Our Common Good

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.

Roger Ailes Offered Bush Administration “Off the Record Help” in Private Note


Fat asshole and Fox News president Roger Ailes just re-upped to run his network through the 2016 election, and he continues to maintain the grotesque fiction that he operates an independent news outlet and not a vital constituency in the Republican coalition. In case there was any doubt left, though—there isn’t, really—here’s a handwritten note he sent to George W. Bush’s secretary of state in 2005 offering “help off the record” any time.

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In a guest lecture at Ohio University Monday night, Fox News head Roger Ailes touched on media bias, the Obama administration’s legitimacy, and whether comedian Jon Stewart would be on air without Fox News.

During the event, titled “FOX News: Past, Present and Future,” Ailes argued that US voters still don’t know anything about Barack Obama — a line commonly repeated by conservative commentators and far-right legislators.

h/t: Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress

The chief executive of a leading Jewish policy organization is condemning Fox News president Roger Ailes for reportedly urging his hosts to push the false claim that Jewish philanthropist George Soros aided the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Alan van Capelle, CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, criticized Ailes following a report today that Ailes had emailed Fox host Bill O’Reilly suggesting he promote the false claim about Soros. Van Cappelle said that those emails indicate “the hate at Fox starts at the top.”


O’Reilly’s producer Tabacoff replied to Ailes with a single word: “ugly.” Ailes responded by asking, “Do you think you guys will use it or should I give it to someone else?”

That someone else was likely Glenn Beck. The following evening during the 5 p.m. hour of his show, Beck promoted a special about Soros. Beck referred to the billionaire philanthropist as a “puppet master" and questioned his Jewish identity. Earlier that day on his radio show, Beck said Soros “saw people into gas chambers.”

Beck’s “special,” which was broadcast a week later, included the information Ailes forwarded to O’Reilly. Beck claimed Soros “had to help the government confiscate the lands of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors.” On his radio show Beck went even further, saying that Soros helped “send the Jews” to “death camps.” His comments were widely condemned by Jewish leaders.

"It’s obvious that Glenn Beck could not have carried on his insane tirades against George Soros without the support of Roger Ailes, so these emails really just confirm what common sense tell us - the hate at Fox News starts at the top," van Capelle told Media Matters in a statement Thursday.

"George Soros lost family members in the Holocaust. As a 13 year old boy he survived because his father arranged for him to be hidden with a non-Jewish family willing to take an enormous risk to do the right thing. Six decades later Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck exploited these circumstances to call Soros a Nazi-collaborator. It’s a characterization that speaks volumes about Ailes and Beck, and says nothing at all about George Soros."


This article is both remarkable and infuriating. It’s remarkable because the facts about the working conditions in an Amazon warehouse really are a reflection of how many modern Corporatists / plutocrats treat their workers — as disposable and easily replaced. Oh, you won’t crawl through aisles to get 1 item every 30 seconds? I’ll bet someone else will…

It’s infuriating because it takes mainstream media’s usual ‘both sides do it’ tone. And, yes, both sides are uncivil to each other and undermine the Other. But for Christ’s sake, the struggle, insults, or incivility is not equal (or equally felt) when the Power is held by the Few, and those who support the Few are practically lobotomized by their twisted idea of a Republican Jesus and by a steady stream of Roger Ailes’ and AM hate radio’s successful brand of propaganda. There is no equivalent propaganda stream for the other side. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are like the 21st century Tokyo Rose for America’s working- and middle-class — that is, IF Tokyo Rose had been able to broadcast on multiple TV and radio stations 24/7. 

Anand Giridharadas | The Fraying of a Nation’s Decency

[…] Thanks to a methodical and haunting piece of journalism in The Morning Call, a newspaper published in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I now know why the boxes reach me so fast and the prices are so low. And what the story revealed about Amazon could be said of the country, too: that on the road to high and glorious things, it somehow let go of decency.

The newspaper interviewed 20 people who worked in an Amazon warehouse in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. They described, and the newspaper verified, temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius, in the warehouse, causing several employees to faint and fall ill and the company to maintain ambulances outside. Employees were hounded to “make rate,” meaning to pick or pack 120, 125, 150 pieces an hour, the rates rising with tenure. Tenure, though, wasn’t long, because the work force was largely temps from an agency. Permanent jobs were a mirage that seldom came. And so workers toiled even when injured to avoid being fired. A woman who left to have breast cancer surgery returned a week later to find that her job had been “terminated.”

The image of one man stuck with me. He was a temp in his 50s, one of the older “pickers” in his group, charged with fishing items out of storage bins and delivering them to the packers who box shipments. He walked at least 13 miles, or 20 kilometers, a day across the warehouse floor, by his estimate.

His assigned rate was 120 items an hour, or one item every 30 seconds. But it was hard to move fast enough between one row and the next, and hard for him to read the titles on certain items in the lowest bins. The man would get on his hands and knees to rummage through the lowest bins, and sometimes found it easier to crawl across the warehouse to the next bin rather than stand and dip again. He estimated plunging onto his hands and knees 250 to 300 times a day. After seven months, he, too, was terminated.


[…] Far beyond official Washington, we would seem to be witnessing a fraying of the bonds of empathy, decency, common purpose. It is becoming a country in which people more than disagree. They fail to see each other. They think in types about others, and assume the worst of types not their own.

It takes some effort these days to remember that the United States is still one nation.

It doesn’t feel like one nation when a company like Amazon, with such resources to its name, treats vulnerable people so badly just because it can. Or when members of a presidential debate audience cheer for a hypothetical 30-year-old man to die because he lacks health insurance. Or when schoolteachers in Chicago cling to their union perks and resist an effort to lengthen the hours of instruction for children that the system is failing. Or when an activist publicly labels the U.S. military, recently made safe for open homosexuals, a “San Francisco military.” Or when most of the television pundits go on with prefabricated scripts to eviscerate their rivals, instead of doing us the honor of actually thinking.

