Megyn Kelly for president!

January 28, 2016

Dateline January 28, 2016

Megyn Kelly, a former attorney, now Fox News journalist, conducted herself with grace and grit this week. GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, made her the target of his wrath promising he would not participate in the GOP Fox News Debate if she were one of the moderators.  Fox News stuck by her and her performance in tonight’s debate was stellar.  Her questions were provocative, cleverly constructed, persistently delivered and her follow ups were tenacious. She did it all with a smile and a good nature. I have watched every presidential debate since Kennedy and Nixon and served as a shill in practice debates for numerous presidential candidates but I have never seen such a polished and effective performance by a debate moderator as Megyn Kelly tonight.

Megyn Kelly is not the first journalist to become the center of controversy in a presidential race.

George Will had been a favorite of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.  His brilliant analysis and insider information made him a fascinating commentator.  But in 1987 George Will, at the time a pundit on ABC and a columnist for Newsweek, referred to vice president George W. Bush as president Reagan’s “lapdog.” Bush prided himself on his loyalty to Reagan and felt that this was his duty as vice president. Newsweek ran a cover story of George Bush entitled “The Wimp Factor” questioning if the senior Bush would be strong enough to be president.

The bitterness in the Bush family ran deep. In 1988 I accompanied the president’s son, George W. Bush, to Iowa.  On Caucus night we walked into a ballroom where famous pundits, sat on platforms, talking to the nation. No one recognized or acknowledged George W. Bush , who would one day be president himself, but George Will commanded respect, sitting on one of those platforms, pontificating on the results of the Caucus. Young Bush was furious. When we passed under the ABC platform, Bush muttered to me, “Look at George Will sitting up there. Pompous asshole.”

Actually, as president, the father, George H.W. Bush, showed himself to be quite strong, invading Panama to bring Manuel Noriega to justice, invading Iraq to defend the national integrity of Kuwait. Ronald Reagan had called for the Berlin Wall to come down but it happened under president George H.W. Bush.

The Bush family eventually, after a long period of punishment, forgave Newsweek Magazine, they had too. At the time it was too powerful to ignore. But George Will was vulnerable. And they never forgave him.  This was their message to any other journalist who might take them on. For the next eight years Will would be in the deep freeze and the White House would carefully withhold any information that could have helped his career. At the time, I was a senior White House staffer, and the word was out, no one could talk to Mr. Will.

Today, George Will is back, as brilliant and polished and well read as ever. Ironically, he is on television thanks to the Fox News Channel.

It remains to be seen what will happen to Megyn Kelly. If Donald Trump becomes president she may find herself on his blacklist, no White House Christmas party invitations. But if tonight’s debate is any indication, we have only begun to hear from Megyn Kelly. And Donald Trump may have met his match.

I have had the privilege of being interviewed several times by Ms. Kelly.  One of those interviews was characterized by political critics as being harsh or unfair.  One of them ran up 250,000 views. Friends sent me emails asking if I was irritated by the questions. The truth was that the harder her questions the better. I did not resent them. They were expected and fair and exactly the questions that she should have asked. And her nature was pleasant.

Here is that interview, judge for yourself. I see Megyn Kelly as a great journalist and she was on her game tonight justifying her bosses at Fox News.


TIME magazine rebounds

June 9, 2014

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how interesting TIME magazine has become lately?  For the first time in years I find myself buying it off the newsstand at airports even though I subscribe.  The stories are too compelling for me to wait to get home to my own copy.

I confess that I moved to television cable news long ago.  My subscriptions to newspapers and magazines expired.  They were too late with the news, too predictable in their interpretation and just beyond vanilla to the point of bland.  The new TIME has something rare for our age, old fashioned journalism.  It’s coverage of the crisis in Ukraine was actually ahead of television news.  (How can you trust a television reporter who cannot pronounce Sevastopol?)

And there is something new for TIME, raw, beyond-the-stale-boardroom predictable perspectives. I may be wrong about this but as a reader, it appears to me, that after years of trying to cram their version of the world down our throats the gods at TIME have turned their talent loose.


Rand Paul Now Leads Liberty Movement

April 9, 2013

It has only been a little more than a month since Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster on the floor of the U.S. Senate.  But it is looking more and more like a defining moment in American politics.  It may be a defining moment in American history.

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The dramatic sight of Rand Paul standing all alone, in the well of the Senate on March 6, 2013, speaking up for the U.S. Constitution, asking the questions that the media and the power establishment was too busy or too indifferent to ask, is a picture that will be forever burned into the psyche of many Americans.  And the key point here was that he was alone.  The rest of Washington, D.C., the politicians, the television producers, the White House staff, had scattered across town to posh restaurants enjoying their cocktails, regaling each other with tales of the day’s successes and making their deals for tomorrow, smugly content that they had put another day of work behind them.
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That afternoon, Senator Rand Paul had begun what would be a 13 hour filibuster, promising to hold up confirmation of the new Director of the CIA until the president answered this simple question. “Does the president’s newly assumed power to kill a U.S. citizen, without arrest or trial, apply to non combatants here in the United States?”
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It was a reasonable question.  Under president Barack Obama, the U.S. government had begun an unprecedented policy of killing U.S. citizens if they were deemed as terrorists.  Forget Miranda rights, they couldn’t even have a trial.  And this could happen anywhere in the world. The United States did not have to be at war with a country.  They could violate the air space and commit these killings in the Middle East, Asia, even Europe. In 2010, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was killed in a drone missile strike on a desert road in Yemen.  Two weeks later, his son, born in Denver, Colorado, with no ties to terrorism, searching for his father’s body in Yemen, was likewise killed by an American drone strike.  The killing of al-Awlaki was justified because of his rabble rousing sermons which had inspired terrorists.  The son’s killing, was oops, sorry, a mistake.  
The media has been remarkably silent.
In February, when asked about drone missiles now circling key locations here in the United States, the White House was asked if the president had the power to kill U.S. citizens  without trial, on American soil, or was this just something he could do overseas?  The White House assured the amazingly docile American media that the Justice Department had agreed that the president had this power.
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President Barack Obama can be thankful that his predecessor, George W. Bush, did not or Obama, himself, might not be around.  By such reckoning, Barack Obama’s own pastor could have been “droned out” for his tirade, when he famously chanted, “God damn America,” from his pulpit.   And Obama, had he been in the audience for those sermons might have been collateral damage, much like al-Awlaki’s son.
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The country seemed to be lulled into a trance.  This included its once fierce and uncompromising, professional, watchdog media, now held tightly by its corporate leashes, reduced to reading press releases and providing entertainment.  The trance included its corrupt politicians, too busy making money off of insider trading to take time to defend something so esoteric as a Constitutional right.  It included its courts, now as malleable to public opinion and as intimidated by American culture as the politicians.   Even the public was silent, too intellectually lazy to care.  No one could move lest they be stamped racist, liberal, conservative, unpatriotic or some other unpopular sticker.
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So Rand Paul, like the sassy kid in the proverbial story, The Emperor Has No Clothes, asked aloud the question that no one else dared ask.
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The White House sniggered.  The media ignored it. President Barack Obama would not answer.  Nor would anyone else.  Former president George W. Bush was silent on the subject, as was former president Clinton and Democrat Party leader, Al Gore.  Republican leaders, John McCain and House Speaker, John Boehner didn’t peep.  This was apparently a tough question.
