There Should be a War on Faux News


There is absolutely no reason why the Fox Propaganda and Lies Network should be allowed to call itself a News channel.  Even more evidence has come out today that FOX is more interested in Republican Politics than it is anything that remotely resembles journalism.

Bob Woodard dropped a little revelation on how Roger Ailes tried to recruit General Patreus as a presidential candidate in 2011.    There’s audio evidence so it’s not even a debatable story.

So in spring 2011, Ailes asked a Fox News analyst headed to Afghanistan to pass on his thoughts to Petraeus, who was then the commander of U.S. and coalition forces there. Petraeus, Ailes advised, should turn down an expected offer from President Obama to become CIA director and accept nothing less than the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military post. If Obama did not offer the Joint Chiefs post, Petraeus should resign from the military and run for president, Ailes suggested.

The Fox News chairman’s message was delivered to Petraeus by Kathleen T. McFarland, a Fox News national security analyst and former national security and Pentagon aide in three Republican administrations. She did so at the end of a 90-minute, unfiltered conversation with Petraeus that touched on the general’s future, his relationship with the media and his political aspirations — or lack thereof. The Washington Post has obtained a digital recording from the meeting, which took place in Petraeus’s office in Kabul.

McFarland also said that Ailes — who had a decades-long career as a Republican political consultant, advising Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — might resign as head of Fox to run a Petraeus presidential campaign. At one point, McFarland and Petraeus spoke about the possibility that Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp., which owns Fox News, would “bankroll” the campaign.

The analysis of this should be self-evident.  Eric Wemple has some great points to make.  Most of them come under the heading of Fox News is corrupt and nasty.

To listen to the exchange between McFarland and Petraeus is to come away with the distinct impression that McFarland was under specific and binding orders from Ailes. She repeatedly invokes Ailes’s name, his advice and his interest in the career of Petraeus. The mandate to return to Ailes’s New York office with a mouthful of feedback from Petraeus rings from these words of McFarland’s: “So what do I tell Roger when he says…?” She continues spelling out the rules of engagement — how she was supposed to present the advice, and how she was supposed to report back.

Given that dynamic, have a look at how Ailes responded when Woodward asked about the advice-giving mission:

In a telephone interview Monday, the wily and sharp-tongued Ailes said he did indeed ask McFarland to make the pitch to Petraeus. “It was more of a joke, a wiseass way I have,” he said. “I thought the Republican field [in the primaries] needed to be shaken up and Petraeus might be a good candidate.”

Ailes added, “It sounds like she thought she was on a secret mission in the Reagan administration. . . . She was way out of line. . . . It’s someone’s fantasy to make me a kingmaker. It’s not my job.” He said that McFarland was not an employee of Fox but a contributor paid less than $75,000 a year.

Such noble and classy details there from the head of Fox News. Woodward nails you sullying your employer and the industry of journalism, and you tar the messenger. That’s outrageous enough that it could dog someone as untouchable as Roger Ailes.

The details of the exchange are frankly beyond belief.  You can listen to them yourself .

Ailes’s craving for the respect and admiration of a military hotshot like Petraeus emerges with Memorex clarity in this recording. For instance, McFarland tells Petraeus that she has a request “directly from [Ailes] to you: First of all, is there anything Fox is doing right or wrong that you want to tell us to do differently.”

Unpacking the depravity in that one is a multi-part process.

No. 1: Real journalists don’t act as supplicants, no matter how wonderful and powerful may be the official they’re interviewing. Real journalists publish their journalism and move on to the next story. If people have problems with or plaudits for the work, they can send an e-mail.

No. 2: Note the promise in McFarland’s proffer. She invites the general to “tell us” to adjust coverage in whatever way he may see fit, in effect soliciting an order from a general. What an affirmation of journalistic independence.

No. 3: To which individuals has Ailes “indirectly” advanced this offer?

It’s no wonder the Brits are working to get Murdoch thrown out of the journalism business in the UK.  This is the behavior of a propagandist and kingmaker.

McFarland begins by promising Petraeus absolute discretion, saying that Ailes’s “deal with me was that I was only supposed to talk to you – and he is a little paranoid, so believe me.” However, the 90-minute conversation was recorded, and a digital copy of it somehow made its way into Woodward’s hands.

“I’ve got something to say to you directly from Roger Ailes,” McFarland is captured saying on the recording that has been posted in edited form on the Washington Post website. “I’m not running,” Petraeus snaps back.

McFarland, a Pentagon adviser to the Reagan administration, does not take no for an answer. The next time Petraeus is in New York, she says, he should come and “chat to Roger and Rupert Murdoch”, to which Petraeus, for whom this conversation is clearly not the first of its kind, replies: “Rupert’s after me as well.”

“Tell him if I ever ran … ” Petraeus laughingly says as the meeting is wrapping up. “I’d take him up on his offer. He said he would quit Fox.”

McFarland says that “the big boss” would “bankroll” the campaign – a clear reference to Murdoch. “The big boss is bankrolling it. Roger’s going to run it. And the rest of us are going to be your in-house.”

Something should be done about this, however, I’m not sure what can be done about it in a legal sense.  One hopes some of the Fox faithful would get the message but I’ve got no hopes there.   Any one who calls themselves a journalist–if they haven’t already–should disassociate themselves with this outfit quickly.  The rest of us just need to keep telling other people about  this business.  Fox news is biased, depraved, and deeply connected to right wing politics.  It is nothing more than a propaganda outpost for the worst of Republican policies.

27 Comments on “There Should be a War on Faux News”

  1. RalphB says:

    That is the damndest thing! No one who seriously wants to be informed of real news would ever watch Fox again. I assume that’s a small percentage of their current viewers though.

    • dakinikat says:

      It’s like all of them are addicted to stories they want to hear rather than anything else. It’s the same group–like Mike Huckabee–that seems to be addicted to the most fictional parts of religion too. I think it’s a mental problem or an addiction problem or something. How can you want to just hear stuff like that and be an adult? It’s very monster in the bed, childlike to me.

      • RalphB says:

        I can’t understand it. You can watch Faux for a few minutes and usually see something that you recognize as false from your own knowledge or experience. Once that happens, why anyone would keep watching and suspend their own mind is a deep mystery to me. Maybe it will stay that way!

      • RalphB says:

        The same goes for my local news station. Yesterday, in a story on the gentle fiscal slope I heard a local anchor quote something from the DC Examiner!!!!! Right wing blog news comes alive.

  2. RalphB says:

    If only we could find some way to tap right wing rage for energy, we’d never need another drop of oil, coal, natural gas, or any radiation.

  3. RalphB says:

    Meantime the Senate can’t even ratify a treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It failed 61-38 with only Republicans voting Nay.

    I think we can lay that defeat, and a lot of others, directly on the paranoia stirred up by Faux.

    • NW Luna says:

      The freaking scumbags, even with Bob Dole & John McCain looking on, voted No. That is so heartless that one could wish they’d all contract ALS or severe MS that very instance.

      • janey says:

        You would think that Dole and McCain would know that a lot of soldiers etc end up on the disabled list because of their service. Even if they do not serve in a war, they are exposed to dangerous and toxic chemicals. Atomic radiation, jet fuel, jet exhaust, asbestos. those are just those things that have killed former servicemen that I am related to.

  4. John Cole wrote two post about this Dak, you should see them:

    The first one is on Petraeus in Afghanistan: Petraeus gave Afghanistan away to NeoCon Think Tanks (Elliott) | Informed Comment

    The second is on Murdoch and Fox news: Rupert Murdoch, in midst of Hacking Scandal, tried to entice Petraeus with Presidency: WaPo | Informed Comment

    The second one is where I saw this story from Woodward and WaPo, it is good, give it a read.

