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Howell Raines Rails Against Fox News

Howell Raines has a piece up in The Washington Post today that is a sad and pathetic attempt to rally the dwindling herd of media dinosaurs he surrounds himself with. Titled "Howell Raines: Why don't honest journalists take on Roger Ailes and Fox News?" Raines laments that Fox News has successfully led the debate against the health care legislation presently being considered in Congress.

One question has tugged at my professional conscience throughout the year-long congressional debate over health-care reform, and it has nothing to do with the public option, portability or medical malpractice. It is this: Why haven't America's old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration -- a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?

Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence as Ailes tears up the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations, from the civil rights revolution to Watergate to the Wall Street scandals. This is not a liberal-versus-conservative issue. It is a matter of Fox turning reality on its head with, among other tactics, its endless repetition of its uber-lie: "The American people do not want health-care reform."

This is an article that requires a thorough fisking which I do not have time to do this morning but a few important points should be noted from that astounding paragraph above. First, it is disingenuous to posit that Fox promotes a message that Americans do not want health care reform. That is a lie that betrays Mr. Raines thorough ignorance of the consistent message offered by many Fox commenters, to wit, that Americans do not want ObamaCare, but they do want health care reform. The difference between ObamaCare and real health care reform has been debated on Fox for over a year.

The claim that Ailes "has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II." is laughable. Ailes has overturned decades of one sided, East Coast elitist liberal opinion by offering different views from both conservatives and liberals. Fox News, O'Reilly and Hannity offer liberal viewpoints front and center in their broadcasts almost every night. This sort of diversity was never found on the alphabet networks during the Reagan and Bush 41 and 43 years, to say nothing of the liberal boosters that dominate the news and opinion pages of the New York Times and Raines' own paper, The Washington Post.

Finally, Raines simply ignores the gross blunders committed by his side that destroyed any remaining trust that existed between old media and the today's news consumers: does he remember Rathergate, Jason Blair and Janet Cook (just to name a few), people on his side that simply made things up? Mr. Raines, welcome to the new world of competition in media. Having grown up in a monopoly world of media dominated by a few giants it must be awfully difficult in this new competitive environment. Get a grip or move on.


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Comments (34)

Raines' definition of "hone... (Below threshold)

Raines' definition of "honest" comes straight out of 1984.

Q: Why don't honest journal... (Below threshold)

Q: Why don't honest journalists take on Roger Ailes and Fox News?
A: Because it's not a good idea to anger your boss.

"Get a grip or move on."... (Below threshold)

"Get a grip or move on."

No, Mr. Raines. Start practicing your profession like a professional instead of a shill for liberal causes. When you and the rest of the Main Stream Media start reporting the news, all the news, as news and not as advocates then you can point out those who have broken faith.

In other words, Remove the beam from your own eyes before you compain about the splinter in someone elses.

Or said another way "Physician Heal Thyself!"

".... a campaign without pr... (Below threshold)

".... a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?"

Again, with the unprecedented....

"campaign without preced... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"campaign without precedent in our modern political history"

I guess the "MSM" campain again pretty much everything President Bush and the Republicans have tried to do in recent years is not part of "modern politial history" as far as Mr. Raines is concerned.

Then again, Fox News allows both sides the issue to be presented fairly so I guess that is unprecedented...

D'oh, I meant:I gu... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

D'oh, I meant:

I guess the "MSM" campain against pretty much everything...

What we see here Raines goi... (Below threshold)

What we see here Raines going over the edge and publishing his temper tantrum.

Some of what he wrote defies belief, such as this:

"For the first time since the yellow journalism of a century ago, the United States has a major news organization devoted to the promotion of one political party."

Someone should call a whambulance for Howell Raines. They're always available with or without Obamacare.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa......n... (Below threshold)

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa......nobody is buying our shit anymore. It's not fair!

Boo freaking hoo! Raines i... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Boo freaking hoo! Raines is just crying because he helped run the NYT into the ground and Fox News hasn't followed his sterling example.

The whole article comes off as the opening salvo of the left to rationalize a re-institution of the fairness doctrine and to federally regulate the news industry by bailout of the multitude of failing lefty news outlets.

