Note: this is a top secret memo passed to us by an anonymous source.
Dear competitors over there at the New York Times:
I know it is unusual for someone like myself to offer advice to a liberal icon like The Times, but, to be really honest, it’s just not fun anymore for us over here at Fox to compete with a news organization that simply refuses to use all the modern tricks of the trade that we have pioneered here at Fox in order to go beyond the incredibly old fashioned – “who, how, when, where and why”, “Just the facts, ma’am” approach of traditional journalism.
Let’s just take your recent coverage of the problems in the rollout of ObamaCare as an absolutely perfect example. Your reporters interviewed relevant experts and participants about the design of the websites and – while they most certainly pointed out that GOP attempts to block the rollout played a significant role in the problems of the site – they still basically apportioned the culpability evenly among the technology companies, the integrators and the subcontractors, the government bureaucracies and the political actors. As a result, your story has ended up being used by conservatives and nonpartisan moderates to criticize the rollout as well as by your core liberal readership to defend it.
Gee whiz guys come on and wake up. I mean that is just so, so, so completely 20th century old-fashioned. Haven’t you learned any lessons at all from watching us at Fox all these years? You just gotta know that we don’t play games like that over here. Heck, right off the top of my head here are three incredibly simple suggestions that would ideologically supercharge your coverage and make it 100% liberal friendly and 100% conservative-proof.
Number 1: pick some completely helpless fall-guys/suckers from the other side and make them the designated villain. Remember how we at Fox dug up those two sad-sack goof-offs from the New Black Panthers who stood for 4 minutes in front of a Black precinct before they were run off by the cops? We ran over 100 prime time segments about those two guys – guys who were literally no-bodies. Heck, we ran repeated prime time interviews between them and our A-one top-rated commentators. And guess what. Now millions of Americans believe that every election day thousands of Black militants with berets and nightsticks are rampaging across America threatening any white voters who dare to vote for anyone except the illegitimate, welfare-dependent children of Stokely Carmichael and Eldridge Cleaver.
Now that’s 21st century journalism.
And don’t tell me you guys don’t know how to find two teen-age white supremacists or Ayn Rand dittoheads somewhere in the United States of America who tried to hack into the federal exchange website and trash it with swastikas copied from biker tattoo web sites or “Who is John Galt” photoshopped graphics. I promise you, there are an absolutely amazing number of guys like that out there somewhere (we get job applications from them all the time). It doesn’t matter at all that they didn’t succeed in hacking the website, or that (like everyone else) they couldn’t even get onto the site to get registered. The point is that they really, really, really wanted to trash the system and they definitely look like they grew up smoking medical marijuana, drinking beer and playing violent video games in a Arkansas trailer park. I guarantee you, if you run lurid front page stories about these two guys for a month or two, your readers will end up thinking everything that went wrong with the rollout is entirely their fault.
Second, prominently feature interviews with a succession of self-proclaimed “experts” who will back up whatever completely wacky stuff you want them to say. Remember, anyone who has ever self-published a book about the Knights Templar, Frank Sinatra and the Lincoln assassination or who has run for office as a Republican and been grotesquely beaten or who has who once worked for a politician whose name is still vaguely familiar can still be passed off as a legitimate political “expert” just as long as his shirt and tie more or less match his jacket and he doesn’t drool excessively whenever he speaks. All that is really necessary is that he be solemnly introduced as an expert by a well-known celebrity commentator. Case in point: Dick Morris. We had him on countless times and we would have continued with him forever except that finally even the camera crew and the janitorial staff couldn’t stop laughing hysterically the minute he walked into the studio and we couldn’t find anybody to hold the camera steady without completely cracking up.
Now come on guys. You can to this too. Just Google an interlocking series of search terms like (1) “self-publishing” (2) “Microsoft robot sex control conspiracy theories”, (3) “Nixon is alive and preforming marriages in a Las Vegas wedding chapel”, (4) “death panels” and (5) “Glen Beck is the anti-Christ’s personal injury lawyer” and I absolutely guarantee you that you will come up with at least six completely bonkers book authors who will be able to hold out for at least six solid minutes talking about the dark forces that are behind the sabotage of the Federal website before they begin to babble about the Bavarian Illuminati or the Etruscan snake cult of King Tut.
Third, use guilt-by-association and Freudian free-association rather than deductive logic to interpret events. Here’s a simple example — the sign-up subsystem of the Obama federal health care website was designed by a subsidiary of Larry Ellison’s Oracle corp. Larry Ellison, who is a rather eccentric multi-billionaire, has repeatedly donated money to the National GOP Senatorial Campaign Committee and even on one occasion to a PAC called “Every Republican is Crucial.”
Now, OK, it is also true that Ellison has contributed to many Democrats (including Harry Reid), and is not generally considered a political conservative but this can easily be dismissed as window dressing to obscure his deeper, rather mysterious commitments. After all, just consider the absolutely damning facts that he lives in a home he had designed as a 16 century Japanese Sukiya (noble house), has given his son an advanced jet fighter aircraft as a 16th birthday present and has frequently sneered at Steve Jobs as “a hippy” and you have a perfect “I tell you, there’s something funny about that guy, I don’t trust him” villain upon whom to cast all suspicion for the failure of the Federal Health Care Reform Website.
You know, I could go on for hours explaining to you guys how to run a 21st century news operation but if these three examples are not enough to convince you that you are way, way behind the times, probably nothing ever will. So go right ahead and keep trying to report the facts and being fair-minded and objective. You might as well write your copy with quill pens and print your paper on Guttenberg’s press. You guys have absolutely no idea at all how “news” is produced in the 21st century.