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And so, as it appeared to the nation, Rand Paul, all alone, without a single ally to hold his water, took to the Senate Floor in a filibuster, demanding that this simple question be answered.  If he was out of line and the rest of the country knew what they were doing, so be it.
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At first there was not much of a reaction.  In the afternoon, when a member of the White House press corps asked about it, the president’s spokesman openly laughed. While Fox News Channel and MSNBC mentioned the event, mostly the national media ignored it, much as they had Rand Paul’s father, when he raised issues of civil liberties. After three hours, fellow Senator, and Liberty ally, Mike Lee finally made an appearance.  Everybody else, including the president, went out to dinner that night and then home for the evening.  The vast Liberty online community was remarkably calm.
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But as the night wore on and Americans finished their meals and sat at their monitors or picked up their I-Phones to answer some mail, word of the drama unfolding on the floor of the U.S. Senate began to spread.  Some called it a Twitter Blizzard, a mocking reference to the snow storm that was not happening as predicted. First it resonated among the Liberty Movement base.  Rand Paul had launched a filibuster.  He wouldn’t stop talking until the President answered his question.  And then it began to spread across political and partisan lines.  What’s a filibuster?  Why won’t the president answer such a simple question?  What happened to the watchdog media?  How could they let such a question go unanswered?  By 9 pm,normal television viewing was skewed. NBC’s popular Law and Order was losing its audience as people rushed to online streaming or YouTube captured videos of the drama.  C-SPAN viewers spiked.  Cable television began to be dominated by the spectacle.
With the public aroused, the politicians reacted.  A parade of Senators, Republican and Democrat, rushed back to help Rand Paul.  Mike Lee made another appearance, this time with Ted Cruz and likely presidential contender, Marco Rubio.  Mitch McConnell and the GOP leadership fell into line.
They were all a minute too late and a dollar too short.  Senator Rand Paul, all by himself, without any help, had electrified the nation.
The next day, the politically savvy and thorough White House hauled out a canned moment that had been carefully preserved in case the filibuster went wrong.  Attorney General Holder had already answered the question to a Senator before the filibuster began, they now insisted.  But one wonders what they would have done with that canned moment if the public had not reacted.  Thursday morning, as Rand Paul began recovering from his 13 hour filibuster, the president finally answered the question.  And his CIA director was promptly confirmed.
A lot of other things were confirmed as well.
1.) Rand Paul is an unquestioned leader of the Liberty Movement and can inspire it whenever he chooses. Others will have to wait their turn.
2.) He is no political slouch, he is gutsy.
3.) Rand Paul is the first candidate since Ronald Reagan to actually lead a movement.
4.) The old left-right, Cold War paradigm is dead.  Rand Paul represents a new philosophy back to the constitution and it attracts support across the political spectrum from left to right.
5.) The fact that the country is moving in his direction and the packaging of his message is more palatable than that of his father’s, Rand Paul can win the presidency.
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From a purely historical perspective, one wonders how much further we will go in gutting our Constitution and sacrificing our rights to keep us “safe.”  How much bigger will government get?  How many more powers will be seized by the executive branch and how much future legislation will be accomplished by executive fiat?  At what point will it go so far down this road that we cannot find our way back?  And we learn that our form of government has changed before our eyes, without a discussion?
Will Rand Paul’s filibuster be nothing more than an empty moment of theater on our way to a future government run by a single chief executive, serving at the pleasure of fifty television moguls?  Or will it mark the hi water mark of the new, post 9-11, tyranny and the beginning of a self examination that will take us back to a renewal of our hard won Constitutional Republic?  We can only hope and pray for the latter.
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All Eyes on Nebraska