The left hates all other viewpoints. They especially hate FoxNews because it gives voice to some of those viewpoints. The left has already started to campaign for federal funding of newspapers. It only makes sense for the federal government to invest in the news media and then protect their investment by ensuring that those news outlets that are currently successful (i.e. FOX, the WSJ, talk radio) be regulated into the same 'reprint the administration's press release' style of journalism that the rest of the MSM subscribe to.

Ailes has overturn... (Below threshold)
Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II.

He appears to be saying that the media has been promoting the leftist agenda since World War II. I thought that it was not the entire media that was leftist and that there were honest news people still around after the war.

The man is a clown.... (Below threshold)

The man is a clown.

and little stevie green is ... (Below threshold)

and little stevie green is a clown too.

An individual who does not ... (Below threshold)

An individual who does not accept the documentation of the genocidal extermination of six million Jews by the Third Reich is a denier.
An individual who does not accept the documentation of the gross fraud perpetrated in the Global Warming Hoax is a denier.
So I guess we need a new category of denier: one who does not accept the documented bias and blatant propaganda which constitutes the "news" presented by Mr Ailes and his fellow travelers.
When I was a child 55 years ago, news was on the front page and editorials were on the editorial page. Now the MSM has no news; they present editorial opinion as news and get huffy when we disagree. Petulant, childish, bankrupt.
Fox has the viewers.

I was wondering where Stevi... (Below threshold)

I was wondering where Stevie was hiding. Looks like he crawled out from under his rock to spout some more idiocy.

Anti-gay Republicans cruising gay bars while drunk is just this week's example. The list is endless - and it's a never-ending joke among mainstream America. "Conservative values" means lying while doing the opposite.

C'mon Stevie tell us who has been cruising the gay bars lately. It surely hasn't been the Republicans. Nope it has been the Dems and one of their high ranking members got caught with his hands down another man's pants. Of course, the Howell Raines of the world have silent on this case. It was not until the Queen Bee, herself, told the lackeys at her beck and call, to air this story that it hit the front pages of the Slimes and the Compost.

Then there was the Rathergate lie. You know that one. The one where CBS tried foist off a fake TANG memo about W. That one backfired big time, and left the MSM with egg all over their collective faces. This proves that your butt buds are a bunch of losers and can't stand the thought that there are people out there that know when to shut up. Which in your case, you need a muzzle to keep you quiet.

Steve G is apparently under... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Steve G is apparently under the impression that Massa must be a Republican because in his world view only Republicans ever get caught in scandals.

Sorry Steve. It seems that Massa has made a multi-decade career of sexually assaulting people and the dems have helped him keep it covered up until now.

Don't be too hard on Stevie... (Below threshold)

Don't be too hard on Stevie. It's hard to think when your brain gets no oxygen while lodged firmly up your ass.

actually, Stevie, it WAS wi... (Below threshold)

actually, Stevie, it WAS widely reported out here. But since he is a STATE versus UNITED States Senator, and since he didn't use him position to intimidate and harass his staff (ala Massa) it is a different story, eh?

Are there hypocrits in both Parties...yup. In this case are Massa's and Ashburn's actions and the REactions of their Party in the same ballpark? No.

When the liba have NBC, CBS... (Below threshold)

When the liba have NBC, CBS, ABC,MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, Hollywood, NPR, most of pop music why are they so traumatized by Fox?

I smell a wee bit of intolerance here. They're just jealous that all the hot babes work at Fox, is my hunch.

little stevie is just so sa... (Below threshold)

little stevie is just so sad...amazing he functions at all with no brain power.

Don't be too hard on little... (Below threshold)

Don't be too hard on little snot-nose Stevie folks, he has reason to be angry.

His watched as his hope and change become fear and worry.

His Rev. Jim Jones party is now passing out the cups.

His beacons of left wing propaganda are soon to go dark.

If it seems little snot-nose Stevie has had a bad year wait until his head explodes next November.

What is a Howell Raines, an... (Below threshold)

What is a Howell Raines, and why would anyone care what it thinks anyway?

Fox News has a politic... (Below threshold)

Fox News has a political agenda that is unmistakable, and the conservatives defense of Fox News at the same time they rail against the supposed bias of the MSM just illustrates the hypocrisy of the right that is the benchmark of the social conservative movement.