    • dakinikat says:

      The level of nonsense they push is amazing. I keep telling my dad not to believe anything they say. He calls and just is mad about something like this that’s a complete untruth. It takes me forever to calm him down and explain the facts to him, They just manufacture rage in people. Like Ralph said, if we could only harness all that wasted energy.

    • RalphB says:

      The apoplectic response to Obama’s win over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney doesn’t stop with feeling robbed. PPP also found that 25 percent of Republicans said they no longer want to be American and would rather their state to secede from the U.S. than take orders from President Obama.

      Won’t they please just leave and be hyper-patriotic Amurkins somewhere else then!

    • RalphB says:

      This is interesting from that ppp polling. Number of Republicans dropped like a stone.

      One reason that such a high percentage of Republicans are holding what could be seen as extreme views is that their numbers are declining. Our final poll before the election, which hit the final outcome almost on the head, found 39% of voters identifying themselves as Democrats and 37% as Republicans. Since the election we’ve seen a 5 point increase in Democratic identification to 44%, and a 5 point decrease in Republican identification to 32%.

      • RalphB says:

        From connenter Michael Reynolds at OutsidetheBeltway and how true it is.

        I’ve been saying for a long time now that “Republican” no longer describes just a political party or ideology but a mental illness. I know people think I’m just being partisan. I’m not. Slowly, slowly it’s beginning to dawn on people — like David Frum recently — that it’s true. Republicanism is a mental illness that involves a profound denial of reality.

  5. RalphB says:

    I love some Charles Pierce in the morning.

    Senator Warren’s New Job

    Come the end of January, over by the Senate Banking Committee, they’re gonna be able to sell tickets.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Holy Shit! This is ridiculous. These are the public airwaves after all. Where are the regulators? That was an academic question, BTW.

  7. RalphB says:

    Speaking of Faux, McCain may be worse than I thought before in his Benghazi smears.

    TP: McCain Once Offered Identical Assessment As Susan Rice On Benghazi Attack

    Just three days after the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said there were “demonstrations” at the U.S. diplomatic mission there and that the attackers “seized this opportunity to attack our consulate.” McCain also said during this Sept. 14 press conference on Capitol Hill that he wasn’t certain whether al-Qeada perpetrated the assault.

  8. prolixous says:

    In what kind of hermetically sealed vacuum must you live for this to be your defense:

    “He (Ailes) said that McFarland was not an employee of Fox but a contributor paid less than $75,000 a year.”

    Translation: So, I deigned to have a handsomely paid street-walking contributor to surreptitiously carry my offer to become either the President of the U.S. or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Have you seen our newscasts — I couldn’t trust my regular employees because they would probably get the facts wrong. Lest any of our other contributors get angry, I only paid McFarland by the word to deliver the message plus hazardous duty pay of course since it entailed a trip to that little war I helped start 11 years ago.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Okay .. this is an interesting follow up

    Fox News Puts Karl Rove on the Bench

    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. Both pundits made several appearances in the days after the election, but their visibility on the network has dropped markedly. Inside Fox News, Morris’s Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line. At a rehearsal on the Saturday before the election, according to a source, anchor Megyn Kelly chuckled when she relayed to colleagues what someone had told her: “I really like Dick Morris. He’s always wrong but he makes me feel good.”

    A Fox spokesperson confirmed the new booking rules for Rove and Morris, and explained that Shine’s message was “the election’s over.”

    Multiple sources say that Ailes was angry at Rove’s election-night tantrum when he disputed the network’s call for Obama. While the moment made for riveting television — it was Ailes’s decision to have Kelly confront the statisticians on air — in the end, it provided another data point for Fox’s critics. A spokesperson for Ailes denied any rift between Ailes and Rove, and said the two plan to meet this week.

  10. SophieCT says:

    I find it nearly impossible to take anyone seriously when they get their news from FOX. Especially people who ought to know better.