July 14, 2012

All eyes are on Grand Island, Nebraska today.  Will it be a Soviet style fraud?  Or will it be a real convention?  Today’s event will be telling.   It will provide clues on what to expect at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next month.

This is clear, what happens in Nebraska cannot be blamed on the Nebraska governor, or the strong arm privately financed army he has hired to muscle the masses of people into line.  Nor can it be blamed on Mitt Romney’s mean spirited campaign team, the same losers who ran Bob Dole and John McCain’s campaigns, whose motto is “only us.”  No, today’s activities will be a clear reflection of how Mittens himself sees the Ron Paul insurgency.  And how he will handle it in Tampa.

By now, even the most obtuse politico, at the most isolated, rarified level, would have seen the youtubes of people’s bones being broken in his name and of his own privately hired off duty police arresting people.  By now he knows that his captains have confiscated the delegate rolls and run out to parking lots and locked them up in their trunks to make it impossible for roll call votes.  He knows that they have ignored voice votes and brazenly declared “Nays have it,” when they didn’t.  He knows that his people have had to move money out of GOP accounts to keep it out of the hands of the new, duly elected state chairman, who support Ron Paul.

So what happens today in Nebraska is Mitt Romney’s show.  He is responsible.  If it happens orderly and fairly?  Hey wonderful.  We should be very grateful.  Mitt Romney, Obama’s Goldman Sachs twin candidate, has agreed to let the peasants play at democracy for a few hours.

But if Mittens is so frightened, so worried about that piggy bank, the Federal Reserve, that he cannot   allow the Ronluans to have even a handful of their own duly elected delegates in Nebraska, that they must all be personally approved by the candidate, himself, well then we will all know that he will not tolerate a challenge to the “wars without end” nor to the raiding of the poor and middle class.

If there is violence against Ron Paul supporters, as in the past, Romney and his governor can count on the national media – whose holding companies and advertisers are fattened off of the Federal Reserve – to turn look away.  But stay tuned.  The internet is not yet shut down.  The videos will be coming any second now and we will all get to see the truth.


Another media lie about Ron Paul

July 3, 2012

Throughout this presidential election cycle the national media has been the subject of widespread ridicule for systematically ignoring the Ron Paul candidacy.   Well, they have finally found their legs.  They have a story that their corporate executives will let them publish.  Ron Paul, they say, is a hypocrite because he has long proclaimed that he doesn’t believe in the government’s social security program but nonetheless, now, takes a monthly social security check for himself.

The big news was apparently revealed in a recent interview on MSNBC.  It is a hilarious story and shows how the media risks alienating its more observant viewers to play to the general ignorance of the public.  I guess they figure, the cat’s out of the bag, the more savvy now know we are all corporate puppets who say what we are told to say for the privilege of being famous and rich and popular with our cousins back home, so we might as well shamelessly argue the absurd.  Most people are too dumb to notice.

So once again, here I am, a humble an amateur blogger, offering the real story for those who love truth and enjoy these waning moments of liberty where we can still spread it around.  (Enjoy this season while it lasts, the internet is a loop hole that the elitists in this country are trying desperately to plug.)

In the first place, the money Ron Paul put into the social security fund over the years is HIS money.  Just as the money you put into the account is your money.  It does not belong to MSNBC or to the US government.  It is not Obama’s money.  It does not belong to the Social Security Administration.  It belongs to Ron Paul. And your money belongs to you.  That was the whole idea of social security.

Secondly, Ron Paul did not have a choice.  And neither do you.  Unless you are an ordained minister, who makes a one time decision and opts out of the social security program altogether, out of moral conscience, you are forced to pay money into the program all your life.  If you are employed it will be taken out of your paycheck.  The government says it is for your own good. It is not an option.

If, when he was young, Ron Paul had refused to participate in the program and not paid into it, he would have been thrown into jail for tax evasion.

If, now that he is old, he refuses to take his money out of it, he is saying that the money wasn’t really his to begin with and he has no claim on it.

Third, while the original program was passed with the promise that the money would be separated from other government monies, after all, it does not belong to the government, that promise broke down long ago and the government had been spending it on wars and social programs that will help presidents get re-elected.  And thus the Social Security funds have almost been depleted and the program cannot be sustained.  It is one of the great moral failures of the American government.

No president of either political party will face this coming debacle of a bankrupt Social Security system.  They each continue, taking us to the brink, betting that the other party will be in power when the crash happens and will thus be blamed.  It is like a game of musical chairs and when the music stops, whoever is in office at the time will suffer for decades.  In fact, both parties are obviously morally corrupt, as this issues shows that fact in glaring colors, for millions of people will suffer.  Meanwhile, the national media plays its role of dumbing down the public right to the very end.

Now the reasons the media is so shameless in promoting this latest Ron Paul story is because they have been stung by Dr. Paul’s honesty and integrity in the face of rampant corruption.  This corruption is ongoing in government, banking, Wall Street and in the corporate world, including those corporations who own and run the media.

