Editorial Control…

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman continues to be a thorn in FNC’s side. This time Sherman writes about an editorial edict that went down last Saturday…

According to sources, David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air. “This network is not going there,” Clark wrote one producer on Saturday night, according to a source with knowledge of the exchange. The directive created a rift inside the network. According to a source, one political panelist e-mailed Clark that Bloomberg was booked on Meet the Press to talk about gun control. Clark responded, “We haven’t buried the children yet, we’re not discussing it.” During the weekend, one frustrated producer went around Clark to lobby Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice-president for news editorial, but Clemente upheld the mandate. “We were expressly forbidden from discussing gun control,” the source said. Clark’s edict wasn’t universal: On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace talked with Democratic Senators Joe Lieberman and Dick Durbin about gun control, and later in the program, panelists Bill Kristol and Fortune editor Nina Easton weighed in on the issue.

This didn’t go un-noticed by Johnny Dollar who offered up three examples of FNC talking about Gun Control.

One example was concerning Bill O’Reilly talking about it tonight, which of course falls outside of the timeline window Sherman wrote about.

A second example was about Bob Beckel discussing it. No date was given to the discussing of it and Beckel is on The Five so I will assume it occurred today…which is also outside the timeline window Sherman wrote about.

The third example Dollar gave was a clip of Fox News Sunday, which Sherman himeslf wrote about in his article.

So Dollar’s defense wasn’t very iron clad. The one example of discussing Gun Control which occurred on the weekend that’s presented by either Sherman or Dollar was the Fox News Sunday example. It’s not clear to me whether Fox News Sunday falls under Clark’s oversight since it’s produced for Fox broadcast and not FNC. But even if it did fall under Clark’s oversight, it doesn’t invalidate the theory that Clark’s edict occurred and instead was ignored by Fox News Sunday.

27 Responses to “Editorial Control…”

  1. Eric Bolling went on a rant on The Five today saying that he told the bosses he did not want to discuss gun control on the show today was boycotting the segment and then said Bob Beckel was wrong for wanted to discuss gun control that it was to soon.

    Hannity is doing a segment tonight complaining about liberals talking about gun control soon after the events in CT.

  2. Ah, I thought it was Kilmeade who didn’t want to discuss it. Didn’t watch Fox on Saturday, so no idea about that.

  3. It’s always “too soon” for Bolling and Hannity. Then when the “time is right”, the topic mysteriously never comes up.

  4. They don’t want to discuss it because they know they’re losing the debate. Even pro-gun Conservative Republicans are calling for the AWB to be renewed. Scarborough, this morning… that entire episode of Morning Joe was historic.

  5. The first couple of days immediately after the shooting, and before the families have attended the first services, should rightly be considered “too soon”, at least for contentious debate on the subject. If the producer’s intention was to keep the tone down then it was a probably a good move. That some discussed it anyway isn’t a big deal, either.

  6. It’s one thing not to discuss it. It’s another to ignore the story and not report that it’s being discussed.

  7. This is from last week but it is sadly relevant…

    Any Given Gun Day – Bob Costas & Fox News
    Sportscaster Bob Costas violates unwritten rules by discussing guns and violence immediately following an instance of preventable gun violence.

  8. I would think that Fox New Sunday is independent from that edict. I also think Wallace is more than host of the show. Doesn’t he have some other title? I don’t feel like searching…

  9. “Too soon” is just as political as any other response. It’s just the gun nuts’ way of saying “we want to keep the status quo and our ‘rights’ are more important than other peoples lives”.

  10. ^ ^ ^
    Very true, so it would’ve been a malpractice of journalism had Chris Wallace ignored the topic with two sitting senators appearing on his show.

    ^ I don’t think it’s uncommon for high-profile programme hosts to tell executive producers to “go blow”. In Wallace’s case, anyway, it could be a matter of principle.

  11. The fact is, this is the national conversation. Whether you support gun control or not, this is the discussion that’s going on at the dinner table in every household in America. FOX’s people might WANT to ignore it, but they can’t.

  12. I’m sure Fox News Sunday operates in its own realm as a network Sunday show on par with Meet The Press and Face The Nation. There’s no way anyone on that staff was going to obey a cable news edict.

    Speaking of, handing down a “no gun control” edict is just another egregious example of Roger Ailes deciding what is news for his viewers. The level of weaponry and depths of depravity of this horrible event set off an immediate discussion of guns in America, and it was a journalistic failure for one network – one which many use as their only TV news – to present an alternate universe where it wasn’t happening. .

  13. Richard Engel freed after 5 days in captivity in Syria.

  14. From Al Jazeera:

    MORE: Two kidnappers killed in shootout during release of #NBC’s Richard #Engel and news team in #Syria – http://aje.me/XDoKdh – @AJELIVE

  15. Can I ask a serious question of the Liberals around here…

    Why was Benghazi always “too soon,” and “wait until we have all the information,” even weeks after… but a school shooting in CT, where a lot of the early information was shown to be wrong, it’s never “too soon” to draw conclusions based on nothing?

    The whole point of the “too soon” line, is so that we know what we’re talking about. If there were no assault weapons used, why bother talking about the assault weapons ban? It’s tangential, but not actually related… and thusly uses the murders as a tool to discuss a political or policy point, not actually a reasonable reaction to the tragedy at hand.

