March 12, 2010

Howell Raines: Why Can't I Be You?

Howell Raines, who championed advocacy journalism in the name of liberalism at the Times during his brief stint as executive editor, is lamenting the fact that the kind of journalism he practiced hasn't succeeded in quashing all alternative viewpoints.

Of course, he phrases it a bit differently:

One question has tugged at my professional conscience throughout the year-long congressional debate over health-care reform, and it has nothing to do with the public option, portability or medical malpractice. It is this: Why haven't America's old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration -- a campaign without precedent in our modern political history?

Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence as Ailes tears up the rulebook that served this country well as we covered the major stories of the past three generations, from the civil rights revolution to Watergate to the Wall Street scandals.

If Raines had a "professional conscience" there is the distinct possibility that he would still be the executive editor of the New York Times instead of posting grouchy op-eds on the pages of his old competitors.

But Raines was by any measure a horrific editor with a fear-based leadership style, and a Stalinist penchant for purging those who did not bow down to him:

According to insiders, Raines is the kind of 1950s-style autocrat who manages through humiliation and fear. Aside from right-hand men Gerald Boyd and Andy Rosenthal and a core of loyalists, morale is said to be at a new low. There are many rooms in that palace and nobody sees the whole picture. But, says one source, "the old timers who lived through the worst of [former executive editor] Abe Rosenthal say they have never seen anyone be so arrogant, so petty, so mean. Vindictiveness is in." Another source says, "It's no longer about managing down. It's about paying obeisance to the king." Among cognoscenti, 43rd Street is now known as the "republic of fear."

It is very much in his nature for Raines to call for the heads of those who would have ideas that do not conform to his own, or those who do not bow down to his latest infatuation with a silver-tongued fraud. Luckily, America caught on to Barack Obama far faster than they did Jayson Blair.

As always, the autocratic Raines will be the last to figure it out.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 12, 2010 09:32 AM

A campaign without precedent in modern history?
Howell how quickly you forget the campaign of the New York Times, under your leadership, to delegitimize George W. Bush. Sounds like editorial Alzheimer's has captured your puny brain cells. What a putz.

Posted by: Mike Myers at March 12, 2010 11:12 AM
Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists

How machiavellian for Ailes to use actual reporting and truth, instead of propaganda and spiking inconvenient facts, to undermine Obamacare. Reporting things like Rep. Ryan pointing out the blatant lie in reporting a 10 year cost for a 6 year charge, Cornhusker Kickback, coverage for illegal aliens, and abortion coverage truly reveals the biased nature of Fox News. A real journalist would have hidden all those inconvenient facts and only paraphrased White House press releases.

Whenever one wishes to see the modern Left's playbook, all you have to do is to look at what they accuse others of doing. The Left cannot imagine actually reporting the news or having a real debate so they project their dishonest machinations onto everyone else.

Posted by: iconoclast at March 12, 2010 11:48 AM

You have to laugh when any of these media nitwits complains about insufficient water carrying for the Dems. Their absolute disgust that someone actually dissents is hilarious.

Posted by: bandit at March 12, 2010 12:52 PM

The same Howell Raines who counseled John Kerry to lie in the 2004 election:

Posted by: zhombre at March 13, 2010 10:25 PM

Raines thinks he is a big gun but maybe he doesn't read the papers since he SHOULD have known that a much bigger gun, Barack Hussein Obama, declared a War on Fox last fall. It lasted about four weeks and ended in a rout not seen since Egyptians were turned back from Suez. And O was at the height of his power then. What is killing these morons and what they are trying mightily to correct, is that even with their great intellects and moral rectitude, they STILL must function as business enterprises. And they are failing rapidly and yet more rapidly there. Hey, at least Raines got his golden parachute. His successors at the helm will receive none when they pull themselves from the wreckage, barring a King Georbe-esque madness enveloping Carlos Slim.

Posted by: megapotamus at March 14, 2010 12:03 PM