The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 October 2003

Roger, over and over

Fox News chief Roger Ailes does seem to cover the same ground a lot, but I suspect it's because everyone asks him the same questions every time.

In a piece for Broadcasting & Cable, Ailes is his usual part genial, part pugnacious self:

I've had a broad life experience that doesn't translate into going to the Columbia journalism school. That makes me a lot better journalist than some guys who had to listen to some pathetic professor who has been on the public dole all his life and really doesn't like this country much and hates the government and hates everybody and is angry because he's not making enough money.

Which naturally leads to the question of "objectivity" — does it really exist?

I can be objective about the war and the coverage of the war. But, as a United States citizen, do I want the Taliban to win and subjugate all the women and execute people in stadiums? No, I'm sort of opposed to that. The concept that the journalists are totally objective is crazy. They have friends. They have an education. They've gone to some school where some professor spun their brain out. They've got a view of life. They've got history. They've got parents. They've got people they like and socialize with. They have a view based on their experience. And they bring all that to journalism. Their job is to try to sort through that and get to as much truth as they can get to, which is what we do, every day.

And Ailes describes an encounter with former New York Times editor Howell Raines:

Raines clearly was driving an agenda. I called Howell. I forget the story. It was their Afghanistan coverage. There was some stuff...that wasn't true. We had guys on the ground, and so I called him up and said, "Howell, you're going to get an award for fiction here." He said, "I'm hanging up." I said, "You don't seem to have a sense of humor, Howell." He said, "I don't have one about journalism." So then, later, when Jayson Blair happened, I sent a note and just said, "Maybe it's time to develop a sense of humor about journalism."

Maybe it is. And Roger, if you're reading this: you might want to impress that idea upon Bill O'Reilly.

(Muchas gracias: Debbye Stratigacos.)

Posted at 8:19 AM to Almost Yogurt

Objectivity doesn't exist. Objective Journalism *can* exist. Just because you believe something, doesn't mean you can't ignore it while doing your damn job. Kinda like being on Jury Duty, you can smoke weed, deal weed, believe weed should be legal; but that doesn't mean you can't follow the letter of the law when deciding the legal fate of Joe Unlucky caught with a bag O'doobage.

It's easier to write subjective pieces than to go ahead and do what you're paid for and step back and write. So, they do that.

It's easier for me to be rude when I'm doing *my* job, but I am completely polite while doing it. Why? Because that's my job.

Posted by: Terkish Payne at 9:47 AM on 28 October 2003

I for one don't have a problem so much with "journalism" not being Objective™ -- so long as the "journalists" don't claim to be Objective™ when obviously they are not.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:46 AM on 30 October 2003