It is not like there are good congressmen and bad congressmen.  Don’t think there are congressmen who take the bribes of lobbyist money and those who don’t.  There is only ONE congressman who refuses to play the game.  Only one congressman who refuses to go on congressional junkets because he knows they are tax payer paid vacations.  Only ONE congressman who rejects the congressional pension plan, refusing  to take a dime because he knows the public can’t get such a break.  Only One congressman who never voted for an unbalanced budget or a pay raise.  And that ONE congressman is Ron Paul.  He has been consistent for 22 years.  But all of the above is  never mentioned by the national media.  It is studiously avoided.  You only hear it when one of us slips through the net and gets on television, and that is usually during the daytime when few are watching.

And it is not just about the corruption.

Ron Paul has been right about the consequences of these policies and how they are leading us to the brink.  Ron Paul called the housing bubble, years before it happened.  He predicted the crisis in Greece.  (With the advent of the internet, the public suddenly has access to a medium with a long memory.  That is why there is a battle raging to shut down the free use of the internet.)

And so, the media is embarrassed.  His honesty and his prescience is a hard thing to stomach and they only hope that it will go unnoticed by the majority.

The corporate world, who lives directly or indirectly off of their little piggy bank, the Federal Reserve, is furious because Ron Paul has pulled back the curtain to show how they maintain monopolies and shut out small business competition.  It is the banks that own them.  The banks tap the FED for interest free loans, into the trillions of dollars, and then pass the money onto the companies who advertise on television, and in some cases directly to the very holding companies who own the networks, themselves.  Nice, huh?

It is why in a nationally televised debate, with Ron Pau running neck and neck with Barack Obama in polls, and running second in the GOP, they limited his speaking time to 89 seconds.

So the media will continue to play up what they will declare is Dr. Paul’s hypocrisy.  He takes his social security check.  He has the nerve to take back a small amount of the money he put in over the years as a promised, government supervised, mandatory retirement.  He dares to take them at their word.  Of course, the money he gets back is diluted by inflation and worth much less than what he put in which is why he wants a better, more honest method of retirement for the next generation.

Meanwhile, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, both of whom have presided over the second worst depression in American history, have doubled their own salaries as president.  Together, on their watch, they have seen the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in American history.  The national media slavishly worships and protects one or the other just as they now promote either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

Who cares?  The number one donor to both men is Goldman Sachs.

So who’s the hypocrite?

And that’s the real story behind Ron Paul and his social security check.


The Great Hudsonville Cover up

February 27, 2012

Ron Paul supporters are used to getting shortchanged. For example, in one debate, Ron Paul was given 89 seconds in one hour, even though he had just finished close in the Iowa Caucuses and had come in second in the New Hampshire primary. In the network’s own polling he was beating all other contenders including Obama with the Independent vote. In another debate, the network gave its moderator as much time to speak as the Presidential candidate. Even though that network’s own recent poll showed Ron Paul tied with Mitt Romney in leading the pack in a head to head contest with Obama.

There are reasons why the pundits and the main stream media exclude him. Ron Paul is taking on the establishment. He is seeking to reform the monetary system, including making the decisions of the Federal Reserve transparent. He wants us all to know how much money they are “printing” and to whom it is given.

Sounds reasonable. The partial audit he obtained for 2008 showed trillions of new dollars being loaned out – interest free – to banks and major corporations. Including corporations who own companies that own companies that own television networks. And including companies that advertise on those networks. And mostly to banks that loan the money that allow those big companies to make their dreams come true.

Whatever happened to “in the interest of full disclosure?” The network talking heads trudge on, never saying a word about the fact that the news they are reporting is impacting their own companies and their own careers.

Of course, there is nothing conspiratorial about most journalists. They follow the herd, running when the herd does and relaxing when the herd stops. God help the poor journalist that strays too far from the pack. Their greatest fear is not to be wrong about a story, but rather, to be different.

The Ron Paul supporters come to him via the internet. That’s why so many are young. They don’t watch television news. They do their own research. Ron Paul doesn’t convert them. The facts do. The just match up the facts to the candidates. Many are even shocked to find that the old man had it right. Some are Democrats and Independents surprised to find themselves agreeing with a Republican. And they are loyal because they have experienced the pride of authorship, the pride of self discovery.

