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Sunday 27 February 2011

What May Yet Ail Ailes

Coming out of the USA over the weekend has been the news that an indictment may be imminent against Roger Ailes, the head man at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). The case stems from an allegation by Judith Regan, fired by Murdoch subsidiary Harper Collins in 2006, that Ailes pressured her to mislead investigators over an affair she had had with Bernie Kerik, formerly commissioner of the NYPD.

First to the story, last Thursday, was the New York Times, not exactly Rupe’s best media pal right now: the NYT has also been looking across the North Atlantic of late, investigating Phonehackgate. And the NYT also revealed that Ms Regan had taped the phone conversation between her and Ailes, during which the Fox head man supposedly suggested she tell the Feds a porkie in order to protect the nascent Presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani.

Given that, even if there is no attempt to prosecute Ailes, the tape of this conversation could prove highly embarrassing to Fox and the wider Murdoch empire – especially with Phonehackgate coming to the boil in the UK – the rest of the media Stateside has wasted no time in picking up the news.

The HuffPo has reported the story, as has the WaPo, and not to be left out, the folks at MSNBC have also run it – unsurprisingly, given that many of their hosts take great pleasure in putting the boot into Fox at every opportunity (and vice versa). It’s a hot topic right now, especially with Fox expected to robustly support whoever is the GOP Presidential nominee for 2012 while bashing Barack Obama.

Except that one news source is keeping uncharacteristically quiet about the whole affair. Who might that be? No prizes for guessing that the source is Fox itself. And there can be no excuses: as the copyright line at the foot of the MSNBC report confirms, the story came off the PA wire, so it’s not as if Fox didn’t see it.

Perhaps this is the Fox way of being fair and balanced. Or maybe not.

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