Saturday, May 5, 2012

Roger Ailes: Head Of The Communications Arm Of The GOP

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by Ellen

Politico has an interesting article out today called, GOPers flock to Roger Ailes's Office, detailing the more-than-cozy relationship between Ailes and Republicans. Although Fox News tried to downplay the connections, it's clear that the rank-and-file Republicans see it differently. "From leaders to lowly freshmen, Republicans are eager to get some face time with a powerful news executive whose megaphone can quickly shift the national debate... Unlike other news executives, Ailes carries an enormous amount of clout within a Republican Party that sees Fox News as the best way to get its message to the masses."

The authors, Jake Sherman and Manu Raju, took particular note of Ailes' relationship with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

In Washington and New York, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) regularly speaks with the 71-year-old Ailes, a confidant of more than two decades, aides said.
...As a media-savvy political consultant, Ailes helped McConnell’s first Senate campaign in 1984. He is credited as the creative mind behind the now infamous advertisements of bloodhounds fruitlessly searching for McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Dee Huddleston, who Republicans alleged was shirking his Senate duties. The ads are widely credited with helping propel McConnell into higher office, and the two men still chat often about business and personal matters.
The authors also note how presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain have buddied up to Ailes, along with House Speaker John Boehner and Franklin Graham. There's also a report of some tete-a-tetes with Allen West, described from his inscrutable viewpoint.

There was also an attempt to equate Ailes with other, supposedly "liberal" media heads, like former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee who had ties to Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy (according to Politico).

But despite the nod to evenhandedness, the authors failed to consider (or else failed to report) the difference in coverage. Mitch McConnell has famously said that his "top priority" was to ensure that President Obama only served one-term. Can anyone who has watched Fox News for more than 10 minutes since Obama took office - and especially since the 2012 campaign began - doubt that those same words could have been uttered by Ailes, himself? Or any number of Fox News hosts? From calling Obama a racist, a radical, or a socialist to Donald Trump's birther-palooza, where would you find such inflammatory hate mongering against Republicans in the Washington Post - either under Bradlee or anyone else? The answer is, "nowhere.

If the authors truly wanted to provide an evenhanded examination, they would have provided that context.

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