Quote of the Day postsWednesday February 12, 2014
Little Don Segretti is Alive and Well and Working at Fox News
Some modern examples of “ratfucking,” Don Segretti's domain during the Nixon administration, as reported in Gabriel Sherman's “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News—and Divided a Country”:
[Fox News VP Brian] Lewis’s staff regularly fed reporters with embarrassing news and gossip about Fox’s competitors. After Andy Lack was quoted in the Times declaring he was “America’s news leader,” a Fox PR person sent an email to reporters that featured the quote and a Photoshopped picture of Lack’s face superimposed onto Napoleon’s body.
After MSNBC anchor Ashleigh Banfield generated positive headlines for her post-9/11 dispatches from Afghanistan and Pakistan—which featured her head wrapped in a shawl and her Clark Kent–style glasses peeking out—Lewis’s deputy, Robert Zimmerman, wanted to embarrass her in The Washington Post. “Take her out,” Brian Lewis told him. Zimmerman called Post reporter Paul Farhi and fed him a tip that foreign correspondents were laughing that Banfield, despite her intrepid image as a foreign correspondent, was scared to leave her hotel.
One morning in late fall 2001, Ailes called Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy and narrated a script for him to read. “Steve, just say that [CNN news anchor] Aaron [Brown]’s your dentist. Then have your co-anchor say, ‘He’s not a dentist. He’s on CNN!’ … No matter what happens, even if they torture you, say he’s your dentist!” Doocy obediently followed Ailes’s stage direction.
“Fighting with Roger Ailes is a full-time job, and I already have one,” [NBC News President Bob] Wright said.
The story gets worse during the Iraq War. The lengths they'll go to push their narrative. The lengths they'll go to end that narrative at Firdos Square.
This is a truly shameful period in American history ... and brought to you by Roger Ailes.
Fox News: We decide. You repeat.
Quote of the Day
“It's just Fox.”
-- Karl Rove urging caution within the Bush camp in the early morning of Nov. 8, 2000, after John Prescott Ellis, chief of Fox News's decision desk, called Florida, and thus the election, for his first cousin, George W. Bush. Several networks followed, then rescinded their projections after it became apparent Florida was closer than expected. The early calls helped give Bush a decided advantage and legitimacy, and Gore a disadvantage and illegitimacy, in the messy month-long aftermath of the election. From Gabriel Sherman's tell-all book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News—and Divided a Country.” It's a good book. Buy it for the Fox News watcher in your life. Probably won't do any good but you never know.
Quote of the Day
“For Ronald Reagan, Taylor was a tool to convince voters that the government was in crisis. For Reagan’s detractors, she personified the candidate’s penchant for willful exaggeration. For Illinois politicians and prosecutors, the war against Linda Taylor and her ilk was a chance to vent some populist outrage and maybe launch a career. A murder in Chicago is mundane. A sumptuously attired woman stealing from John Q. Taxpayer is a menace, the kind of criminal who victimizes absolutely everyone.”
-- Josh Levin, “The Welfare Queen: In the 1970s, Ronald Reagan villainized a Chicago woman for bilking the government. Her other sins—including possible kidnappings and murders—were far worse,” on Slate.
Seriously, read this piece. It's insane. It should be a movie.
I was completely wrong on this story, by the way. I thought Reagan exaggerated things for political reasons but it was the opposite. In effect, he downplayed things for political reasons. He focused on the lesser crime of welfare cheating because it fit his small-government ideology and fostered the politics of resentment that led to his presidency. I'm sure he didn't even know there were other crimes. But it appears there were other crimes.
Seriously, read it.
Quote of the Day
“So was Mr. Cantor being dishonest? Or was he just ignorant of the policy basics and unwilling to actually read the report before trumpeting his misrepresentation of what it said? It doesn’t matter — because even if it was ignorance, it was willful ignorance. Remember, the campaign against health reform has, at every stage, grabbed hold of any and every argument it could find against insuring the uninsured, with truth and logic never entering into the matter.
”Think about it. We had the nonexistent death panels. We had false claims that the Affordable Care Act will cause the deficit to balloon. We had supposed horror stories about ordinary Americans facing huge rate increases, stories that collapsed under scrutiny. And now we have a fairly innocuous technical estimate misrepresented as a tale of massive economic damage.“
-- Paul Krugman in his column, ”Health, Work, Lies," on the overreaction and misrepresentation of Congressional Budget Office numbers regarding the Affordable Care Act. Basically, people will choose to work less since some won't need the job for the insurnace. The CBO, unhelpfully to Mr. Krugman, rounded out the hours lost to two million jobs, which the GOP and some news organizations have jumped on. My amateur question is this: If some choose not to work, doesn't this create job opportunity? For the man who retires because he doesn't need health insurance from his job, doesn't this mean the company will have to hire someone else for that position?
And here's The Daily Show's version of the debacle.
Quote of the Day
Bill O'Reilly: Your detractors believe that you did not tell the world [Benghazi] was a terror attack because your campaign didn't want that out. ... That's what they believe.
Pres. Obama: And they believe it because folks like you are telling them that.
-- from the interview on FOX before yesterday's Super Bowl.
It's worth keeping in mind the following from Gabriel Sherman's “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built FOX News—And Divided a Country”:
For Ailes, Obama’s meteoric ascent onto the national stage was yet another triumph of the counterculture and the liberal news media. “People need to be reminded,” Ailes told Fox News executives around the time Obama declared his candidacy, “this guy never had a job. He’s a community organizer.” A few days after Obama’s historic election, Ailes remarked during his morning editorial meeting, “There’s no reason to have a civil rights movement anymore, since there is a black man in the White House.” Obama’s victory changed the mission of Fox News. “When he started the channel, it was a campaign against CNN. But it is now less about the competition and more about the administration,” a former senior Fox producer said. “He honestly thinks Obama has set back the country forever. He feels like he is the only out there who can save the republic. He has said it."
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard