It’s hard to tell which media outlet U.S. News & World Report‘s Washington Whispers Columnist Paul Bedard adores more — the Washington Examiner or Fox News. Our bet is on Fox News.
Let’s examine a common journalistic theme in Washington: What can access get you? In Bedard’s recent vanilla infused tome on the network, there is not one probing or challenging thought. Semi-retired Brit Hume looks back on Fox News’s hardscrabble story of being doubted to the explosive success is now. Is that supposed to be challenging? Bret Baier, Hume’s replacement, recalls tough times. Not trudging through the snow with frostbitten fingers tough. More like vanilla scented memories. Bedard writes, “But it was slow going. Baier says when he arrived in 1998, he’d have to explain to sources that, no, he didn’t work for the ‘Simpsons Fox,’ a reference to the entertainment channel.”
How about Hume’s thoughts on Fox News’ ongoing rep for being a media arm of the GOP? Hume says FNC covers an aspect of politics ignored by the liberal media — something we’ve never heard before. Any follow-ups? Nah. What about Hume’s reaction to FNC President Roger Ailes saying he hired former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin because she’s hot? Too risky. How about the assertion that the network has lost its sheen without Hume anchoring? Too much of a bother.
Access is grand, isn’t it?
We wrote Bedard to ask if Fox News placed restrictions or instructions on what questions he could ask Hume and Baier, as this is how the network typically operates. We also asked why he appeared to avoid asking challenging questions or follow-ups. He had no response.