Former N.Y. Times Executive Editor Howell Raines Takes Shots at FOX News

Do you remember the bad old days at The New York Times when the paper of record was caught making up news stories in the form of lying reporter Jayson Blair?

That wasn't so long ago.

In fact, that particular imbroglio led to the resignation of Blair's editor and protector, Howell Raines.

Now Raines is a book writer, and in the second book he has written since being unemployed he takes some shots at FOX News and both FOX Chairman Roger Ailes and News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

For instance, Raines says:

"FOX, by its mere existence, undercuts the argument that the public is starved for 'fair' news, and not just because FOX shills for the Republican Party and panders to the latest of America's periodic religious manias."

Let me see. Is there an episode in the ten-year history of FOX News that rivals the Jayson Blair fiasco? Have we had to print many thousand-word retractions and self-introspections after being caught faking front-page news?

No, we have not.

We also didn't fire a reporter because her colleagues couldn't stand what she was writing after we promised to stand by her while she sat in jail resisting a subpoena.

That would be Judith Miller, whose offense was to accept the possibility — as all the world did except The New York Times — that Saddam did have WMD. They fried her at The Times for that. By the way, the latest news proves she was right and Raines and the rest of The Times Bush haters were wrong.

Raines goes on:

"The key to understanding FOX News is to grasp the anomalous fact that its consumers know its 'news' is made up. It matters not when critics point this out to FOXite consumers because they've understood it from the outset. That's why they're there."

Or put another way, Raines and The Times types think you are stupid. You want made-up news. They know this because you don't want The Times' made-up news, in which they make up grave threats to the environment if someone drills for oil, or they make up another day America is the world's worst citizen or, worse, they reveal secrets to the terrorists on how we are tracking terrorists to kill them or jail them.

That is Raines' New York Times. And yet it is Roger and Rupert and Bill and maybe even me who are the bad guys. And it is you who are stupid, willing consumers of the news we produce while being so stubborn and foolish as to ignore the fictions they produce and call "all the news fit to print." Fit, indeed, for the fiction section.

There are tons of differences between FOX and The New York Times, starting with we don't make this stuff up, and they have a record of doing just that. But there is also the untidy matter that the record also shows they — Raines in particular — have been caught. Raines was even fired for his part in fiction parading as news at The Times.

So he's mouthing off about FOX? It appears his retirement package wasn't enough. He still has to make a living selling fiction to the true believers.

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