So here is another little story for the Ronulans. Something to add to the collection.

According to the an Associated Press report in the Chicago Tribune and carried worldwide by the Associated Press, “about 40 people lined up to enter the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, where Paul was speaking Sunday afternoon.” The AP claimed the story originated with the Detroit News but I couldn’t find it there.

The Ron Paul people called the AP and asked that they update and correct the story. The Paul people insisted that there were, in fact, over 2,000 people at the event, but they were rebuffed. Adam de Angeli, the Ron Paul Michigan State Director, had no trouble finding pictures.

So now, for your viewing pleasure, here is the corroborating evidence. Pictures of the “40” (sic) Ron Paul supporters who attended the event. Maybe we need some T-shirts that say, “I am one of the Hudsonville 40.” If everybody who went to the event bought one we could be rich.

The AP and the Chicago Tribune implied that there were about 40 Ron Paul supporters at Hudsonville event.

Another view of the 40 people. Ron Paul supporters have learned to find their own facts online.

The AP reports the Detroit News as saying that "about 40 people lined up to enter the Pinnacle Center.

Update: I finally found the Detroit News story quoted by the AP. Here it is.

Detroit News story on Hudsonville

“Hundreds of people lined up for hours to hear the maverick U.S. representative from Texas, and some were turned away. First in line was Erik Varvir, 49, who has been following Paul for 30 years.”


How Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes changed the world

November 22, 2011

“Talent is hitting a target that no one else can hit. Genius is hitting a target that no one else can see.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer

Perhaps no other persons have had a bigger impact on American society and politics in our lifetime than Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. Murdoch is the swashbuckling, Australian turned American, billionaire who is the owner of News Corp and Roger Ailes is the president of its crown jewel, The Fox News Channel. Presidents have come and gone. Economic and foreign policies have risen and fallen but the names of those presidents and the shape of those policies have been forever colored by the Fox News Channel paint brush.

What Murdoch and Ailes did is prove to the arrogant elites, inside the Boston-New York-Washington corridor, that true socio-cultural-intellectual diversity works. And I’m not talking about the synthetic facsimile of diversity peddled by the stuffy, politically correct.

Roger Ailes, the creative mind behind FNC, proved that there is money to be made by listening, as well as talking. He showed that the public is not nearly as ignorant as some media executives imagine. He proved that the sense of outrage and insult at being “rolled” runs very deep. He touched a nerve. People long for “fair and balanced” and they know they aren’t getting it. And if it hasn’t always been manifest at FNC, well, at least the network recognizes the problem and “fair and balanced” is the goal. In the process, Roger Ailes made billions of dollars for Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation and he changed America forever.

The Ailes formula is much more esoteric and complicated than at first appears. While the other networks relied on their monopoly, “you have to watch us, we are your only choice,” Ailes understood that the paradigm was changing with a vengeance, more and more, people had choices. It was now going to be a contest. It would be like electing a president, which meant coalitions pieced together, one by one. It was familiar ground for Ailes. His competitors didn’t stand a chance.

When most people think of Fox News, they think of its famous tilt to the right in the American battle between liberals and conservatives. In hindsight, the economics of such a strategy were obvious. Pew Research Surveys showed liberals out numbering conservatives in the main stream media by a ratio of 4 to 1. While most national polls of the American people consistently showed the ratios as 41% conservative to 21% liberal. Give Fox News a monopoly on the 41% and force her competitors to divide the remaining 21% among themselves and there would be a financial windfall in the making. But it was easier said than done.

The idea of bringing some political balance to the media and monetizing the process had been around for a long time. In 1977, conservative Republican billionaire, Rich DeVos, then on the Forbes list as one of the wealthiest men in the world, bought the Mutual Broadcasting System from Mrs. Benjamin Gilbert, the granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller. It represented a major shift of a prominent media property to someone new, someone outside the circle of the Eastern Elite. But DeVos was unable to use the network to influence events in any meaningful way. In 1985, Senator Jesse Helms led an attempt to buy control of CBS “and end the leftist bias.” He called the network the most “anti-Reagan” of all. The attempt failed and the networks only sought bigger owners and became even more entrenched.

