MEDIA WITH AN AGENDA
by Laura Alcorn, blogging at Richmond Patriots
(Jun. 9, 2011) — Recently we had a series of discussions with someone familiar with the inside dealings of Fox News regarding the way Fox News treats Governor Palin. While I don’t condone using anonymous sources (I usually make fun of those citing anonymous sources) unfortunately we can’t reveal the source. So we have therefore gathered the evidence that will back up everything we were told and it’s up to the reader to come to his or her own conclusion. Whichever way you look at it, the evidence is astonishing on how Fox News is out to sabotage Governor Palin.
When Roger Ailes hired Governor Palin, he thought he was hiring a puppet. He thought that he would groom her, train her, educate her and prop her up to become his candidate for president and that he would be able to pull her strings. Sort of being to Sarah Palin what George Soros is to Barack Obama.
It didn’t take him long to find out that Governor Palin comes with no strings attached. No one tells her what to do, no one dictates to her, and no one controls her. Unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office, Governor Palin has a mind of her own.
In March 2010, when Governor Palin did Real American Stories, Fox News botched it up by using an interview with LL Cool J without asking him. They eventually took it out but it became an international controversy which took away from the effect of the show and hurt the Governor. Governor Palin didn’t take it sitting down and she confronted Fox about the debacle. Ailes didn’t take it lightly.
When Bill O’Reilly kept interrupting her interviews and finally Governor Palin confronted him on television, Bill’s ego was hurt and he didn’t like it. Governor Palin warned O’Reilly to behave or else.
In an article in the New York Mag Gabriel Sherman writes about Roger Ailes:
“He thinks things are going in a bad direction,” another Republican close to Ailes told me. “Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she’s stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven’t elevated the conservative movement.”
Fox of course stonewalled and came out and sort of denied it. The truth is that both are right. Ailes does not think Governor Palin is an idiot, far from it. He thinks Palin is shrewd. Though, as Sherman points out that “Fox’s PR department is notoriously strict when it comes to internal leaks,” Fox deliberately had that leaked in an attempt to kick Governor Palin in the shins. Ailes does believe that he helped boost her up and that she owes him her fame. He also believes that Palin is hurting the Fox brand.
It has been reported that before Governor Palin made the video in response to being accused of murder, she called Roger Ailes and asked for his advice. Governor Palin called a number of people and the advice was split; some told her to ignore it, others advised her that it would do her good to respond. Everyone she spoke to was well aware that she was simply reaching out to hear opinions and their advice was non-committal. Roger Ailes advised her to “lie low, there’s no need to inject yourself into the story.”
After examining her options, Governor Palin decided to do the video. Ailes was disappointed that she didn’t take his advice. But why?
In an interview with Russell Simmons that was posted on the website, globalgrind.com, Ailes said in relation to the Arizona shooting that “I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually. You don’t have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that.” To protect the Fox brand, Ailes also wanted the network to distance itself from Palin who was the number one target of the left. Ailes feared that by Governor Palin’s association to the network, which was also somewhat targeted, Fox would be pulled into it even deeper.
It was at that point when Fox decided to throw Governor Palin under the bus. Ailes’ advice to Governor Palin had nothing to do with protecting her; it was all about protecting the Fox brand. Governor Palin realized that she was on her own and even those who she thought she could count on to defend her were about to stab her in the back. It was from that point onwards that Fox’s attitude towards Palin changed and in the following days every pundit on the network went from “Palin needs to respond” just a day before her video was released, to “Palin should have shut up” the next day. The day before the video was released Bill O’Reilly complained that he invited Palin on his show to respond, which he thought was important for her to do, but the next day argued she should have ignored it.
That was the turning point for Ailes where he decided that Governor Palin is not his candidate and that he’ll do whatever he can to make sure she isn’t. Ailes needed someone he could control and Governor Palin clearly wasn’t that person. Sometime in recent months the word went out internally that reporters, anchors and contributors should push the narrative that Palin isn’t running as hard as they can. No matter what Palin says or does or what the polls say, the rule is simple : “Palin isn’t running and everything she does is either for fun or for money.”
