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This Just In, From The Guy Next Door

Roger's Rockets

Much of the debate on C-SPAN is rather decorous, but not when Roger Ailes is the guest on a new Sunday night program.

The Fox News chairman appears this Sunday on "Q & A," an interview show hosted by C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb and others to replace Lamb's long-running "Booknotes." And the sharp-tongued Ailes isn't exactly restrained in the taped interview about taking shots at his rivals.


Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes makes some harsh assessments of rival news operations on next Sunday's edition of "Q & A." (Susan Biddle -- The Washington Post)

_____More Media Notes_____
At NPR, Ombudded With the Troops (The Washington Post, Nov 22, 2004)
The Making of a Non-President (The Washington Post, Nov 15, 2004)
Let the Explaining Begin! (The Washington Post, Nov 8, 2004)
They Don't Declare: The Vote-Callers Who Lost Their Voice (The Washington Post, Nov 4, 2004)
TV News Plays It Safe, Up to a Point (The Washington Post, Nov 3, 2004)
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Media Backtalk (Live Online, Dec 13, 2004)
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Media Backtalk (Live Online, Nov 29, 2004)
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CBS? "We're not retracting stories. We don't have a former attorney general looking into us to try to determine how we screwed it up," Ailes says, referring to the investigation into CBS's use of apparently bogus National Guard documents.

CNN? Ailes rips the overseas network CNN International, "or, as we call it, the anti-American channel." He likens it to the BBC and al-Jazeera in that "you can't find a whole lot good about America." CNN spokesman Matthew Furman says the international network "works hard to provide its global audience with a range of news without any political or national perspective."

ABC? Ailes apparently took offense at a recent Harvard speech in which ABC News President David Westin said Fox News had been "effective" in bringing talk radio and opinion to TV news. "David is in the process of trying to turn himself into Fred Friendly," the late media executive and ethicist, Ailes says. "He's a corporate lawyer who's trying to be a great journalist. But he has got some problems. He's the guy who wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to be a journalist for him." ABC sent the actor to interview President Clinton four years ago for a special on the environment.

Ailes mischaracterized a memo from ABC's political director, Mark Halperin, as arguing that "they didn't have to be fair, they should support Kerry in the debates." Halperin wrote that while President Bush and John Kerry should be called on exaggerations and misstatements, the Bush campaign was engaging in more distortions, and "that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides 'equally' accountable when the facts don't warrant that."

Westin says in a statement: "Apparently I struck a raw nerve with Roger in talking about the important difference between opinion and reporting the truth -- comments that incidentally were not directed at Roger. I do believe there is an important and healthy discussion to be had about fact vs. opinion in journalism today. . . . As for Fred Friendly, don't we all have a long way to go?"

By the way, Ailes, a former Republican operative, tells Lamb that "I quit politics because I hated it . . . I thought it was getting mean-spirited."

Press Gets Snowed

The Washington Post, Nov. 29: "One senior administration official said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow can stay as long as he wants, provided it is not very long."

The New York Times, Dec. 6: "President Bush has decided to replace John W. Snow as treasury secretary and has been looking closely at a number of possible replacements, including the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., Republicans with ties to the White House say."

Dec. 8: Bush asks Snow to stay for his second term. Never mind.

World Exclusive

"Canadian Authorities Arrest U.S. President Bush on War Charges" -- Dec. 1 headline on Google News, which is assembled entirely by computers. As Slate noted, Google's non-humans picked up this stunning news from a clearly labeled online satire.

Howard Kurtz hosts CNN's weekly media program.


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