The problem was in execution. And it was here that Roger Ailes succeeded where others had failed. He was a television Branch Rickey, touring the country, watching local television stations and monitoring radio talk shows to find his talent. Month by month, year by year, Ailes kept them coming through his farm club pipeline. When a personality had the looks or the brains but not the on-air experience he would use them sparingly, letting them develop, like sending Roy Campanella back to Montreal for a season to get some confidence.

Perhaps his greatest impact was not overtly political but socio-cultural. While seeking to be exclusively secular, the main stream media had long been perceived by many in the country as blatantly anti-Christian.

At one point the atmosphere at ABC, then commonly referred to as “Anybody But Catholics,” became so tense that their talented network news anchor, Peter Jennings, decided to personally step in and solve it. Jennings hired a Christian reporter, Peggy Wehmeyer to help report for the network and in 2000, Jennings embarked on an intellectual journey “In Search of the Historic Jesus.” But the network was so ignorant of the political-cultural traps of a sub culture it had so long ignored that it easily fell prey to manipulation, stirring up a hornets’ nest among its viewers.

“Poor Peter,” George Smiley’s ex-wife, Ann, would have said, “Life is such a puzzle to you.”

The problem is that the network’s anti Christian bias had been hidden in plain sight for years. 400,000 people in the flesh would watch the Indianapolis 500 Mile race, see Jim Nabors sing “Back Home Again in Indiana,” hear the Catholic Bishop pray over the courageous drivers and Mrs. Hullman announce, “Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines.” But when they got back home to watch it all replayed on ABC television the prayer was always censored out. Even today, if one Goggles the key words, “ABC TV and Christians,” one will read all about the pilot for their new series “Good Christian Bitches.”

After 9-11, CNN ran a much heralded documentary “God’s Warriors” which implied that there was little difference between Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and Christian and Jewish fundamentalists in the United States. Even today, the various networks persist in this version of “religiously-correct.” The idea is to treat the issue of faith, if it must be addressed at all, fairly and equally and to do this right in the middle of the war on terror. This sometimes results in ridiculous news footage from wars in Africa where the viewers are forced to Goggle for information since the journalists won’t reveal the sides, lest it be forced to mention that one is Islamic or Christian. The famous Who, What, When, Where and Why of news is replaced with mysterious scenes and vague reports that show nothing beyond the flashing faces of starving, dying people. The producers will not let their own journalists sputter out what is really going on. News is no longer news, if it ever had been.

Once again, the numbers were a no brainer for Roger Ailes. 76% of the nation considered themselves to be Christian. One half of one percent were Islamic. Give a media outlet an uncontested monopoly on the 76% and force its competitors to divide the remaining .5% among themselves is a winning formula every time.

Meanwhile, if the other networks treaded gently with Islam, never offending or making assumptions about the whole because of the actions of the few, they had no trouble stereotyping the whole Catholic Church when the pedophile scandals erupted. All of the networks piled on. FNC too, reported the story for what it was, but without editorializing against the whole religion. It gave the embattled, dazed, faithful a home. Kaching, another 25% of the nation for Fox. Only two modern presidents have been elected without the Catholic vote. “You don’t want the Catholics?” Ailes will take them, thank you.

Then there were the born again Christians, representing 48% of the American population. Yet many of their writers and public figures virtually banned by the television networks. Twenty-two years ago my agent was told by one of the networks that I couldn’t be used as a historian because of my born again, Christian background. Of course, the network in question couldn’t have actually known what I believe about God and life. I haven’t decided all of that myself. How could they know? Just the accident of my birth, was enough to disqualify me.

The complicated effort of the various network sports departments to scrub Christian activists from unfurling their “John 3:16” banners at football games amounted to a ten year, gargantuan, multimillion dollar – legal effort, involving teams of lawyers, mountains of paperwork, contracts with the stadiums and teams of personnel to pull it off.

Roger Ailes would laugh at such angst. “You want to stake me with a 48% advantage? Okay. You don’t want half of America? I’ll take the born againers too.” Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch bought the hot evangelical Christian publishing house Zondervan.

