Just in: Fox News has just taken down the column analyzed below. “John Moody’s column does not reflect the views or values of FOX News and has been removed,” says a Fox News spokesperson.
John Moody didn’t like what he was reading in this Post article: “Trying to make Team USA look more like America.” Written by Rick Maese, the story notes that officials with the U.S. Olympic Committee are “pleased” that this year’s squad in PyeongChang “includes more African Americans and Asian Americans — and even the first two openly gay men — than recent winter squads.”
In an op-ed for FoxNews.com, Moody, who serves as the executive vice president and executive editor for Fox News, took issue with the focus on diversity in a competitive context: “Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger.’ It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to “Darker, Gayer, Different.” If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work,” he wrote. The headline of the piece is “In Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race — not the race of the winner.”
Some synapses apparently failed to connect here. Unless something changed overnight, the USOC continues choosing its teams the way it has in the past. Those who skate the fastest, jump the farthest, perform the best — they’re the ones who end up making the trip. The quite admirable goal of Olympic officials is, apparently, to ensure that those who so qualify come to represent the country’s diversity.
A different interpretation altogether prevails in Moody’s op-ed. “For the current USOC, a dream team should look more like the general population,” writes Moody. “So, while uncomfortable, the question probably needs to be asked: were our Olympians selected because they’re the best at what they do, or because they’re the best publicity for our current obsession with having one each from Column A, B and C?” Well, Mr. Moody: You’re the executive vice president and executive editor for Fox News. If this “uncomfortable” question needs answering, why don’t you deploy some of the nearly $1.5 billion in Fox News profits and send some reporters to investigate?
They’d likely find that there’s competition, as usual, to represent the United States in the Winter Olympics. Sample this video of 18-year-old Maame Biney, the first black female short-track speedskater to make a U.S. Olympic team. In her qualifying race, she blew away her competitors. “Look at this distance!” remarked the commentator as Biney was “ripping up the track, an astounding performance by a [then] 17-year-old, crushing the field and she is going to the Olympic Games!” Biney moved to the Washington area from Ghana when she was 5 years old.
So Biney could likely explain to Moody what it takes to qualify for the Olympics.
As Gabriel Sherman reported in his book “The Loudest Voice in the Room” — a biography of late Fox News chief Roger Ailes — Moody was among those who helped build the Fox News sensibility from the ground up. A “conservative journalist” who had “topped out” as the New York bureau chief at Time magazine, Moody carried forward Ailes’ instructions to “fight” against the prevalence of liberalism in the ranks of the country’s journalists. Sometimes that fight rankled folks, as Sherman documented: In an instructional seminar for new hires, Moody distributed examples of New York Times stories that, in his view, leaned to the left. “Pointing to an article about a book fair in Zimbabwe with a gay and lesbian booth, Moody grumbled, ‘How is this news? Why does anyone care about this?’ ” Adam Sank, a gay producer, told Sherman: “There would be a lot more homophobia that’d come my way later on.”
In 2009, Moody left Fox News to helm NewsCore, which was the wire service of Fox News’s then-parent company, News Corp. He returned in 2012 to his current titles, a portfolio that encompasses the company’s digital assets, including FoxNews.com. Fox News makes a big deal of its divide between news and opinion content, the better to prevent the bile from prime-time bloviators from infecting the network’s correspondents. Though Moody’s columns are transparently labeled “opinion,” he appears to hold a news-side position. A Fox News insider indicates that the column wasn’t properly vetted — a version of events that this blog credits.
Though Moody assumed control of FoxNews.com in 2012, the network in 2017 brought on Noah Kotch as editor-in-chief and vice president of Fox News digital.
Whatever your opinions, this year’s Olympic squad has 10 African-Americans and 10 Asians in a group of 243 athletes. “The rest, by and large, are white,” writes Maese.