"When Mr. Ricks ignored the anchor's question, it became clear that his goal was to bring attention to himself -- and his book. He apologized in our offices afterward but doesn't have the strength of character to do that publicly."
-- Fox News Executive Vice President Michael Clemente on the network's decision to abruptly end an interview yesterday with Pulitzer Prize-winning defense reporter and author Thomas Ricks
I've got to give it to whoever in the media relations department wrote this response and handed it off to Clemente: Never before has the entire Fox News philosophy been so flawlessly distilled down to two short sentences.
First of all, there's the snide, petty insult directed at the source of a perceived attack. People like David Carr of the Times and I have practically made a cottage industry out of documenting the myriad ways that Fox News has brought the knives out publicly against anyone who dares to challenge it.
Then, of course, there's the real headline here: the fact that Clemente may very well be lying. Ricks is already responding to this comment and he says he offered no such apology to anyone, nor would he. Given Fox's long, impressive history of making things up out of whole cloth, I'm inclined to believe Ricks over an FNC news executive who doubles as a passive-aggressive part-time PR flack.
But it doesn't matter in the end because Clemente doesn't expect anyone outside the conservative media bubble to believe him. He's doing minor damage control that probably wasn't really necessary anyway, given that Fox's audience doesn't care about a thing Tom Ricks has to say now that he's proven himself to be the enemy. The minute he crossed the line and dared to say something negative about Fox News is the same minute he lost all credibility with the network's viewers. Nobody not a Fox News regular believes a word coming out of Clemente's mouth. Everybody already a devoted Fox Fan didn't need the reassurance that Ricks isn't to be trusted.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Posted by Chez at 12:08 PM