Monday, March 12, 2007


What's "Ailin'" The Netroots?

Okay, given whom I work for in my day job (New York Post which, like the Fox New Channel, is part of the News Corp media conglomerate), I shouldn't be weighing in on this at all: The folks at headquarters might not want me making a comment -- and critics of Fox News will undoubtedly accuse me of just shilling for "The Man."

So, with all these caveats out of the way, the reason given Friday for the Democratic presidential candidates pulling out of the August debate co-sponsored by the Fox News Channel really doesn't make sense.

Now, let me be clear here: If the Democrats believe the channel is biased and won't report things said in the debate fairly or it will "set them up" in some way -- fine, it's their choice (though I can't recall a similar situation where Republicans cancelled a debate or event despite how they believe media institutions cover them).

But this is weird:

They said a comment by Ailes during a Thursday night speech to a group of radio and television news directors indicated the network was biased against their party.

"It's true that Barack Obama is on the move," Ailes said, deliberately confusing the Illinois senator's name with that of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. "I don't know if it's true President Bush called [Pakistan President Pervez] Musharraf and said, 'Why can't we catch this guy?'"
Now, to be candid, this isn't the first time I've heard Ailes make a version of this joke. The other times were in what could be considered "friendly" environments -- other executives and colleagues of his whom one would generally think shared his politics.

Which is why my mouth dropped the first time I heard the joke. Obama isn't the target of the joke: George W. Bush -- and his lack of intelligence -- is. The only way the joke is funny is with the understanding of the president being so dumb that he has to call the president of Pakistan for help in tracking down "Obama."

So, if the Kos and Kompany are using this joke as evidence of Fox bias, that's gotta be some of the thinnest gruel that I've ever seen.

Again, I'm hardly someone to be deemed "un-biased", but I sorta-kinda no how a joke is set up and delivered. Of course, that's gotten me into trouble before.

So it goes.

(Thanks to Fred in the Open Thread comments section for reminding me of this.)

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