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  • The Leftward Shift at Fox News.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on July 19th, 2016 (All posts by )

    I have not been a big fan of Fox News but it was the only source of relatively neutral political reporting on TV for years. Some years ago, Charles Krauthammer famously said, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes found a “niche market ” with 50% of the population.

    I said some years ago that the genius of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes was to have discovered a niche market in American broadcasting — half the American people. The reason Fox News has thrived and grown is because it offers a vibrant and honest alternative to those who could not abide yet another day of the news delivered to them beneath layer after layer of often undisguised liberalism.

    What Fox did is not just create a venue for alternative opinion. It created an alternate reality.

    A few years ago, I was on a radio show with a well-known political reporter who lamented the loss of a pristine past in which the whole country could agree on what the facts were, even if they disagreed on how to interpret and act upon them. All that was gone now. The country had become so fractured we couldn’t even agree on what reality was. What she meant was that the day in which the front page of The New York Times was given scriptural authority everywhere was gone, shattered by the rise of Fox News.

    Now, in a trend that has become depressingly common, the heirs of Murdoch are taking over and shifting the programming left. Roger Ailes has been named by a disgruntled ex-employee in a fairly laughable sexual harassment suit. Carlson was fired and then, after being fired, sued alleging harassment.

    Ailes, predictably, dismissed the charges as false.

    Ailes said in his personal statement: “Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit.”

    She also accused co-host Steve Doocey.

    The Carlson suit also alleged that Doocy “had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a condescending and sexist way.” The suit says Ailes responded to her 2009 complaint to a supervisor by telling her to learn to “get along with the boys.”

    While the lawsuit is based in part on alleged comments by Ailes in private conversations with Carlson, it provides no e-mail, texts or voice mail as evidence.

    The “Internal investigation” now seems to a hit job by an outside law firm. Murdoch’s children seem to be heavily involved. He is 84 and has turned much of the operation of his two corporations to them.

    It now sounds as though Ailes is now being pushed out by Murdoch heirs.

    Something happens to heirs when they take over from the founding parent. It may be disaster as in the case of U-Haul, or the Crown Books family feud.

    Of course, much more money and probably politics are involved with News Corp and Fox News.

    According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

    There is a backstory to this.

    There has been a transparent evolution within Fox News taking place after Rupert Murdoch moved to put his sons James and Lachlan into place.

    Despite the financial benefits of running a more conservative/centrist network, like their father, the Murdoch boys are more ideologically aligned with the Mark Zuckerberg “Clintonian” world-view on all things media/political, (see: Bono, Richard Branson, Brangelina peaceniks etc.)

    Almost all Fox watchers have noted the recent leftward shift which is factually more than an executive nudge. It would appear the sexual harassment claim, if factual, is fortuitous as a leverage tool toward the convenient and mounting effort to remove Roger Ailes from Fox News stewardship.

    Why would the Murdoch family want to risk the goose the lays the golden eggs ?

    If these allegations are true, and we suspect they are fact-based, Roger Ailes will be gone very soon… what happens after that is anyone’s guess, but predictably the anti-nationalist undermining of Donald Trump will be much easier to facilitate.

    The sun set on Fox News several years ago, it’s been a weird shadowy dusk ever since. Luckily for Murdoch/Ailes Inc. at the same time the center-right apex was reached, then abandoned, their competition went further left. The ideological shift by their competition gave Fox News the false appearance of holding place – they didn’t, the entire media apparatus has shifted left.

    What happens to Roger Ailes if he is forced out ? Probably a new success.

    What happens to Fox News ? Probably nothing good.

    In time, his departure also threatens to upend the the status quo at the nation’s dominant cable news channel. In conversations with CNNMoney, television news executives and media industry insiders predicted that Ailes’ exit would precipitate a flight of top talent, including the network’s highest-rated hosts: Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly.
    “Roger is Fox News,” one television news executive said. “Every aspect of the organization reported to him. He held the place together. He’s the only person who’s ever run it.”
    As of Tuesday evening, Ailes was in talks with 21st Century Fox that will likely lead to his departure following an investigation into reports of sexual harassment, though no agreement had been reached.

    I doubt he would want any part of Megyn Kelly whose new hairdo has cost any interest I had in her show. Also, she is making a big deal of alleged “advances” 10 years ago.

    According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

    Of course, NY Magazine is no friend of Fox News. It may be a new friend of Kelly and the Murdoch heirs.

    The biggest problem Fox News faces is that Ailes has no heir apparent. The television executives CNNMoney spoke with speculate that 21st Century Fox will bring in someone from Sky, its British broadcaster. But while Brits may be able to run American news organizations, these executives said, it is much more difficult for a Brit to manage an American political organization — which is what Fox News is, these sources said.

    Kelly has high ambitions but I see her as another Paula Zahn, who also thought she was bigger than her current program.

    Months later, she helped launch her own prime time news program, The Edge with Paula Zahn. Two years later, FNC discovered she was in negotiations with CNN over a possible move there and fired her for what they alleged was a breach of her contract. A suit FNC filed against her agent was subsequently thrown out by a New York State Supreme Court judge.

    She is now doing shows on the “Murder Channel,” as I call “Investigation Discovery.”

    What does the future hold for Kelly and Fox News. I can wait to find out.

     

    24 Responses to “The Leftward Shift at Fox News.”

    1. Grurray Says:

      O’Reilly had some other problems previously with accusations he exaggerated his reporting experiences during the Falklands War and subsequent Argentine civil unrest. He tells some great stories about protesters getting shot and him saving his cameraman at gunpoint.

      I read his book Killing Jesus, and it was alright. The made-for-TV movie was a travesty. It was a fictionalized, secularized account of Jesus’ life completely different from the book except for the title. It was bizarre, except now it makes sense if they wanted to attract liberal viewers.

      O’Reilly’s book about Reagan sounds like a joke, and the kerfuffle over it with George Will was embarrassing for both of them.

      I don’t watch much TV aside from sports and occasionally Lou Dobbs on Fox Business. I do like Bret Baier too. A good friend of mine went to college with him, and my brother was friends with him when he was on a TV station in Rockford.

    2. Roy Lofquist Says:

      I wish I cared enough to comment. But I don’t. So I won’t. I’d rather read Chicago Boyz.

    3. Mike K Says:

      I was given O’Reilly’s Lincoln book by a daughter who thinks Republicans all treat Fox News as gospel.

      I did a book review on Amazon pointing out O’Reilly’s errors and got nasty comments for months accusing me of not reading the book.

      I haven’t read any of his others.

      Rush Limbaugh’s children’s books aren’t bad and I have given a few of those to some grand children.

      I have a leftist son and I gave him a set of McGuffey Readers for his first child and I doubt they were ever used. Also no thank you.

    4. Grurray Says:

      O’Reilly’s Jesus book was a Christmas gift from my wife. She’s a Fox viewer and loves ‘the Five’. I don’t have much use for that show. It just seems like an excuse to show off the legs of the brunette that sits on the end. Actually the presentation of all the female reporters and anchors on Fox has left me wondering sometimes about what’s going on there.

      My wife also gave me Krauthammer’s book, which I enjoyed more even though it was just a collection of his columns over the years. It reminds me of the good old days of reading newspapers.

      Krauthammer is probably the best thing about Fox nowadays. More intelligent than anyone else by far. I’m sure he’ll be gone soon.

    5. Ginny Says:

      I’m sure this will become history a little less living, but it is interesting: Brit Hume on the first years at Fox, in the Kristol series. Fox, with documentaries, has done its best to focus on the budget problems in the military, what happened at Benghazi, what happened at the IRS. Sure, I think O’Reilly is irritating and Hannity really terrible – and of course it is a given that I just keep the tv on all the time. Still the loss of Fox would be a real loss. (Conpare Outnumbered with the View, for instance – if you can bear to watch The View.)

      By the way, my brother was describing a conversation he had with a Bernie supporter (someone from the same NE village we grew up in and well into her sixties). He hadn’t been surprised at her allegiance, he said, she’d always leaned that way. But as their talk went on, he’d asked her where she got her news; RT she’d replied. Russia Today is on Dish. Great.

    6. Bill Brandt Says:

      Amazing that the heirs would throw away the huge ratings. If that happens I predict Ailes will start another cable network that will be successful.

      The 50% of Americans are hungering for it.

      And Fox can be another MSNBC if they so desire.

    7. Roy Lofquist Says:

      @Ginny.

      “Russia Today is on Dish. Great.”

      Actually I find Russia Today to be a bit more objective than many of our own outlets.

    8. Mike K Says:

      “I find Russia Today to be a bit more objective”

      I get most of my US news from British newspaper sites,

      The LA Times is good for the leftist POV. They have two articles today on Melania Trump and even a photo of the unemployed reporter (black) who made the momentous discovery while watching MSNBC.

    9. Mike K Says:

      The British news sites are good for stories about the wonderful NHS, for example.

    10. Will Says:

      Ok, I’ll confess. I watch “Outnumbered” when the opportunity presents itself (but usually with the sound muted)

      http://www.foxnews.com/shows/outnumbered.html

      Somethin’ about it…

    11. Grurray Says:

      Sometimes I watch Charles Payne if I get home early enough. He seems like a good guy.

      Speaking of the LA Times, they had a column today encouraging a military coup if Trump gets elected

      Faced with opposition from his military brass, Trump would perhaps reconsider and back down. But what if he didn’t?

      In that case, our military men and women, who swear to uphold the Constitution and a civilian chain of command, would be forced to choose between obeying the law and serving the wishes of someone who has explicitly expressed his utter lack of respect for it.

      Trump is not only patently unfit to be president, but a danger to America and the world. Voters must stop him before the military has to.

      Fresh evidence that left wing liberals are becoming more unhinged with every new day and may try something drastic.

