Right Between the Eyes

Nice counterpunch by Jonathan Alter over at The Huffington Post.  The situation, till now, was that Alter wrote a satirical column on Watergate, imagining how it'd run if it happened today.  In it, he explained that the forces demanding disclosure knew they were in trouble when Ailes banned the word "Watergate" from his channel, instead terming the controversy "assault on the presidency".  Alter, of course, has Fox perfectly pegged.  Ailes knows it, so he began spreading rumors that Alter's just a disgruntled wannabe who asked for a job at Fox and was turned down.  That, of course, never happened.  Alter turned down the job when Ailes made it clear he'd be a token liberal, not a respected commentator.  But watch Alter turn the smear around:

Speaking of disclosure, I don't recall Ailes disclosing that he worked for Nixon, Reagan and other GOP candidates when he writes an op-ed piece or goes on TV. He somehow never gets around to mentioning that while President of Fox News, he wrote a letter to President Bush offering his advice on how to handle 9/11.

There's a lesson here. Ailes is a very talented TV producer who has brought his bare knuckles political skills to the media world. When he's attacked, he hits back harder, whatever the facts. His m.o. is distraction. He hides behind his munchkins and assumes his anonymously-sourced counterattack will just fuzz up the issue and make people focus on something other than the fraudulence of his claim to being "fair and balanced." He assumes his adversaries are patsies who will be easily intimidated into silence.

Perfectly true.  Ailes is a thug, a dirty tricks operative with no business helming a news station, and the more mainstream writers who point that out, the better.  Let's see if Alter ever puts this in his Newsweek column, rather than just at Arianna's place.

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