Yes it's terrible Steve that Fox tells the conservative side (according to you "propaganda and political agenda")instead of only the liberal side.

I suppose you will try to say that CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC DO NOT have a "political agenda"?

I really have to laugh at the liberals who cannot tolerate both sides of the issues.

And even IF they did only tell the conservative side, what is that to you? They are entitled to that and we are entitled to be able to hear it....just as you are the liberal point of view.

Oh and I'm sure that everyone noticed that Steve Green cannot debate on the merits of the topic...you know, facts. The first thing he did was throw accusations and bring up "scandals".

"A State Senator has bee... (Below threshold)

"A State Senator has been arrested. He's accused of driving drunk in a state-issued vehicle. And tonight, sources are telling CBS13 that this Senator, Roy Ashburn, a father of four, a Republican from Southern California with a history of opposing gay rights, was actually seen at a gay nightclub, called Faces, in Sacramento before he was arrested."

He was seen at a gay nightclub!(holy hearsay Batman!)
If he was seen at a nightclub, maybe because he was drinking so much he had to use the toilet facilities or maybe he needed to talk to someone there?

But let's stipulate that Ashburn might be a homosexual for the sake of argument.
Conservative homosexuals, and there are many, think that there are already enough laws protecting everyone, including homosexuals, and that homosexuals shouldn't be entitled to special rights just because of their proclivities.
(I know this is difficult for Leftists to comprehend that everyone should actually be treated equally)

Fox news presents both sides of issues.
To Leftists, fairly presenting the conservative side at all is considered bias.

Maybe Leftists are confused about what the "bi"(two) in bias means and define it as presenting both sides like Fox does.

Want to know what's really ... (Below threshold)

Want to know what's really funny about Steve Green's comments here? Even though he has a whole organization feeding him talking points he still can't convince anyone here he knows what he is talking about. His talking points almost always boil down to "Oh yeah, look over there!"

Steve Green never actually defends his side. In this instance, a defense would involve finding a bunch of examples where Fox News reported only the conservative viewpoint. That would be evidence that Howell Raines is correct in his thesis. I guess if that was easy Raines would have done it though. On the other hand I bet anyone who looks can find a bunch of examples where the Washington Post presented only the liberal viewpoint.

And in the process, admi... (Below threshold)

And in the process, admitted that he's a hypocrite.
Your opinion, Steve Green.

I don't see where Ashburn has admitted he is a hypocrite.

Fox news reports on Ashburn's admission of homosexuality on March 08, 2010.


Did you say something about Fox not reporting about State Senator Ashburn at #17?
Fox news looks pretty even handed here wouldn't you say, Steve Green.

Anti-gay Republican(s) cruising gay bars while drunk is just this week's example. The list is endless...
~Steve Green

I'm sure your BS is endless.
As I said earlier, conservative homosexuals don't think homosexuals should be singled out as a group for special rights.
That doesn't make them "anti-gay", that makes them consistent with the principle of equality.
Learn the difference, Steve Green.

Someone who you think is a member of a group, who doesn't think of themselves as a member of that group, isn't a member of that group as you would like define it.

Just as all heterosexuals don't share the same politics, not all homosexuals do either.

You're probably a homosexual who views the entire world through the lens of his sexual fixation.
Not all do.

And it should be noted that one man, Ashburn, doesn't rate a plural on Republicans.
Ashburn is a Republican, not anti-gay Republicans.

exaggeration/embellishment = lying

The bottom line is that if ... (Below threshold)

The bottom line is that if ppl didn't feel there was a bias in the old media towards a more liberal viewpoint then there would be no market for Fox. Unfort., for Steve G and the other die hard Facists, Fox is the most widely watched news network and their line-up routinely trounces all the other news organizations. This has caused many problems controlling the masses and having one viewpoint shape public opinion, this of course leads to the ole Liberal/Facist fall back of, "It's all about the Hate"

Of course, to be fair, far right wingers use the same basis when arguing for the merits of war or protectionism when they state to anyone who doesn't agree with em, "You just hate America" It's the refuge of the ignorant and Steve G is just one, of a long list, of unintelligent ideologues who use this point.

