Posted by: Rick | Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Behind The Scenes At Fox News (A Fair And Balanced Play In One Act)

Dramatis Personae

ROGER AILES, STEVE DOOCY, SEAN HANNITY, CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, ANDREW NAPOLITANO, BILL O’REILLY, SHEPARD SMITH . . .

and GLENN BECK

Fox News Headquarters, New York City.   May 4, 2011.   A staff meeting.

AILES:  Okay.  First things first.  Doocy!  This isn’t the company nursery.  It’s the Big Boys’ room.  Your input is not required.  Get the fuck out of here!

DOOCY:  Sorry, boss.  Kilmeade dared me.  I didn’t want to look like a wuss in front of Gretchen.

AILES:  I appreciate your insecurities, Doocy, but I’ve got a network to run.  If I need a weather forecast, I’ll email you.  Now beat it.

DOOCY:  Right, boss.

(Exit DOOCY)

AILES:  Any other comedians here?  Because this bin Laden thing is serious.  We’ve got to thread the needle perfectly.  Zero margin for error.

HANNITY:  I agree, Roger.  On my way up here, I was thinking —

AILES:  Sean, you do a great job for us.  Your demographic is our bread and butter.  But I’m in a bad mood right now.  Do you want to end up in the hall with Doocy?

HANNITY:  No, sir.  Absolutely not.

AILES:  Then spare me your thoughts till you’ve heard my thoughts.  That’s how it works.

HANNITY:  You’re right again, boss.  I’ll shut up now.

AILES:  Good.  Now before I get to the heart of our problem, let me just say one thing: Nothing we discuss today applies to the Fox Report.  Shep, I want you to keep doing what you’re doing.  I promise there won’t be any interference from either Rupert or myself.  In fact, I think I’d like you to leave this meeting right now.  Not because I think you’re an idiot like Doocy — far from it — but because I don’t want you to feel you’re under the least bit of pressure to alter your behavior.

SMITH:  Thanks, Roger.  You’ve always been good about things.  But I have to tell you, I’m not sure how long I can do this.

AILES:  I’m aware of your concerns, Shep.  Don’t worry.  I’ve scheduled a sitdown for next week.  I’ve got some ideas.  Now, go work on tonight’s broadcast.

SMITH:  Sounds good, Roger.  Later.

(Exit SMITH)

O’REILLY:  There goes the fair-haired boy.  I know he pulls numbers, but do we have to canonize the kid?  He’s getting a little full of himself.

NAPOLITANO:  I’m with Bill.  We’re doing all the heavy lifting.  And for what?

AILES:  I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that, Judge.  And Bill, you know better than anyone how this business works.  Shepard Smith created his own brand during Katrina.  I have to give him some leeway.  Besides, you have no idea how hard it is to keep good news writers.  Let’s face it, nobody with half a brain wants to work with the likes of Doocy.  I have to promise the smart ones an eventual slot on Shep’s show, or they’ll bolt.

O’REILLY:  Yeah, I know.  Smith’s untouchable.  I guess I gotta hand it to him.  The media scum love him, and he takes some heat off the rest of us.  Not that I give a shit.

AILES:  You hear that, Judge?  That’s a team player talking.  We could use a few more of those in this building.

HANNITY:  I don’t mean to interrupt, boss, but I totally agree with you.  Teamwork is key.

AILES:  Right.  Now back to the business at hand.  Gentlemen, Osama bin Laden is dead.  Which is fine, except for one thing: The wrong president is getting the credit for killing him.  Which means that here at Fox News, we start puffing up George W. Bush — big-time.  We also start saying that bin Laden wouldn’t be dead if it weren’t for waterboarding.  Don’t worry about whether any of this is true.  Just keep repeating it.  Eventually, it will become true.  At least, true enough for our purposes.

HANNITY:  Did you catch my segment with Brent Bozell last night, boss?  Neither of us had any evidence, but we both we insisted over and over that the “Anointed One” — that’s what I call Obama — owes everything to George Bush and his torture tactics.

AILES:  I saw that, Sean.  Excellent job.  Remember, don’t get bogged down with details that are none of your concern.  Just regurgitate the message.

O’REILLY:  Look, Roger, no offense to Hannity here, but my audience is a little more demanding.  I need to back up what I say.  My credibility is on the line every night.

AILES:  Of course, Bill.  You’re our number one guy, and you deserve the best.  After this meeting, I’ll give you a list of talking heads from the Heritage Foundation who will be happy to go on The Factor and supply all the backup you’ll ever need.  Charles, I’m sure you’re acquainted with some of these folks.

KRAUTHAMMER:  I am indeed, Roger.  They’re quite reliable, if a bit crude in their analysis.  I rarely use them myself.  On the subject of bin Laden, I’m of the view that the Obama Administration’s impuissance vis-à-vis the spread of Islamo-fascism and Sharia law poses an existential threat to western civilization and lays bare the hostility of the modern Democratic Party to a muscular Judeo-Christian ethos.  In fact, I plan on excoriating the president along these very lines in my comments tonight on Special Report.

AILES:  That’s sounds perfect, Charles.  You’re taking the high road.

BECK:  Then I guess that means I’ll be taking the low road?

NAPOLITANO:  Easy, Glenn.

BECK:  No, I mean really, Roger, can we please cut the crap?  We all know where this story is headed.

AILES:  I’m not sure we do, Glenn.  Why don’t you enlighten us.

HANNITY:  Boss, do we have to listen to this short-timer?  It’s not like he has any sponsors.  Oh, wait, I forgot.  He has those guys from the geezer dating service.  My bad.

BECK:  I also have a measurable IQ.  Comes in handy, Sean.  You should get one.

HANNITY:  Beck, you little prick, I swear to God I’m gonna kick your goddamn —

AILES:  All right, that’s enough.  Glenn, finish your point.

BECK:  Thank you, Roger.  It’s simply this: The war on terror is over.  Oh, we’ll still pay lip service to 9/11, but the truth is, those towers might as well have come down a thousand years ago.  Everything now is about Obama.  He’s the enemy, and he must be destroyed.  By any means necessary.

AILES:  Maybe.  But we have to be careful.  There are certain limits.

BECK:  That’s where you’re wrong.  As of Sunday night, there are no limits.  People aren’t going to stand for this Obama-as-hero stuff.  It’s going to drive them over the edge.  Are we going to lead them or follow them?  I know what I’m going to do.  I’m very comfortable over the edge.

AILES:  I know.  That’s why I fired you.

BECK:  And that’s why I quit.  But no hard feelings, Roger.  Just stay tuned.  I’m going to make history this year.

Curtain

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