Monday, October 24, 2011

Ethics in Broadcast Journalism: Was it ethical for Fox News Chief Roger Ailes to make this remark about Sarah Palin?


Fox News Chief Hired Sarah Palin "Because She Was Hot"

Roger Ailes says his network tops its rivals because they "just are better television producers."


The Associated Press published a 1,500-word piece Wednesday about Roger Ailes and his still-ongoing career as the head of Fox News, but this 11-word quote from Ailes is sure to be the part that gets everyone talking (or at least clicking): “I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings.”

The AP story, written by national TV columnist Frazier Moore, doesn’t elaborate on the Palin hiring or her career as a Fox News pundit, but it does offer a few other potential pull quotes from Ailes (although none as sexy as his Palin admission).

On why Fox News succeeds: "The consistency of our product. I think we do better television than the other guys, and no matter how we do it, they don't seem to catch up. We seem to out-invent them and think ahead of them, and have better story ideas, better graphics, better on-air talent. We just are better television producers."

On the News Corp. hacking scandal: "I've stayed away from this News Corp. issue because it's not a Fox News issue. I know nothing more about it than I'm reading in the press, and I don't discuss it with Rupert [Murdoch]."

On CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: "Wolf Blitzer is an excellent reporter, but he's not a star."

And on what he’s learned as he gets older: "I don't rise to the occasion when there's no occasion. … When there IS an occasion, I will do what I have to do, and I will win. Is that mellowing? I tend to see it more as picking my battles a little better than I used to. That's probably the best thing I've learned: to save it for when you need it, because when you need it, you have to win."

1 comment:

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Let's be snide: Roger Ailes is not a journalist, he's a businessman. If he were a journalist, saying that he wrote something nice about a TV personality because she was "hot" might be considered unethical - if he had praised her for something other than her hotness. But if that was the thrust of the story ...?

Of course, it would be stupid for a mainstream journalist to seem so superficial. But that's not necessarily the same thing as being unethical.

Back to Ailes: He's just promoting his product, getting ink, creating buzz, possibly getting ready to unload a product that is past its shelf life.