Friday, October 23, 2009


I suppose, if the Obama White House is playing its usual long game, then one reason for the war with Fox News is to inspire his enemies to overreach angrily -- more or less what Bill Clinton often managed to do with his enemies, notably with the guy who shut down the government and whined about his seat on Air Force One, Newt Gingrich. Via Politico, this, I guess, is a hint of what Team Obama's hoping for:

Friends and associates are encouraging Fox News chief Roger Ailes to jump into the political arena for real by running for president in 2012, top sources tell POLITICO.

"Ailes knows how to frame an issue better than anybody, and that's what we need now," says one Ailes friend who is encouraging the Fox founder, chairman and CEO to seek the Republican nomination to run against President Barack Obama.

Ailes, 69, has an aggessive, winning personality that made Fox News a huge success -- and a huge target for liberal critics....

I think it's safe to assume that Ailes himself is behind this story. (I imagine him thinking, "If he's going to push me around at my job, I'm gonna take his fuckin' job.") This particular outburst is harmless -- but if the White House is inspiring a big burst of testosterone in Ailes, and in the rest of the Foxsters, maybe they're going to be motivated to do something that's excessive in a non-shrewd way, i.e., in a way that goes over the line even by the degraded standards of decency Fox has so successfully managed to define down. To use a dreaded sports metaphor, Obama may be hoping to draw a flagrant foul. I don't know what would qualify as flagrant in this environment, but the Foxsters may show us soon.

By the way, I love that bit about Ailes's "winning personality." I suppose that's what was on display back in 1992 when he said of the then-Democratic presidential nominee's wife,

"Hillary in an apron is like Michael Dukakis in a tank."


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