It has to be a beautiful thing being an approved member of the left-wing mainstream media. No matter how boring and unimaginative you are, no matter how many facts you get wrong — all your cronies are always right there to back you up.
Jonathan Alter is a tiresome, washed-up leftist whose latest book — the title of which I forget — isn’t selling so well and didn’t do so well in the facts department. In other words, it has been an embarrassment of Joe McGinniss
proportions. And yet, over the past couple of weeks, Alter’s media comrades have attempted to come to his rescue to try to pump sales by any means necessary.
Earlier this week, The Huffington Post and Politico’s Dylan Byers both humiliated themselves with their transparently desperate attempts to help Alter out. And now it appears to be the Washington Post’s turn.
You would think that the sting of humiliation that comes with whiffing on the four biggest stories of the Obama presidency might result in something of a wake-up call for the financially troubled Post. But, as if to prove you can’t teach an old Palace Guard new tricks, yesterday the Post poured its bandwidth and investigative resources into… The Tale of the Fox News Supply Closet.
You see, in order to sell his book — other than groveling like a punk
— Alter salted his love letter to Obama with the kinds of tidbits he knew his fellow Obama-worshipping, Fox News-hating media pals would love: a bunch of nonsense about how Roger Ailes — one of the most successful network executives in history — is some kind of paranoid freak — you know, like Ted Turner.
Among a litany of over a dozen falsehoods about Ailes, Alter claimed that the Fox News chief is so paranoid about wiretaps (doesn’t sound so paranoid today!) that he “once worked out of a supply closet.” Ailes outright denied the claim to Politico, saying, “It’s completely false and silly. In fact, I had no idea we have a supply closet.”
Well, that obviously set off alarm bells at the same astute Washington Post that missed the IRS, AP, Verizon, and Benghazi scandals. And the result Friday was an in-depth, source-driven, 500-word investigative report into whether or not there are supply closets within the Fox News HQ.
No, I am not kidding.
And while it is fun to laugh this stuff off, you have to look at the The Matrix of what is really going on — which is pure character assassination.
Unlike the shriveling Post, Roger Ailes and Fox News are not only wildly succeeding in a media environment where almost everyone else is faltering, but they have been acting like real journalists in the fine tradition of what we saw from the Post during Watergate.
Unlike the Post, Fox News is not whiffing at these scandals or guarding The State’s palace. Instead, they are digging, asking tough questions, pressing for answers, breaking news, and letting Power know that there is at least one real watchdog among the many lapdogs.
But all Fox News and Ailes get in return is to find themselves being investigated and held accountable by a mainstream media — that not only refuse to do the same to the current administration, but are trying to prevent that from happening to the administration.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC