Control Room Interference?

The New York Times’ Brian Stelter writes about an anecdote in Jonathan Alter’s upcoming book on the 2012 campaign…

“Roger Ailes covered the Benghazi story as if it were Watergate just before Nixon’s resignation, with almost wall-to-wall coverage,” Mr. Alter writes before describing Mr. Rivera as the only Fox anchor who was “allowed to offer a dissenting view.”

Mr. Rivera did so on the conservative morning show “Fox & Friends” on Nov. 2, the Friday before Election Day. As the three hosts criticized the administration for failing to save the ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans who died in Benghazi, Mr. Rivera protested. He accused the co-host Eric Bolling of lying, calling him “a politician trying to make a political point.”

“After the argument continued for several minutes, Ailes called the control room and told the producers to cut Rivera’s mic,” Mr. Alter writes.

A spokeswoman for Fox News did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Mr. Alter suggests in the book that the episode is atypical; Fox programming, he writes, generally reflected Mr. Ailes’s views without his explicit instructions.

As you can imagine, this story has caused a bit of heat on the internet. Johnny Dollar in particular pushed back hard

Q for @jonathanalter and @DylanByers – If story is true, it would be on the video.
http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/11/02/geraldo-and-bolling-spar-on-u-s-response-to-libya-attack-you-are-misleading-the-american-people-to-make-a-political-point
Over 7 min straight, mic never cut

I had better things to do last night than get in the middle of a Twitter pissing match…like watch my Sharks go up 3-0 on a surprisingly hapless Vancouver. But this morning I went to Dollar’s link and played the video

…It turns out that Dollar’s rebuttal evidence is inconclusive. It’s not the whole segment. The video abruptly ends. Whether Rivera’s audio got cut off or not…this video neither proves nor disproves it. So this controversy will continue…

Update:Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell has FNC pushing back hard and saying that it wasn’t Ailes at all who phoned in…

Mediaite has learned from a Fox News spokesperson that Ailes never called the control room that morning, but rather, Bill Shine (Fox’s EVP of Programming) did. Shine did not order Rivera’s mic to be cut. Instead his call was to urge the show to move on because the segment had come to its conclusion, as the EVP seemed to believe that two Fox personalities calling each other liars with an escalating tone made for bad morning television and could potentially alienate their audience if it continued.

I am going to have to wait until tonight to take a look at Mediaite’s “full length video” before commenting further…

7 Responses to “Control Room Interference?”

  1. Nothing better than a good Twitter pissing match than the satisfaction of protesting one has more important things to do than engaging in it.

  2. paminwi Says:

    That exchange went on for 7 minutes 10 seconds and the fireworks were well over by then. In that 7 minutes and well past the fireworks Geraldo’s mic was not cut. He continued to talk and no one cut him off. I think someone will come up with the full segment soon and we will see.

    Personally, I think Jonathan Alter is FOS. But, you got to bash FOX to sell books so go for it Jonathan baby!

  3. icemannyr Says:

    FNC moving more conservative is old news. The segment in question has conservative Eric Bolling as co-host.
    I’m sure any time Gerlado is on they are on stand by to cut his mic.:P
    That said I’m sure Alter is going to show up on MSNBC promoting his book.

  4. erich500 Says:

    J$ mentions that Rivera appeared with the shy and reserved Bill O’Reilly that very night where they continued this, er, discussion on Mr. Bill’s show.

    That kind of, sorta’, undermines the thesis that they were trying to squelch Rivera on this topic.

    When I become king I will ban Twitter and anyone caught using it will be catapulted into a live volcano. On pay per view (need to cut the debt).

    It’s good to be the king.

  5. Geraldo Rivera ‏@GeraldoRivera
    Specifically to Jonathan Alter, I like you mate, but you never spoke with me about Benghazi and you never asked if Roger Ailes cut my mic.

    Obviously Rivera would have given Alter the standard denial, but not bothering to even ask him was pretty lazy.

  6. […] said that a multicamera production control room environment has two other characteristics that are different than the other users contributing to […]

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