Roger Ailes Jokes About Obama as Terrorist
by Matt Stoller, Fri Mar 09, 2007 at 07:24:08 AM EST
This is a rather extraordinary speech that Roger Ailes gave last night. He's clearly very frustrated with the organizing against Fox News. But let's start out with his jokes.
A man in France was arrested today for using his car to run down a pedestrian. He said he thought it was Osama bin Laden. Ok, it was a mistake, but it still ranks as France's biggest military victory ever....
It is true that I said Britney Spears looked great at the Academy Awards. and I later found out it was Jack Nicholson.
It is true that just in the last two weeks Hillary Clinton has had over 200 phone calls telling her in order to win the presidency she must stay on the road for the next two years. It is not true they were all from Bill.
And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, 'Why can't we catch this guy?'
Bill Clinton cheats on his wife, France is weak, and Obama is a terrorist. Ha ha ha. Ailes is clearly upset that his brand is being ruined and Democrats are catching on.
I feel compelled, however -- on a serious note -- to say a few words. We're headed into covering a tough political season and all of us will be called upon to do our best and be fair. Recently pressure groups are forcing candidates to conclude that the best strategy for journalists is divide and conquer, to only appear on those networks and venues that give them favorable coverage.
There's a long tradition of news organizations, national and local, sometimes together, sponsoring presidential and other candidate debates. The organizations and the panelists have been the objects of a lot of advice and even pressure as to how these debates should be conducted and what questions should be asked. This pressure has been successfully resisted, but it's being tried again this year with the added wrinkle that candidates are being asked to boycott debates because certain groups wants to approve the sponsoring organizations. This pressure must be resisted as it has been in the past. Any candidate for high office of either party who believes he can blacklist any news organization is making a terrible mistake about journalists. And any candidate of either party who cannot answer direct, simple, even tough questions from any journalist runs a real risk of losing the voters.
As the Hotline writes:
John Edwards is skipping a debate -- one of more than a dozen -- arguably a little less fundamental to our deliberate democracy. And the threat here is that Fox News will somehow treat Edwards differently if he refuses to appear at their debate. Doesn't that reinforce the reasons why Edwards (spurred by Nevada grassroots Dems, MoveOn and Kos) is dubious?
I hope Barack Obama and Senator Clinton drop out of the Nevada debate. I mean, if the head of a news network is openly making jokes about a candidate being a terrorist or bringing up catty and frivolously painful gossip meant to damage the last successful Democratic President and his wife, and then obliquely threatens a candidate who refuses to show at that same debate, that it's not in fact a news network.