If strawberries, blueberries, limes and lemons leave a bad taste in your mouth then you haven’t been to one of Roger Ailes pre-prime-time Fox News televised debates with the infamous backstage smoothie bar! Last Thursday was Mr. Ailes chance to showcase the new and improved – ahem! – Fair and Balanced skills of his Fox News on-air talent as they dared the GOP candidates to answer tough questions about how much the other guy sucks.
Ailes is calling this rebirth of Fox News a “course correction,” which, according to an extensive, in-depth article by Howard Kurtz in Newsweek/The Daily Beast, has been “quietly adopted at Fox over the last year.”
You may have noticed a few “changes” at the network. No more Glenn Beck. A little less Sarah Palin (albeit she keeps going on “vacations” randomly in giant buses with throngs of media pigeons chasing after her for breadcrumbs).
Initially, Ailes claimed that Beck leaving was simply a matter of priorities saying things like, “[Beck's] goals were different from our goals … I need people focused on a daily television show.” And Palin saw the network as her reprieve from the onslaught of Katie Couric periodical questions. But Ailes opened up to Kurtz and as Kurtz explained:
Glenn Beck’s inflammatory rhetoric—his ranting about Obama being a racist—”became a bit of a branding issue for us” before the hot-button host left in July, Ailes says. So too did Sarah Palin’s being widely promoted as the GOP’s potential savior—in large measure through her lucrative platform at Fox. Privately, Fox executives say the entire network took a hard right turn after Obama’s election, but, as the Tea Party’s popularity fades, is edging back toward the mainstream.
No Glenn Beck? Less Sarah Palin? Well if the economy isn’t on the road to recovery maybe Fox News is, right? Am I right? Can I get a Hezbollah fist bump?
Speaking of terrorism – what a segue! – evidently, Aires still has issues with the “mainstream media.” Kurtz sited an example in which Ailes had read an Associate Press reported that stated that 29 worshipers had been killed by a suicide bomber in Baghdad’s largest Sunni mosque during prayers. Now considering it was during prayers, you know, the time when you pray, I’m just gonna take a wild guess and say that these unfortunate innocent civilians were worshiping at the time that they were massacred.
Not Ailes. He took issue with the AP‘s choice of the word “worshipers” saying, “How do we know they were worshiping? I think the AP is so far over the hill, they’ve become left wing, antiwar. Gotta watch their copy.”
Aaaand we’re back. Just when you thought there might have been a glimmer of hope for Alan Colmes, it’s not to be.
But the Kurtz unveiling went even further, revealing how Ailes has a hand in the development each series and in particular
‘Are our producers on board on this ‘Regulation Nation’ stuff? Are they ginned up and ready to go?’ Ailes, who claims to be ‘hands off’ in developing the series, later boasts that ‘no other network will cover that subject … I think regulations are totally out of control,’ he adds, with bureaucrats hiring Ph.D.s to ‘sit in the basement and draw up regulations to try to ruin your life.’ It is a message his troops cannot miss.
Kurtz also delves into how it is that Ailes communicates his message of “Don’t stray too far from the Conservabago or we’re gonna turn this bus around and go home!”
Ailes keeps a wary eye on anchor Shepard Smith, who occasionally backs aspects of the Obama record: “Every once in a while Shep Smith gets out there where the buses don’t run and we have a friendly talk.” And Ailes likes to tease O’Reilly: “You gonna suck up to Obama so you can get another interview at the next football game?”
Aside from the freakish undertone of unrefusable, mafioso-style, horse-head offers, it seems it’s really business as usual at Fox News. Come to think of it, even with the offers, it seems like it’s still business as usual at Fox News. Sure, Glenn Beck is gone. But who the heck knows what’s happening with Sarah Palin. And, to be sure, there are plenty of people already at the network ready to take their place.