That's Not Right Wing Bias, That's 'Fair & Balanced'!

Alessandra Stanley writes in today's New York Times: "The revelation that Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, the self-proclaimed fair and balanced news channel, secretly gave advice to the White House after the Sept. 11 attacks was less shocking than it was liberating -- a little like the moment in 1985 when an ailing Rock Hudson finally explained that he had AIDS. Ever since Mr. Ailes changed jobs from Republican strategist to news executive, he has demanded to be treated as an unbiased journalist, not a conservative spokesman. But the cable channel he controls has an undisguised ideological agenda, which has made his protestations a bit puzzling. All along, the Fox motto 'fair and balanced' was less a newsroom mantra than the kind of first-strike media strategy that worked so well for the Republican Party when Mr. Ailes was advising the first Bush administration. ... By tirelessly insisting that all other cable or network news organizations are driven by a liberal bias, Mr. Ailes casts his own network as the centrist voice of reason. ... Mr. Ailes is so allergic to the label of former Republican strategist that he once urged a reporter for The New York Times who was seeking his views to exclude any mention of his work for Ronald Reagan or George Bush because it was 'irrelevant.' " PR Watch has reported how Roger Ailes, on behalf of Monsanto, censored Fox TV journalists Jane Akre and Steve Wilson for attempting to report on Monsanto's genetically engineered milk hormone BGH. Although Jane Akre won a jury verdict against Fox, the network has appealed.