By Michael C. Moynihan
I’ve been pretty critical of Fox News in the past, and think that some of the criticism leveled against people like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity is justified (though much is overheated). And one would have to be living in a Beatrice Webb world of ideological devotion to not see that, opinion programs aside, the network’s news coverage slants to the right. But watching this exchange between Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington on ABC’s "This Week," I had to (sort of) agree with Ailes.
Ailes’s response—that there is some pretty inflammatory stuff on Huffington Post too—is fair. And there is a weird condescension embedded in Huffington’s comment; one that implies that those rubes watching Glenn Beck will be incited to violence (her website recently accused Beck of instigating the “murder” of a Tennessee census worker) because, after all, they are "suffering." Her audience, on the other hand, is too busy clicking through photo galleries of celebrity breast augmentations to grab the Mannlicher-Carcano and shoot Dick Cheney.
So Beck’s idiotic comment that Obama hates white people (which Huffington alludes to and Ailes says the host apologized for) is an outrage against civility and an affront to democracy. Keith Olbermann’s recent comment that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Ma.) is an "irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees" isn't likely to dislodge Arianna from her frequent guest spot on "The Countdown."
Appearing on Olbermann back in November, Huffington argued that there is an “exemption to the free speech protected by the First Amendment” that should prevent Beck from terrorizing the airwaves and inciting the hillbillies (quote comes at about 3:40 into the segment):
Also, when Huffington bemoans the stupidity and partisanship of Fox News, remember this recent piece from her website, which ruminated on what "Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about [Ted Kennedy’s] death, and what she'd have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded. Who knows -- maybe she'd have thought it was worth it."