Archive for the FNC Category

Behind The Scenes At the FNC Debate

Posted in FNC on August 9, 2015 by icn2

The LA Times’ Stephen Battalgio writes about some of the things that went on behind the scenes in the run up to FNC’s GOP debate as part of a big profile of Bret Baier…

With the Republican presidential debate less than 10 hours away, Fox News anchors Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier sat at a long table with their producers and once again went over the game plan for the big night.

They reviewed not just the questions they would ask, but the structure of every query, keeping in mind the constraints of time and the need to avoid repeating topics. As they sorted and re-sorted questions, the unpredictability of real estate tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump was never far from their minds.

Baier even had a “nuclear option” at the ready for Trump if he ignored all protocol.

The script — which he didn’t have to use — took a page from Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” TV show. It went like this: “Mr. Trump in your business you have rules. You follow rules. We have rules on this stage. We don’t want to have to escort you to the elevator outside this boardroom.”

“We’re hoping we don’t have to use it,” Baier said later. “We’re locked and loaded.”

Embedded with the news team on debate day, it becomes clear that it’s not just the Republican hopefuls who will be on stage this night — it’s also Fox News, widely seen as the network most friendly to conservatives. No one here wants to appear as if they are pitching softballs.

Indeed, when Kelly rehearsed a question for another candidate — delivered in the staccato style that adds to her reputation as a tenacious interrogator — a producer at the table said, “He’ll go berserk.”

And then there’s this…

Baier even anticipated that some Republican Party faithful would agree with Trump that they were too tough and he was right. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the lower polling presidential candidates in the afternoon debate, called the evening session “an inquisition.”

The reaction didn’t surprise Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes. “Most of the criticism I get is from the right because they assume I’m going to do a certain thing and I don’t necessarily do what anybody assumes,” Ailes said in an interview Friday. “This is an example of that.”

But Ailes limited his input on the broadcast to how it looked on screen and offering encouragement to his on-air team to be tough and fair. Counter to reports that he’s involved in all things Republican, he said he had no hand in coming up with the challenging questions. He was confident in his on-air moderating team, which he described as “the best we’ve seen in television history.”

FNC GOP Debate: Your Reactions…

Posted in FNC on August 6, 2015 by icn2

Post your reactions to tonight’s GOP debate(s) on FNC and the coverage thereof here…

Roger Ailes Shoots Down Gabriel Sherman…

Posted in FNC on July 23, 2015 by icn2

Well…not literally…but figuratively. The Hollywood Reporter’s Paul Bond has Ailes talking about the Trump thing…

“My relationship with Rupert has never been better — I talked to him three times today, and none of the conversations involved Donald Trump or the New York Times,” Ailes tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Your move Mr. Sherman.


Posted in FNC on July 22, 2015 by icn2

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman writes about Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, and Rupert Murdoch…

One reason Murdoch is taking to social media and deploying his publishing properties to attack Trump may be the simple fact that he hasn’t been able to control his most powerful media organ: Fox News. According to sources, Murdoch has tried — and failed — to rein in Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who, insiders say, is pushing Fox to defend Trump’s most outlandish comments. This week, Ailes told his senior executives during a meeting that Murdoch recently called him and asked if Fox could “back off the Trump coverage,” a source told me. Ailes is said to have boasted to his executives that he told Murdoch he was covering Trump “the way he wanted to.” The implication was that he wasn’t going to budge.

And then there’s this…

It’s understandable that Murdoch would be frustrated. Fox News has been a ringleader of the Trump circus. Shortly after Trump jumped into the race, he had a “2-to-3 hour” private lunch with Ailes, sources told me. Last month, Fox gave Trump more airtime than any other candidate. And, according to sources, the channel’s personalities are taking an active role in aiding Trump, both on- and off-camera. One source explained that Ailes has instructed The Five co-host Eric Bolling to defend Trump on air. A review of Bolling’s comments shows that over the past week, he’s gone to bat for Trump numerous times. Last Friday, for example, Bolling complained that conservatives shouldn’t be criticizing the real-estate mogul. “There’s a problem in America, and it’s not Donald Trump,” Bolling declared. He continued to make pro-Trump arguments on Monday and Tuesday’s shows. Another Trump ally is Fox political analyst and pollster Pat Caddell. According to a source with direct knowledge, Caddell has been speaking to Trump “almost every day” about his campaign. “Everything coming out of Trump’s mouth sounds like Pat,” the source said. This morning, Fox & Friends — a show that is used by Ailes to inject his point of view into debates — ran a fawning interview with Trump. At one point in the conversation, co-host Steve Doocy gushed that “someone told me yesterday Donald Trump is like a Navy SEAL.” For his part, Trump has been grateful for the Fox Friends support. Yesterday, at a campaign event in South Carolina where he gave out Lindsey Graham’s personal cell-phone number, Trump heaped praise on Fox & Friends’ Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. “They’re great people,” he said.

