Media reporting about other media’s approach to producing media is pretty confusing business to begin with. Feelings, which are always raw for people who make their mistakes in public, will be bruised. But that does not fully explain the scorched earth between Fox News and those who cover it.
Fox News found a huge runway and enormous success by setting aside the conventions of bloodless objectivity, but along the way, it altered the rules of engagement between reporters and the media organizations they cover. Under its chief executive, Roger Ailes, Fox News and its public relations apparatus have waged a permanent campaign on behalf of the channel that borrows its methodology from his days as a senior political adviser to Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
At Fox News, media relations is a kind of rolling opposition research operation intended to keep reporters in line by feeding and sometimes maiming them. Shooting the occasional messenger is baked right into the process.
July 7, 2008
Fair and Balanced?
Spurred by the hubbub over the airing of altered photos of two NYT reporters, David Carr has an interesting column on the difficulty of reporting on Fox News: