgore

New York’s Gabriel Sherman has a fine scoop on some internal decision-making at Fox News, but I fear he’s missing the big picture here:

The post-election soul searching going on inside the Republican Party is taking place inside Fox News as well. Fox News chief Roger Ailes, a canny marketer and protector of his network’s brand, has been taking steps since November to reposition Fox in the post-election media environment, freshening story lines — and in some cases, changing the characters. According to multiple Fox sources, Ailes has issued a new directive to his staff: He wants the faces associated with the election off the air — for now. For Karl Rove and Dick Morris — a pair of pundits perhaps most closely aligned with Fox’s anti-Obama campaign — Ailes’s orders mean new rules. Ailes’s deputy, Fox News programming chief Bill Shine, has sent out orders mandating that producers must get permission before booking Rove or Morris.

Thanks to their high visibility in the 2012 cycle, some MSM and progressive observers seem to be making the mistake of associating Rove and Morris with right-wing influence in the GOP, and assuming that taking them down a notch in FoxLand means some sort of new conservative pragmatism. Are we forgetting who these men are? Rove was the author of every single violation of “conservative principle” by George W. Bush that has enabled wingnuts to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the bitter fruits—substantively and politically—of the Bush/Cheney administration: No Child Left Behind, the Medicare Rx drug initiative, comprehensive immigration reform, and in general Big Spending and Big Government Conservatism. And given his role as the “quarterback” of the entire Super-PAC/501(c)(4) money blitz in 2012, Rove is also nicely positioned to take the fall for a “Republican Establishment” that failed to make ideology and “vetting” the centerpiece of the anti-Obama drive. As for Dick Morris—well, he’s the same unprincipled self-promoter he’s always been.

Putting Rove and Morris “on the bench” is precisely what you would expect from conservatives looking for a way to shift blame after another electoral defeat. The idea that it means Fox is coming to grips with the error of its ideological ways is leap of logic and faith unjustified by anything we’ve seen so far.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ronald on December 05, 2012 10:15 AM:

    Change the messenger but not the message.
    That's the Right Wing mantra now.
    Best of luck with that one, idiots.

  • jim filyaw on December 05, 2012 10:22 AM:

    i suspect that even the resolutely oblivious dubya is beginning to squirm about how he is going to be treated in the history books (if considered on his own merits, i think he's going to be the presidential equivalent of the war of jenkin's ear). no doubt, he'd love to be de-coupled from the loathsome karl rove. it ain't gonna happen. he and his political guru are forever a matched pair, like bonnie and clyde, like leopold and loeb. they've earned each other.

  • Ronald on December 05, 2012 10:22 AM:

    I am on a tear today because of this that I read earlier:
    "49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn't exist anymore. (emphasis mine)"

    from: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/12/republicans-not-handling-election-results-well.html

    It has just gotten me sooo made at the right wing dis-information echo chamber. It is SO hard to have a discussion about how to move America forward when 25% of the population are so terribly, sadly and willfully misinformed.

  • c u n d gulag on December 05, 2012 10:31 AM:

    I wonder what FUX Noise's GULag is like?

    Will they be punished with hard and upleasant labor -like making them read Liberal books and blogs?

    Will they prop their eyes open, and force them to watch Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" on an endless loop?

    Or, worse yet, will they leave those two in a room alone, with no other stimuli, and force them to look and talk to each other?

    A Republican "No Exit." Maybe that's even too cruel for these two. NAH!!!

  • c u n d gulag on December 05, 2012 10:34 AM:

    For Conservatives, "Voter Fraud," The New Black Panthers and ACORN, are all 'pigments of their imagination."

    Conservatism can't fail. It can only BE failed!

    And today's Conservatives are proving that!

  • jcricket on December 05, 2012 10:40 AM:

    Ronald, that 25% of which you speak is Dubya's 25% (or a bit less, actually) - no matter what the facts or reality were, as the rest of the world understood him to be the incompetent, unqualified jackass that he was (is), they clung to their delusion that he was doing a good job.

    Try not to let yourself get mad. These fools will always be with us. Kind of like the bottom section of a bell-curve measuring intelligence will always exist.You can't have average or above average intelligence without below average intelligence.

    It's just a fact of life.

  • stevio on December 05, 2012 10:46 AM:

    Turd Blossom will retreat to the rock he lives under for a spell and return with a vengeance probably sporting a toupee and a handlebar mustache...

    Between he and Morris a gnat has more integrity...way more...

  • Peter C on December 05, 2012 10:51 AM:

    If Rove and Morris take a breather for a couple of months that will just mean more FOX air time for someone like James O'Keefe.

    Vile - that's all they've got.

  • stormskies on December 05, 2012 10:56 AM:

    Those who view and listen to Fox Fiction, and all the other right wing propaganda on the radio waves that blanket our nation, are in fact psychologically dependent on that fiction and propaganda.

    Their entire universe is of course fact free, and they need it that way in order to sustain psychological consistency which in turn creates their sense of 'security'.

    To admit that even one of their delusions are wrong would be to unravel their entire delusional universe. Then what ? They would be forced into admitting that they have been wrong. At that point their entire pathetic lives will then loose all meaning. They would be naked without any clothes left to put on.

    So, of course, they maintain their delusional universe at all costs. This is exactly how Fox Fiction and the right wing radio blanket over our country is thus able to MAKE MONEY. So of course they then create ever more fictions and delusions to keep their dependent audience secure.

    It is truly pathetic.

  • T2 on December 05, 2012 11:10 AM:

    the true path for FOX is just what every GOPer has been saying.....we won't change anything, just try to make it look better. A sugar coating on a bitter pill.

  • Michael Dremel on December 05, 2012 11:13 AM:

    Well stated, Ed!
    I fully get that media sources need to attract and keep viewers, but Karl Rove and his orgulous peers, whose collective gasconade of how the Republicans were going to retake the White House permeated the conservative airwaves, portrayed himself at the moment of President Obama's re-election like a teenager who cannot believe that their abhorent behaviors cost them their beloved XBOX. Rove was all adither when the media announced Obama was going to win, his tone betraying his sense of adynation that his hard work procuring millions of donation dollars he procured was for naught. His subsequent insistence that the call was in error, that the Romney-Ryan ticket would find a revenant moment that would actuate the duo into the executive branch, has cost Rove a media-mulcting of status, his fine being that of becoming a non-player for the time being. Let's let him bemoan his fate alone as the Republican Party quietly sentences him as the newest jester in the reliquary of extreme right wingers who helped reduce instead of augment the power and prestige of the party. President Obama won, and it's time for the branches of government to move back to governing and leading the country instead of giving air time to hear Republicans spin blame and point fingers.

  • anandine on December 05, 2012 12:39 PM:

    Putting Rove and Morris “on the bench” is precisely what you would expect from conservatives looking for a way to shift blame after another electoral defeat.

    No, I never expect a conservative to lose a position in the punditocracy just for being wrong. When has it happened before. I'd sooner believe it was on the orders of the billionaires who shoveled money into his PAC, for his wasteful incompetence with their money.