The more I travel, the more I observe that Americans are becoming foreigners to each other. People in Texas speak of people in New York the way certain Sunnis speak of Shiites, and vice versa in New York. Many liberals I know take for granted that anyone conservative is either racist or under-informed. People who run companies like Amazon operate as though it never occurred to them that it could have been them crawling through the aisles. And the people who run labor unions possess little empathy for how difficult and risky and remarkable it is to build something like Amazon.

What is creeping into the culture is simple dehumanization, a failure to imagine the lives others lead. Fellow citizens become caricatures. People retreat into their own safe realms. And decency, that great American virtue, falls away.

Read it all…  (article via: azspot)

This Fox “News” screenshot speaks for itself:

How’d you like to work in an Amazon warehouse if you couldn’t retire until you’re 67?

Roger Ailes, Fox News, Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Dick Armey, Freedom Works, Tom Donohue, Chamber Of Commerce,Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, Pat Robertson, Christian Coalition, Edwin Feulner, Heritage Foundation, Arthur Thompson, John Birch Society, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp, Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, David  Bossie,Citizens United,Tim LaHaye,  Kenneth Cribb, Council for National Policy, James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly, Edwin Feulner, Steven J. Law, American Crossroads, Family Research Council,Family Talk Radio, Eagle Forum, David Keene, American Conservative Union, NRA,Tim Wildmon, American Family Association, David Barton, Wallbuilders, Noble Ellington, American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, Edward Crane, Cato Institute

All of these people and their organizations pose a serious threat to the American people. They target women, senior citizens, minorities, homosexuals, non-Christians, and American workers. So which person or organization is the most dangerous to democracy? The common thread throughout the list is the Koch brothers. They have ties to many of the people and organizations on the list and share many of the same goals. If one were to remove the Koch brothers from the equation an important source of funding and leadership would be eliminated from the conservative sphere. The Koch brothers are by far the biggest threat to American values and institutions. The truly evil thing about this group is that NONE of these monsters are elected by the people. Yet they have more power and influence over our elected officials and system of law and government, than we do.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was sued Monday over his administration’s refusal to release correspondence between the president of Fox News and the governor or his staff after a report that the head of the network tried to persuade the first-term GOP governor to run for president in 2012 last summer.

Fox News President Roger Ailes has denied urging Christie to run for president. But speculation continues over whether Christie would jump into the race, even though he has repeatedly said he will not.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey filed suit Monday on behalf of John Cook, a reporter for Gawker Entertainment LLC, who sought the information under state’s Open Public Records Law.

Jan 10 2008p

Fox News Knocks Down ‘Brain Room’ Claim

Has Roger Ailes been keeping tabs on your phone calls? A disgrunted former Fox News producer claims he has the capability thanks to a secret “brain room” that the network uses for “counterintelligence and black ops.”

Actually, “disgruntled” is an understatement. Dan Cooper, who was fired from the Rupert Murdoch-owned channel shortly after its 1996 launch, has an ax the size of Paul Bunyan’s to grind. And grind it he does in a blog post that Jossip says doubles as a book proposal.

Potentially the most explosive among Cooper’s many lurid claims, assuming anyone believes them, arises from his account of how his agent, Richard Leibner, dropped him as a client. Leibner did so, asserts Cooper, under pressure from Ailes, who had discovered that Cooper was an anonymous source for a New York magazine story about him, written by ex-Republican David Brock.

This seemed pretty far fetched at the time, but a bit less so in light of the News of the World hacking scandal.  Did Cooper ever write his book? 

To get Fox News into 25 million homes, Murdoch paid cable companies as much as $20 a subscriber. “Murdoch’s offer shocked the industry,” writes biographer Neil Chenoweth. “He was prepared to shell out half a billion dollars just to buy a news voice.” Even before it took to the air, Fox News was guaranteed access to a mass audience, bought and paid for. Ailes hailed Murdoch’s “nerve,” adding, “This is capitalism and one of the things that made this country great.”

Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any other form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit—watch—listen. The thinking is done for you.

Roger Ailes in a Gawker exclusive: Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News (via soupsoup)

Wow. Never thought I’d ever agree with Ailes on anything. Anything! But he’s dead-on in this case. Scary thought, too.

(via mommapolitico)


Gawker uncovered an amazing document written by Fox News chief Roger Ailes in 1971 when he served as a  consultant to President Richard Nixon. The plan was buried within  Nixon’s presidential archives and explains how Republicans could  circumvent the “prejudices of network news” and deliver  “pro-administration” stories to television viewers.
(via Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News)
Must read of the day.


Gawker uncovered an amazing document written by Fox News chief Roger Ailes in 1971 when he served as a consultant to President Richard Nixon. The plan was buried within Nixon’s presidential archives and explains how Republicans could circumvent the “prejudices of network news” and deliver “pro-administration” stories to television viewers.

(via Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News)

Must read of the day.

The onetime Nixon operative has created the most profitable propaganda machine in history. Inside America’s Unfair and Imbalanced Network

Here’s an in-depth explanation of the News Corporation relationship map we ran with this week’s cover package. This chart only begins to outline the close ties between the GOP, mega banks, multinational industries such as petroleum and mining, and News Corporation — the media mega-conglomerate that owns Fox News Channel. 

It is somewhat ironic that Fox strives for
an image of a network that appeals to “real
Americans” who are more interested in family values and patriotism than the ideas of elitist intellectuals, when its parent company is governed by an array of super-rich investors, high-level political operatives, and shrewd businessmen who are bent on advancing an economic agenda that’s crippling the American middle class.