Bob Beckel Out At FNC…

Posted in FNC on June 25, 2015 by icn2

In an unusually caustic public display, TVNewser’s Mark Joyella writes about Bill Shine’s public statement on the departure of Bob Beckel from FNC…

In a statement to TVNewser, Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming for Fox News, said “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold The Five hostage to one man’s personal issues. He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him. Juan Williams and Geraldo Rivera will be among those rotating on the show for the near future.”

Ouch. For Shine to let that get put out says a lot about the situation and (probably) Beckel, particularly when you contrast that with what happened with Gregg Jarrett. FNC tends to bend over backwards for its employees so when things turn acrimonious I tend to side with the network.

Ailes: A Theory…

Posted in FNC on June 25, 2015 by icn2

The timing of the Ailes deal so soon after James and Lachlan Murdoch’s promotions, combined with the confusion over the reporting structure, raises many questions…chief of which is “How did this happen?”

What follows is a possible timeline of events based on a theory and a lack of contradictory evidence.

1. The impending news leaks out to CNBC to David Faber by a source not in Roger Ailes’ sphere of influence. At the time I said I thought Ailes had to have known this was coming because it would be playing with fire for Rupert Murdoch to not keep him in the loop. But subsequent events suggest that Ailes may not have been in the loop enough.

2. FBN puts out, by way of instructions from Ailes according to Gabriel Sherman, that Ailes would continue to report to Rupert Murdoch. The original Faber story made no mention of this so this was big news.

3. The actual announcement comes out and now it is revealed that Ailes is reporting to the Murdoch sons but will have a “special relationship” with Rupert. This isn’t a 100% repudiation of the FBN news but it’s damn close.

4. This is where we get to the speculation part of this blog post. Given what happened this morning, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Ailes started making noises about his displeasure with the current reporting structure. In steps Rupert who gives Roger a new deal, the news release for paints a new murky reporting structure where Ailes reports to all thee Murdochs…and therefore could circumvent both James and Lachlan if he wanted to. The alternate explanation would be the new murky reporting structure of the three headed monster is actually a PR ruse to create the illusion that James and Lachlan still have some oversight when the reality is Ailes really reports to Rupert.

If the idea of Rupert giving Ailes a new deal after a corporate tussle sounds familiar, that’s because it is. We have seen this before. It happened in the early 2000s after Ailes clashed with Lachlan.

What makes the reversal most remarkable is that, until now, Rupert always backed Ailes during his messy feuds with Murdoch’s children. Ailes’s tangles with Lachlan were legion. Not long after 9/11, Rupert gave Ailes a new contract after Ailes threatened to resign following a heated argument with Lachlan in the Fox newsroom. Four years later, Lachlan quit his job as deputy COO in charge of the Fox broadcast group after Rupert supported Ailes in a dispute over a TV show that Ailes wanted and Lachlan didn’t.

This is all just conecture. But it’s conjecture without any contradictory evidence…or at the very least conjecture based on historical precedent and the lack of a realistic alternative narrative being put forth by anyone else at the present. It walks like a duck and talks like a duck and until I see someone come out and credibly state it’s not a duck, I will continue to believe it is a duck.

Roger Ailes Signs New Deal With 21st Century Fox

Posted in FNC on June 25, 2015 by icn2

Well…so much for the kibitzing that Ailes might call it a day after the 2016 election. Roger Ailes just signed a new deal with 21st Century Fox. The timing of this is going to raise some eyebrows, coming so closely on the heels of of the changeover in management with Rupert Murdoch’s sons being installed in new positions. The obvious question to be raised will be “Did A beget B? Did Lachlan and James’ promotions force this deal into being consumated earlier than it would have been in order to calm the waters?”

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA, FOX) today announced that Roger Ailes has signed a new multi-year contract with the Company to continue to serve as Chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations.

“I am grateful to Rupert Murdoch for taking the risk on Fox News to see it become the number one 24-hour news network in America. I look forward to working with Rupert, Lachlan and James to do my part to help bring 21st Century Fox well into the future.”

The announcement was made by Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch, to whom Mr. Ailes will jointly report.

Rupert Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s Executive Co-Chairman as of July 1, commented: “Nearly two decades ago, Roger took a bold idea rooted in the belief that there was room for more choice in cable news, and – much to all the naysayers’ surprise – through his development of vibrant programming and talent, created a behemoth of a business with one of the most passionate and engaged audiences in the history of television news. Roger and I have always had, and will continue to have, a special relationship. Lachlan, James and I are delighted that Roger will be leading key businesses for us and our shareholders for years to come, and he has our unwavering support.”

Lachlan and James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s designated Executive Co-Chairman and CEO, respectively, commented: “Roger is an incredibly talented executive and we’re pleased he has accepted our offer to continue his extraordinary record of success at 21st Century Fox. We look forward to witnessing his energy and entrepreneurial drive in leading the next wave of growth for Fox News, Fox Business Network and Fox Television Stations, as well as many years of continued success together.”

Roger Ailes said: “I am grateful to Rupert Murdoch for taking the risk on Fox News to see it become the number one 24-hour news network in America. I look forward to working with Rupert, Lachlan and James to do my part to help bring 21st Century Fox well into the future.”


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 257 other followers