A great rebuttal to an outr... (Below threshold)

A great rebuttal to an outrageous article by Raines...obviously the left has been stung and the sting is being hurt..imagine Roger Ailes having the foresight and nerve to put Fox news on the air with its format...pure luck or is it the work of a genius...I prefer the latter..Raines must be howling (pun intended) by now after reading the negative comments about his piece of garbage.

li'l hypocrite stevie green... (Below threshold)

li'l hypocrite stevie green "the world is full of gay republican hypocrites."

How many, exactly?

And how do you know?

Kind of like how you "know the glaciers are melting"?

Oh, and is this an example of li'l stevie straying "off topic" and being "abusive"??!!

Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Just what he accuses me of while requesting I be banned.

Poor, poor, addled li'l stevie!!!

BTW li'l stevie, what would you call an entire democratic caucus that gave a standing ovation just a few years back to an admitted bugger-er of underage boys while in Europe?

What's that?

You didn't KNOW about that?

How can that be?

After all, you pay attention to the lame-stream media so you certainly get "all the news that's fit to print", don't you?

How about a senior democratic senator who, when not being a tireless advocate for alternative energy (and driving "the help" off of a bridge during a drunken soiree) turns around and opposes a wind-farm off his palatial cape cod estate?

What would you call such people li'l stevie?

Would the word "hypocrite" come to mind (assuming you have one.....)?

I don't expect Ailes to be ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I don't expect Ailes to be a genius, but I anticipate that he followed his gut and whatever journalistic instinct that was in him pointed him in the right direction.

It doesn't necessarily take a genius to look at the rest of the industry foundering and decide to take a different course. It just took someone brave enough to do something different.

Jim: "It doesn't necessaril... (Below threshold)

Jim: "It doesn't necessarily take a genius to look at the rest of the industry foundering and decide to take a different course. It just took someone brave enough to do something different."

I don't believe I agree with you on this point Jim.

I don't think the leaders of the lame-stream media were even capable of recognizing that anything was wrong, much less an opportunity for them.

Even today, after all that has happened in the last 10 years since algore's interwebs have changed the face of information distribution, the legions of the left running the dinosaur institutions still don't get it.

I would agree with you on the idea that (with nothing behind it save my interpretation of the MSM's recent history) even if one of this sad bunch had recognized the opportunity that they would have been "brave" enough to pursue it. They clearly have no ability to move beyond the herd mentality of the upper west side of manhatten.

you have got to be kidding ... (Below threshold)
gail blauvelt:

you have got to be kidding me. This is the pot calling the kettle black. The main stream media is so liberal biased, and Howell is picking on fox, give me a break. Regarding health care the plan is a disaster with both democrats and republicans ojecting.

Say, who was in charge at N... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Say, who was in charge at NYT during the Jason Blair years, anyway? Who was considered responsible for his advancing through the ranks despite warnings from nearly every editor he worked directly under?

And who had to resign after Blair's plagiarism and outright fabrications were exposed?

Yup, Howell Raines. The man who took the NYT, which under Abe Rosenthal had established itself as the definitive source on its news pages and the "paper of record" for the United States and probably the world, and with the enthusiastic cheering from Pinch Sulzberger, shredded its reputation in a few short years, resulting in the pathetic partisan rag they put out today.

Howell Raines is a disgrace, and anyone who pays him the slightest attention is an idiot.

Howell Raine has a "profess... (Below threshold)

Howell Raine has a "professional conscience"?

SStevie g continually posts valid and substantiated political points of view.


Why is it so hard for conse... (Below threshold)

Why is it so hard for conservatives to admit that Fox News on cable is a PROPOGANDA ARM of the right wing of the Republican party???

It's OK with me.

What's not OK is this absurd pretense that their coverage is fair and balanced.

Fox (and Rupert Murdoch) have a right wing agenda that they want to advance.

Conservatives! Have some integrity and ADMIT IT (instead of counter-attacking the left).

Fox is heavily popular with conservatives not because it is "fair and balanced", but because it is heavily tilted to the right.

So what???

They have that right. But be honest about it.







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