    12. Bilwick Says:

      It’s funny, but just yesterday I was thinking how Fox, the presumably “right wing,” Republican-loving channel, has a lot of programming (THE REAL, THE PREACHERS, etc.) seeming to target the uneducated ghetto audience, a prime voting bloc for the Democrats.

    13. Will Says:

      Interesting about the L.A. Times fomenting a military coup :

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/226104/la-times-suppresses-obamas-khalidi-bash-tape-andrew-c-mccarthy

      We’ve just had another failed coup or something posited as a coup in Turkey. Turkey is run by a Islamic dictator who’s best friends with a guy named obama. The Times carries water for this guy.

      Weird, huh?

    14. Mike K Says:

      I think the coup stuff is just fantasy for Pajama Boys.

      The BLM types and those like the teacher who runs a left wing bunch who call themselves By Any Means Necessary, might make a try at violence but I doubt they are more than few hundred.

      In 2012, Felarca was described as a “Northern California Coordinator of BAMN and a middle school teacher in Berkeley.” She was an activist in the Occupy movement and in Black Lives Matter-connected protests at the University of California at Berkeley, where she told the New York Times she thought “militant” actions were appropriate:

      “Riots are the voice of the unheard,” said Ms. Felarca, a Berkeley alumna. “You can never replace the lives of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, but you can always replace broken windows.”

      Felarca was also involved in the Burlingame, California protest that forced Donald Trump and his Secret Service detail to leave their vehicle:

      She is a left wing nut who is, of course, a California union teacher.

    15. Joe Wooten Says:

      Mike,

      Note that Ms. Felarca and others of her ilk have staged their violent little altercations in areas where they can count on the protection of the local government. If she had tried the same stunt in Ft. Worth,Tx or any other smaller city in the Western/Central/Southern US, her little group would not have come out unscathed. The local cops would have either broken it up, or stood aside as those she attacked got their revenge……

      The left wing loonies running things on both coasts and the small enclaves in the middle live in a fantasy woeld.

    16. Jonathan Says:

      Fox has always been flawed from a conservative POV. Some of us have complained about it for years (e.g., here). When you’re the only occupant of one side of a bipolar opinion cartel there’s a strong temptation to position yourself just outside of your competitors’ range of the opinion spectrum. Fox’s mushy centrism gains it some viewers from the Left, and where are conservative news consumers going to go? The Republican Party has played a similar game. In the long run Fox (and the Republicans) face conservative competition, but in the short and medium run its strategy of positioning itself on the left side of conservative opinion has payed off.

    17. Mike K Says:

      “positioning itself on the left side of conservative opinion has payed off.”

      Agree and the Wall Street Journal has done some of the same.

      British newspapers are better at American news these days.

    18. East Anglian Says:

      Speaking of the LA Times, they had a column today encouraging a military coup if Trump gets elected

      Fresh evidence that left wing liberals are becoming more unhinged with every new day and may try something drastic.

      That article was written by James Kirchick. I always thought he was a standard issue neoconservative. For years he’s written for their publications like Commentary and the Weekly Standard, where his archive goes back to 2006. To me this is fresh evidence that neocons were never on the political Right. They were just liberals (and outright leftists) who happened to be ultra-hawkish on the Middle East and Russia so they took over the Right’s media to cynically manipulate conservatives into adopting their proposed foreign policy whilst undermining vital conservative causes like immigration control.

    19. PenGun Says:

      “We’ve just had another failed coup or something posited as a coup in Turkey. Turkey is run by a Islamic dictator who’s best friends with a guy named obama.”

      The coup probably was faked, or perhaps played. Obama and Erdogan do not get along at all, for quite a while now.

      It means a lot of things just changed a lot. The US will probably be leaving Incirlik soon. Putin will be his new BFF and he is talking to Assad about winding up the war. The Kurds lose most, with the US right behind.

    20. Grurray Says:

      Kirchick also writes for Haaretz and the Daily Beast. To me that’s proof that publications choose to hire columnists from multiple viewpoints, usually with the expectations that they’ll write with some sort of affinity with their overall editorial predilection. What of it?
      That doesn’t change the fact that left wing liberals are going off the deep end in response to Trump, and this crypto-manifesto fully demonstrates it.

    21. Mike K Says:

      “The Kurds lose most, with the US right behind.”

      The end of the Kurds has been predicted many times.

      I agree that we lose a lot but a Trump election will overshadow all of that.

    22. Anonymous Says:

      Wait, Penny said something intelligent? I must be dreaming.

      I’m not prepared to expect a Trump election to overshadow anything except a Hildabeast election. Surprise me please, Donald.

      Death6

    23. Sgt. Mom Says:

      The law of averages catches up with Penny now and again. Usually after a long chase …;-)

    24. Anonymous Says:

      “Wait, Penny said something intelligent? I must be dreaming.”

      I repudiate this statement, freely made by me before I gave him sufficient time to screw up entirely the meaning of his post above with another on the same subject in another thread here. That was close, I was beginning to think I had entered the Twilight Zone of my old age.

      Death6