By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What Ailes a media critic

New York Times media columnist David Carr weighs in with a terrific inside look at how Fox News tries to smother even the mildest of unfavorable coverage with freezeouts, smears and, yes, doctored photos. And, he admits, it sometimes works:

By blacklisting reporters it does not like, planting stories with friendlies at every turn, Fox News has been living a life beyond consequence for years. Honesty compels me to admit that I have choked a few times at the keyboard when Fox News has come up in a story and it was not absolutely critical to the matter at hand.

Carr also cites a Fox News spokeswoman who says the most recent outrage — altering photos of Times media reporter Jacques Steinberg and his editor — was no biggie because cable news programs often engage in such antics for humorous effect.

That, of course, is pathetic. There was nothing funny about the Photoshopping; the two men were simply uglified for an audience that had no idea what they actually look like. Carr finds the plastic surgery done on Steinberg to be anti-Semitic, which is a very tough accusation. But I think he’s right.

Thanks to Carr’s column, the war between Fox and the Times is now fully engaged. It will be interesting to see what comes next.

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  1. mike_b1

    I think for years the Times, CNN, etc., have avoided trying to directly confront Fox News, at first so as not to legitimize an upstart network, and later to as not to legitimize Fox’s cries of a leftist media conspiracy. I think they are better off going for the throat. Not much to lose at this point.

  2. Anonymous

    We should also note that aside from the distortions’ anit-semitism, whoever at Fox doctored the photos should be fired for being bad at Photoshop.

  3. Larz

    I’ve never allowed Fix any credibility. Sha-zam! You don’t suppose they made me ugly, as revenge for thinking bad things about them?!? — Larz

  4. lou

    Another valid point Carr made: Fox wants to be taken seriously as a news outlet but besides avoiding writing negative news about them, reporters also avoid writing positive news because it’s just too much trouble. So it’s avoided getting positive coverage as well because its publicity team is such a pain.

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