    It’d be like someone getting into a bad car crash, and then the news starts talking about DUI’s… before anyone knows if the driver was impaired or not. It turns victims into pawns. And that’s morally reprehensible.

  16. gettingpwned Says:

    i think on air talent, especially o’reilly (he metaphorically built that place after all), outrank a weekend EP.

  17. It’s a strawman. The only thing that was “too soon” about Benghazi was Romney holding a press conference bashing the administration when the bodies weren’t even recovered yet. He broke a longstanding protocol about comments from politicians during a foreign policy crisis. The comparison to Newtown is ludicrous.

  18. So… he shouldn’t have bashed the President before the bodies were recovered. But the left was correct to attack guns, Republicans, and the NRA, while the story was in its absolute earliest stages?

    Ludicrous is right.

  19. Completely different topics/circumstances. Gun control as a taboo topic after a mass slaughter is a delaying tactic by pro-gun lunatics intent on the conversation never happening. You lost that battle, and you’re going to continue to. This country has made a decision that something has to be done to limit the firepower available to civilians, and you’re just going to have to live with it.

  20. Joe, why shouldn’t Roger Ailes decide what is discussed on his network? The media decided not to include Nancy Lanza’s name on its list of victims and I was told that was the media’s First Amendment right. Roger Ailes has that same First Amendment right, doesn’t he?

  21. Well, my natural instinct is to once again call you a moron for criticizing “my opinion,” when that isn’t actually my opinion… but since I tried that yesterday, and you turned coward, feigned ignorance and confusion (again), and tried to say that you didn’t say something you had clearly just said. So to prevent a rerun, I’ll just ignore it, and move on.

    Gun control, as a topic after something like this, must be related to what actually happened. If you’re (the royal, ‘you’) going to argue against assault weapons, in the context of this shooting, you had better be sure that an assault weapon was used. Otherwise, it’s just using the event at hand, as an excuse to put forth pre-existing opinions, under the false cover of this situation.

    My argument is (and as been) that a gun control person saw this as yet another excuse to make their argument… even if there was no evidence to link it this particular shooting. It’s a tangential argument at best.

    This is pretty much what the left screamed for the weeks after Benghazi, and in defense of Susan Rice… the right was “using” this event to further their view of an incompetent President, lacking security, and an unqualified ambassador. Now one could argue on the merits of those opinions, but the similarities are undeniable, and charges of political opportunism essentially the same.

  22. ^That’s the definition of Blue’s weirdly personal issues with me (we’re not married; I’m not going to invest in the endless “what about that other thing you said that other time” obsession you wrap yourself up in), coupled with his mastery of convolution, so I’ll answer Carol:

    I didn’t say Roger Ailes doesn’t have a right to do whatever he wants with his network; I said I disagreed with it on journalistic grounds. Saying “I don’t think you should do that” is not the same as “you don’t have the right”.

  23. ^Joe, thanks.

  24. How is waiting 24 hours until we have the facts nailed down before discussing public policy changes (if any) a political act? What politics are behind it?

    As we now know, what we thought the first few hours after the incident dramatically changed later on. So, any discussing on policy in those first few hours would be based on incorrect information.

    We can discuss gun policies now. Or mental health issues now. Or any other issue directly or indirectly related to this event now. Which is what is happening.

    How is waiting two days a political act? What politics are behind it?

  25. I answered that, Eric. We need to specify timelines first: The Ailes edict came down for the weekend, not the first 24 hours beginning Friday morning. During that very early time, some were (in my opinion) too quick to talk about gun laws, and others chose to hold off. The topic of this thread is not about Friday, so we can leave that discussion for the moment.

    Ailes instructed his network to avoid gun laws on Sat/Sun, when by that time the topic was being bandied about endlessly in all other media. In my opinion, this was a political act from a man not the least bit interested in an encroachment on his gun position being aired on his network. Conversely, it also precluded pro gun POVs from being presented, so you could call that “balance” if you want, but nevertheless, Mr. Ailes presented an alternate-universe version of this story from all other media that weekend. I consider this a journalistic cave-in to the boss’s politics.

  26. Clark’s memo might be okay if he included no discussions about mental health or video games. But he apparently just singled out gun control.

    If the idea was not to get sidetracked with policy matters then why just mention gun control? Agenda anyone?

    As to Ailes/Fox and the timeline: I’m talking about the general issue and not how Fox covered it.

    I rely mostly on newspaper websites – the Washington Post, the NY Times specifically – for my news. They can handle breaking news almost as well as cable and I think – despite their screwups here – have a better vetting process than the cables.

  27. Why was Benghazi always “too soon,” and “wait until we have all the information,” even weeks after… but a school shooting in CT, where a lot of the early information was shown to be wrong, it’s never “too soon” to draw conclusions based on nothing?

    ^^ You know you can reverse that line blue. If your saying that it was never too soon to “draw conclusions based on nothing” in Benghazi “where a lot of the early information was shown to be wrong”; then why is it “always too soon” and we need to “wait until we have all the information” to do the same in the Newtown tragedy? Just sayin’.

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