I am listening to Mississippi writer Greg Iles’ “The Footprints of God” in which (spoiler warning) a dying billionaire is attempting to achieve immortality and God-like power by transferring his brain to a supercomputer. (A little closer to possible than in the days of "Open the pod bay door, Hal.")
In this book, Iles explains “The Mushroom Treatment:” “Keep them in the dark and feed them bullshit.”
Forget any perceived resemblance to Rupert Murdoch, Iles’ “Mushroom Treatment” has for too long been the goal of Fox News Channel. Given the cable news (I use the term loosely) network’s ratings and undeniable influence on its viewers (aka "fans"), the following is really good news from CEO Roger Ailes:
Roger Ailes: Fox News Is On A 'Course Correction' Away From Far Right
The Huffington Post/Jack Mirkinson (LINK)
September 26, 2011
Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has given one of his typically candid interviews to Newsweek. The interview was published Monday (9/26/11).
For a man who first made his name as a media guru for Richard Nixon, Ailes is often surprisingly forthcoming about Fox News and his opinions. In previous interviews, he has called NPR executives "Nazis" (he later apologized), said he didn't mind if people thought Glenn Beck was fired from the channel, and admitted that he wants both Bill and Hillary Clinton to join Fox News.
Behind the scenes, Ailes is reported to have clashed with Sarah Palin and told Beck to cool his more controversial rhetoric.
Monday's interview offered up more of Ailes' unvarnished opinions about his network and his employees. He made a big admission to Newsweek, saying that he has made a "course correction" at Fox News, veering it away from the hard-right line it took in the earlier days of the Obama administration. (Ailes offered a preview of this strategy in January, when he told Russell Simmons that he had ordered his anchors and pundits to "tone it down" in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.) Beck's departure, as well as a more nuanced approach to his most famous pundit, Sarah Palin, have been part of that strategy, Ailes said.
He also spoke openly about many of his anchors, saying that Bill O'Reilly "hates" Sean Hannity because he's jealous of his radio success (and thus confirming years of rumors about the animosity between the two).
Ailes also called Hannity "predictable" and said that he sometimes has to have a word with Shepard Smith when Smith says things that may not go over well with the Fox News crowd. (He didn't say whether he was referring to Smith's seemingly pro-union comments about the Wisconsin protests, or his saying that the killing of Osama bin Laden was illegal and that American foreign policy is on a dangerous path.)
BJ NOTE: The full Newsweek article is fascinating. Ailes discusses his relationships with GOP presidential hopefuls, including Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. Good stuff! Read it HERE.
Thanks to frequent DemWit reader "Tiny" for keeping me on my toes and not letting this one get by me.