Opinion

Rolling Stone slimes Fox

I know this is like noting that the pope was seen praying, but Rolling Stone magazine just trashed Fox News and its chairman, Roger Ailes. Still, the piece, “The Fox News fear factory,” which was written by Tim Dickinson, is worth examining, if only for what it reveals about its author. It is a textbook example of projection — the phenomenon of a disturbed patient accusing someone of all the things that the patient himself is guilty of.

Reading Dickerson’s piece reminded me of G.K. Chesterton’s observation that “the maniac is not the man who has lost his reason — it is the man who has lost everything except his reason.” Many of the folks in asylums actually have very precise, circular, and reasonable — to them — ideas of how the universe works. Of course they are the reincarnation of the Marquis de Sade, and the CIA is piping messages into their cerebrum through the microwave. It’s what makes everything make sense.

And to the left, Fox News is an all-encompassing toxic cloud over America, a chimera that will destroy the nation, a Grendel. This belief is in fact a religious faith more than anything else. This explains how Tim Dickinson can write such a sloppy piece in Rolling Stone, and how he can be praised for it. Nobody on the left is going to criticize one of their own for attacking the devil.

Dickinson is reciting liberal catechism, not hunting for facts. In the entire 10,000 words, he doesn’t quote a single supporter of Fox News. He claims that Fox leader Roger Ailes “is deeply paranoid,” citing as evidence the fact that Ailes has a security detail and carries a gun. According to Dickinson’s logic, Fox under Ailes is a propaganda machine that stirs fear of Muslims and bangs the drums for war, yet Ailes is paranoid for thinking that Al Qaeda may target him. Then there is this passage:

To watch even a day of Fox News — the anger, the bombast, the virulent paranoid streak, the unending appeals to white resentment, the reporting that’s held to the same standard of evidence as a late October attack ad — is to see a refraction of its founder, one of the most skilled and fearsome operatives in the history of the Republican Party.

I’m sorry, but it is simply not possible to take seriously the “journalist” who wrote that sentence. If you’re going to accuse a network of being angry, bombastic, virulently paranoid and racist, you need to cite some hard examples. For instance, if I was to claim that suspended MSNBC host Ed Schultz is a misogynist and a fat angry bastard, I would offer a few examples: his calling conservative Laura Ingraham a slut, his jowly face, his hysterical meltdowns when taking about conservatives. If I was to call NBC’s Michael Isikoff a shrimp, it would be based on the fact that I am only 5’ 7” and I once stood next to Isikoff and looked down on him. In short, Dickinson needs to define paranoia, racism and white resentment, and give hard examples of exactly when this happened. He needs to give us some facts.

Instead, Dickinson offers a bio of Ailes garnished with the usual liberal paranoia. He accuses Ailes of “blurring the line between journalism and politics,” and astonishingly has nothing to say about how liberals do the same thing — has Dickinson never heard of George Stephanopoulos? Jay Carney and the platoon of journalists who now work for Obama? MSNBC? NBC? Dickinson brings up Willie Horton, never acknowledging that Horton was first the creation of Al Gore. He claims that in the 1984 campaign Ronald Reagan “ditched the facts” — about everything. Dickinson claims that in 1988 Roger Ailes “rigged an interview [with vice president George H.W. Bush] about the [Iran Contra] scandal by insisting on an odd caveat: that the interview be conducted live.”

Insisting on doing an interview live? Why, that’s right out of the Goebbels playbook.