At the time of this posting we have mixed reports and cannot confirm whether the message came down as “this is the way we’re doing it” or if it came in by way of leading the staff to believe that management has information that Governor Palin was in fact not running. The difference comes down to whether the show hosts are being misled or are playing along.
Simultaneously, all the show hosts went from Governor Palin being a first tier candidate to Palin is not running. Chris Wallace went from Palin is a serious contender, to Palin isn’t running, Fox and Friends hosts went from being very much supportive of Palin to Palin isn’t running. Only this week on Tuesday did Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade discuss whether Palin’s one nation bus tour was a sign that Governor Palin is running for president. Wednesday, Doocy said, “is she running, probably not.” Carlson appeared to be biting her tongue. It appeared they got the memo a little late. If by accident some contributor or host does suggest she may be running they quickly, turn it to “but she has no shot at winning”
At the time of writing this post the following appeared on the Fox News home page as the line of the night:
Fox went into high gear hyping Michele Bachmann. Not that Ailes thinks much of Bachmann (some suggest because Fox didn’t want to appear sexist, hyping another female candidate gives them cover), but it was to push a narrative that Palin is stepping on Bachmann’s toes. Never mind that Governor Palin was a potential candidate for nearly three years and the only reason Bachmann got in was because she saw an opening after the Arizona shooting. Ironically at the same time Ailes decided to throw Palin under the bus.
The facts speak for themselves. In my research for this article I was astonished at the level Fox stooped to diminish Palin. While this has been going on for weeks, this post can only be so long, the following examples are from the past seven days or so alone:
• When other politicians only jokingly say that they are thinking about running for president like they think about other stuff, Fox immediately runs with that person being a serious potential candidate. However when Palin does things that had any other candidate have done the exact same things Fox would have reported it as them seriously considering a run, with Palin it’s covered as her just building her brand.
• Usually when Fox does segments they try to keep it fair and balanced. They’ll usually bring on two people one from each side of the argument. Lately on segments related to Palin they’ll bring on one democrat who’ll claim Palin isn’t running and is doing it for money, while the republican or “supposedly” Palin defender will just agree with what the democrat said or slightly spin it in a different direction such as saying that Palin isn’t running and she’s playing for king maker role. Conservatives4Palin has reached out to Fox and offered to go on the network to defend and talk about the Governors record to balance those segments. While the person we spoke to was originally enthusiastic about the idea, Fox suddenly stopped responding to emails.
• On May 26 Gallup released a poll showing Palin effectively tied with Romney, while Fox displayed the poll on screen, during the segment Palin’s name didn’t even come up once, not even by accident. While all the other potential and non-potential candidates, even the completely irrelevant ones, were discussed at length.
• This week during Palin’s bus tour Fox had not on a single contributor who even remotely suggested that Palin may be running while even those who regularly defended Palin were beginning to take cheap shots at the Governor.
• The Bus tour itself was embargoed till Thursday (May 26th) 3pm but it was Fox news’s Carl Cameron who broke the embargo at noon.
• Bill O’Reilly had multiple segments this week discussing Governor Palin, he didn’t find it necessary to bring in even one person that would even remotely suggest that Palin may even be considering a run. He let Dick Morris get away with claiming that Palin has ADD, and allowed Charles Krauthammer, whose frame of reference about Palin is weak, go on and talk about a topic he knows nothing about.
• On Monday May 31st Fox News Special Report did a Bachmann vs Palin poll and even though Palin led 71-28 Fox reported it that Bachmann was leading 55 to 45 the following snapshot was taken within 10 minutes of the results being announced.
• Every time Governor Palin does an interview on Fox, she’ll talk policy for 15 minutes and just at the end the host will ask some dumb question related to some controversial issue and that is the headline Fox will be running with, ignoring her substance and run with the trivia. Fox practically forced Governor Palin to come on to talk about the controversy surrounding the White House inviting the rapper common to the poetry ceremony. Something they would never have asked another potential presidential candidate to do.
• Fox has also been giving quite a bit of attention to the hit piece book by disgruntled Palin aid Frank Bailey. The book was mentioned on multiple segments on various shows. Bailey appeared on the Hannity show where he was excoriated by Sean Hannity, but he also appeared on Alan Colmes’ radio show. Colmes was sympathetic to Bailey. It was the Colmes interview that made it to the Fox website soon after it aired while the Hannity interview was posted 24 hours later.
And this is how the Fox Nation ran with the Bailey story. While generally supportive of Governor Palin, it leads with this rather damning paragraph:
A former member of Sarah Palin’s inner circle has written a scathing tell-all, saying Palin was ready to quit as governor months before she actually resigned and was eager to leave office when more lucrative opportunities came around.
Now for the revelation: Fox wants Palin out but they don’t want to suspend her contract because by doing so they’ll be conceding that she’s a serious contender. Fox won’t do anything that would lend her credibility. They just want her to resign. The tactic now is to make Palin’s life as difficult and as miserable as possible until Palin just gets frustrated and leaves on her own citing irreconcilable differences. Things are going to get worse. Fox is about to up the ante and it’s going to get ugly.
While the entire Fox cast, reporters and contributors alike, have all teamed up, by leading or being misled, to sabotage Governor Palin, the Governor does have two friends at the network: Sean Hannity and Greta van Susteren. They still defend her and take her seriously. It is for this reason that while Fox is increasingly reducing Governor Palin’s appearances on the network, the Governor is mostly only doing interviews with Hannity and Greta.
Yesterday Governor Palin met with her bosses at Fox News. While we are not aware of what went on in that meeting and what if anything came of it, in a statement executive vice president of programming Bill Shine said “Right now there is no change in her status with FOX News.” Ben Smith makes an interesting observation:
The “right now” didn’t appear in earlier statements.
Hopefully Ben is on to something and the “right now” is short lived. Governor Palin doesn’t need this; it’s time for her to leave Fox News so she can freely do what she wants to do, that is talk to other networks who, even though they trash her all day, at least they take her as a serious threat and presidential contender.
This explanation probably won’t pass muster with many of her critics, but Sarah Palin insists she didn’t commit a gaffe last week when she said Paul Revere warned the British on his historical ride that signaled the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
On this weekend’s “Fox News Sunday,” the former Alaska governor took on her critics, including one of her Fox News colleagues, Shephard Smith, who had said Palin was on a publicity tour. The shot came after host Chris Wallace asked Palin what she was up to on her bus tour.
“Oh man, it seems like I have answered this question a million times in the last week,” Palin said. “And folks still, I guess aren’t understanding it. At least reporters don’t seem to understand it. Even your own Shep Smith there on Fox News – he announced the other day I was on some publicity tour. I wanted to say, Shep, take it one step further. What am I publicizing on tour? I’m publicizing Americana and our foundation and how important is it we learn about our past and our challenges and victories throughout American history so that we can successfully proceed forward very heady days, rough waters ahead of us, Chris. We need to make sure we have a strong grasp of our foundational victory to move forward. That’s what we are highlighting on the bus tour.”
However, in the midst her bus tour, a video posted on Think Progress last week suggested Palin didn’t know her American history. That wasn’t the case according to Palin.
“You know what, I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere,” she said. “Here’s what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that ‘the British were coming, the British were coming’ and they were going to try to take our arms. We got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of our ammunitions and our fire arms so they couldn’t take it.”
But in addition to that, Palin insists Paul Revere was warning the British not to take American arms because they wouldn’t succeed.
“But remember, that the British had already been there,” Palin said. “Many soldiers for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride — and it wasn’t just one ride — he was a courier, he was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn British that were already there. That, ‘Hey, you are not going to succeed. You are not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have.’ He did warn the British. And in a shout out, gotcha question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.”