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Wednesday, January 28, 2004


On "Fox News Democrats":The Two Variants of “Balance” in the Media Worldview of Roger Ailes
This is the second in my series of requests to alleged Democrats to get their lame asses out of the party. It’s time for Susan Estrich to leave the Democratic Party and the progressive movement. We’re better off without her because she is worse than worthless to the progressive cause. I’m choosing Estrich because she and Tammy Bruce (who was the target of the first article in my series telling people to leave the Democratic Party and/or the progressive movement) represent the two variants of ideological balance in the mind of Roger Ailes, the chief political operative of Fox News, an entity that Ailes hypes not only as a legitimate journalistic outfit, but one that is “fair and balanced.” (both Bruce and Estrich are sucking on Ailes’ man-tit as Fox News commentators). They earn their money because they provide Ailes with valuable cover.

Let me elaborate on this. Ailes wants the appearance of balance without any true balance—Fox News is a rigged game; there is one type of progressive he keeps from appearing on Fox News as much as possible: the progressive who knows the score and knows how to cut through the right-wing horseshit. By having ostensible progressives like Estrich and Bruce, he can make the claim that Fox News allows fair debate. Ailes likes Bruce and Estrich—but he likes them for very different reasons--they serve different purposes. Bruce represents the variant of “balancers” who pose as Democrats but who slam true progressives and applaud the lowest of the low on the hard right (the post I previously cited elaborates on this point) (Update: another example is Pat Caddell). Fox News shills like Estrich are more common; Estrich--like Juan Williams and, of course, Alan Colmes—has no clue and serves as a punching bag for more accomplished debaters on the right. Both the Bruce and Estrich variants of media whoredom [see addendum] are disastrous in their consequences to people searching for the truth.

Ailes is a serious douche bag, but he’s nobody’s dummy. When Estrich was the campaign manager for Michael Dukakis in 1988, Ailes and company clubbed her lame ass like a baby seal. Ailes knows she doesn’t have the will and/or know-how to put up a good offense or defense. Let me give a personal anecdote: prior to blogging (2000-2001), when I was a well-paid administrator at USC, my office (yeah, I had my own office) was a stone’s throw away from the law school where Estrich is a professor. One might have thought that someone interested in politics as much as me might have stopped by her office during office hours and introduced myself. Never happened. The reason: what could she teach me about politics other than being a loser?

I think another reason that Ailes likes someone like Estrich is that she is so personally grating. Estrich is shrill and longwinded. I think Bruce is a treacherous sellout, but at least I could probably have an interesting conversation at a coffee shop with her. Not with an irritating yenta like Estrich. She reminds me of some former co-workers. A few years ago, I got an administrative gig in San Diego; it was in an office full of women. That doesn’t sound bad, but the women were a bunch of mother hens. All day they would talk to each other about their families, their shopping trips to the Pottery Barn, and Heloise kind of talk. Once there was a 50-minute conversation about somebody’s flower garden (at the half-hour point, I was thinking they were putting me on, but they weren’t putting me on). It wasn’t an office; it was a fucking sewing circle. I’m sure an annoying windbag like Estrich would have fit in there.

Write Estrich at sestrich@law.usc.edu and tell her that Ailes is using her like a Led Zeppelin groupie and that as long as she’s been rubbing elbows with Republicans by working for Arnold and being Ailes’ shill, she should stay there.

Addendum: by using terms like “whores” and “whoredom,” I don’t intend to impugn people who sell sex for money. I would never use a term like “whore” to describe such a person. I believe “commercial sex worker” is the proper term. With prostitution, a guy pays for sex and the commercial sex worker gets money. On the other hand, what is particularly insidious about media whoredom is that the media whores are the ones getting paid, but it’s the American people who are getting screwed.

UPDATE: Glen Greenwald has a good post on Fox liberals.


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