Rudy and Fox - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Rudy and Fox
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The New York Times provides us with another case study in sloppy journalism with this absolutely absurd story on Giuliani’s relationship with FoxNews head Roger Ailes. First, the story teaser on the front page of the website reads:

Rudolph W. Giuliani is facing increased scrutiny over his friendship with Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News.

Classic NYT. The self-validating truth. Once this story gets published, Rudy is facing “increased scrutiny.” Largely because prior to this story, he was facing zero scrutiny.

The story then says:

Whether their friendship would ever affect coverage – Fox insists that it has not and will not – it is nonetheless the sort of relationship that other campaigns have noted, though none wanted to speak publicly for fear of offending the station.

So in other words, we can’t find any evidence to support our story, but his opponents made accusations and we couldn’t pass up the oppourtunity to do an anti-Rudy piece. “Fox insists” = “Fox is lying.”

Then the one bit of circumstantial evidence that they offer for this allegedly too cozy relationship is that he’s had more time on FoxNews than any other Republican candidate–a whopping 13 minutes more than Fred Thompson, who hasn’t even announced, and who didn’t get back in the political spotlight until the spring. Yet it must be noted that Thompson first said he was thinking about running for president in March on Fox, was given 20 minutes with Hannity after the Republican debate to announce his imwithfred site, and has repeatedly found a friend in Hannity everytime questions are being raised.

Besides, the NYT singling out that one statistic is completely arbitrary. On MSNBC, Joe Biden has been on more than any other candidate. He’s been on the station even more than Rudy has been on FoxNews. Is that significant?

Then the NYT, of course, quotes the lofty ivy league media watchdog type:

Few, if any, presidents have taken office with a close friend at the helm of a network news division, said Thomas E. Patterson, the Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard, and author of “Out of Order,” a book about the relationship between the news media and politics. But the value of television appearances to politicians, he said, has never been in doubt.

“It gets to be circular,” Mr. Patterson said. “The more coverage you get, the easier it is to stay up in the polls. You stay up in the polls, you get more coverage. It’s a cycle that the second- and third-tier candidates just tear their hair out about.”

That might be a nice theory. Too bad that when you combine all of the broadcast and cable networks, Mike Huckabee has had substantially more air time than Giuliani.

The story does discuss the friendship of Giuliani and Ailes, and how Giuliani intervened on his behalf, when FoxNews was blocked by Time Warner from getting a station in New York. And it offers a tidbit that is sure to cause Rudy yet another headache in the Republican primary:

But aides to both men acknowledge that they have been friends for more than 20 years. After meeting at dinner parties in the 1980s, where they discovered a shared respect for Ronald Reagan, they developed into the kind of friends who lend one another help, trade accolades and attend each other’s weddings.

The only reason why I went through the exercise is that it’s a great example of how the media can create a story by linking together a lot of random facts and filling in the blanks with speculation to create the impression that they’ve actually uncovered something.

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