A Memo From the Beginning of the Roger Ailes Era — New York Magazine

Frank Rich on Fox News, Roger Ailes -- New York Magazine


Illustration by Tony Millionaire

In May well 1974, Roger Ailes got his initial television-news task as a PR marketing consultant at a fledging community named TVN, founded to battle the perceived liberal consensus of the Major 3. Ailes, in spite of his inexperience, was promoted to information director 4 months later on. In a 1975 programming memo, excerpted down below, Bruce Herschensohn, a former Nixon aide and film director, described how TVN could adapt the tips and tropes of television news to conservative finishes.

Development of Information:
We can ship a newsman and a digicam crew in excess of to the Capitol and speak to a congressman or senator about “the story.” If the congressman or senator is prepared, we can generate information in an fast. Most are willing. It is an opportunity to be witnessed and heard. If it doesn’t convert out [the way we] needed, we can toss it absent.

Case in point:
The most clear illustrations had been the congressmen and senators selected for interviews throughout the period of time of time fees were getting manufactured from President Nixon and his administration. At the outset of the rates, when there was a balance of views in the congress, the viewer been given an unbalanced selectivity of men and women selected for interviews. At the time [Watergate special prosecutor] Archibald Cox was discharged the networks ran nineteen congressional attacks and two defenses, although this was not consultant. Within times Walter Cronkite experienced an eleven minute job interview with Archibald Cox on the CBS Evening News, without any defender.

Pretense Balancing:
The motive is to clearly show that the presentation is displaying “all sides” of a distinct story when, in simple fact, the balance is tilted.

Instance:
On Vietnam Veterans Day of 1974, there ended up 3 segments to CBS’s news protection of that occasion. The initially was the ceremony at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery, the 2nd was Vietnam Veterans who were being dissenting on Capitol Hill, and the third was the story of a veteran who had his experience blown to bits in the Vietnam conflict, and who experienced horrible and unjust difficulties with the Veterans Administration. This still left the audience with a few tales “regarding Vietnam Veterans Working day,” just one favorable and two unfavorable. The favorable story and the 1st unfavorable tale (the dissenters on Capitol Hill) had been certainly news tales of actions carried out in recognition of Vietnam Veterans Working day. The 3rd story, which tilted the equilibrium, was not a information tale, but a story that had been noted months earlier to this newscast.

Commentator Speculations Which Appear to Be Factual:
Although the text are couched and the intervals are in the ideal locations separating information from speculation, the conclusion outcome of this system achieves a certain function.

Instance:
Dan Schorr wrapped up his October 18, 1974 report on the CIA by stating: “The era of covert functions isn’t ending, just evolving. There is reason to believe that ideal now in there, they’re performing on contingency options, if known as on, for some of the world’s unstable areas. Portugal, Spain, Italy, the Arab Oil States could be the next goal.” The very last sentence was completely speculative and couched with the phrases “could be” but because of the specificity of nations and regions named, the audience effect was that Daniel Schorr was reporting points.

Capture-Phrases:
Capture-phrasing is a printed word and an audio method which has been streamlined by television newscasts with the use of very easily remembered catchphrases which seem to be factual nevertheless they are, in actuality, editorializations.

Illustration:
“The Saturday Night time Massacre,” “The Mysterious Alert,” “Operation Candor,” and the word “Watergate” by itself, which was utilized to residence any and all unrelated fees in opposition to the administration by the use of a term where a recognized criminal motion did, in reality, consider spot.

Sex Charm:
A pretty woman in a group or as an interviewee can do miracles in influencing a individual stage-of-see. It can be used at will.

Case in point:
CBS protection of the anti-Cambodian incursion demonstration in May possibly 1970. It appeared as although all the really women have been from the incursion, and all the unsightly kinds had been for it.



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