Nowhere did this battleground become more lopsided than with the battle over Christmas.

My own college roommate became a popular playwright for one of the television networks. He wisely kept his faith a secret. One year he was given the assignment to write a script for a Christmas movie with the strict admonition that he could not mention the name Jesus. It was a corporate taboo.

While other networks banned the words “Merry Christmas” out of respect for the 2.2% of the country who are Jewish, and simply said instead, “Happy Holidays,” Ailes fearlessly honored them both, making a special point for his network to declare a “Merry Christmas” to the 76% and afterward, for good measure, a respectful “Happy Hanukah” to the 2.2. He should probably have thrown in a hearty “Ho, ho, ho” to the executives of the other networks who seemed clueless, bound in their strait jackets, unable to budge from their lethargy, unable to believe the numbers they were reading, still pretending that they were operating a monopoly. It was their job to decide what to telecast. It was our job to watch and listen.

Finally, I suppose, this tour de force would not be complete without a comment on the wars. Roger Ailes owned the wars. Any war. All of the wars. While some of the other networks, for example, pretended to be transcendent in the war on terror, noncombatants, loyal to the higher god of journalism, Roger Ailes was shamelessly patriotic and American. Viewers who wanted to feel good about themselves found a home at FNC.

And what about those who want the wars to end? What about the Ron Paul people and the Libertarians? At first, all of the national media, Fox included, spurned them. It would have been a colossal contradiction for Fox to have it both ways, for and against the war. In the recent South Carolina GOP debate, CBS, relegated Ron Paul to 89 seconds of time in the first hour of debate. The network later justified its decision by polling, which actually showed Ron Paul as third among the GOP contenders and beating Barack Obama among independents. Even non Libertarians winced at the treatment.

Ailes has been watching all of this for months. Like a good defensive player who sees a loose ball on the field, Fox News smartly picked it up and ran with it. Don’t want the Libertarians? 14% of the country? Really? Well, okay, if I must. Kaching. Ailes took them. He put them in the Fox Business News Ghetto, where they will have to do a lot of heavy lifting. But at least it’s a home. And with Ron Paul now soaring in Iowa and New Hampshire FNC is finally giving him air time in the major leagues as well.

From the beginning Ailes artfully used sex, humor and provocative headlines to win viewers. You don’t need a remote control when you watch Fox News. Roger Ailes does that for you. It’s addictive. It’s fun. One can just sit and relax and watch him play out the long stream of promos, staying in your seat, watching the shifting Kaleidoscope of four minute segments, on the economy, on a political race in Ohio, on that Hollywood scandal, on the alligator that got lose in a Georgia neighborhood, on the earthquake in Alaska, waiting for the promised story about the mother who got fired from her job in California for changing her baby’s diaper in public.

According to Neilson the top 13 programs in cable news all air on Fox. It has 48% of the prime-time cable-news market, compared to 17% for CNN or MSNBC. If there was a race, a contest, it is over. If there was a war it has been won. Fox News is close to $1 billion in profit for the last fiscal year. It has crushed its rivals.

I take some humble pride in the fact that I saw all of this back in 1988, when I worked for Roger Ailes as one of his shill’s in the presidential practice debates for George H. W. Bush. I saw his genius. When the election was over I strongly advocated that Ailes be brought into the White House and serve in the inner circle. I argued that the presidents five minutes on the evening news should be carefully plotted and choreographed by a master and it was more important for governing and moving legislation than all the other hundreds of paper shufflers in the White House combined. I was convinced that Ailes could change how the country was governed. My argument did not succeed. But in the end Roger Ailes did indeed change how the country was governed and more profoundly than he ever could have done in a West Wing office.

Abraham Lincoln once said that the Union, the North, had the men, it had the industry, it had the supply. If he could just find a general who could understand those numbers, if he had a general who could get the math, then that general could win the Civil War. Rupert Murdoch, the colorful, inventive owner of News Corporation found his general in Roger Ailes. And yes, he gets the math. And yes, he won the war.


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