Editorial Stokes Debate Over Journalistic Integrity

By Andrew Gauthier 


A Washington Post editorial written by former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines has sparked a media conversation about the influence of Fox News and drawn the ire of, among others, Bill O’Reilly.

The Washington Post published an editorial last week in which Raines asked, “Why haven’t America’s old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration?”

Raines, whose tenure at The New York Times was marked by the newspaper’s Jayson Blair scandal, immediately drew criticism from powers at Fox News. “We find it ironic,” said a Fox News spokesperson, “that Howell is dispensing advice to other journalists after he nearly single handedly destroyed the journalistic credibility of the New York Times.” Bill O’Reilly echoed this sentiment during his show on Friday night, citing the Blair scandal as well as the newspaper’s dubious reports on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. “Incredibly,” O’Reilly said, “Howell Raines has cast himself as the keeper of the journalistic flame.”

The Raines piece stoked debate on Twitter on Friday as NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen called out ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper for once pressing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the administration’s stance on Fox News. Tapper shot back: “ive called plenty of reports false. dont need lectures on propaganda from the guy who put judy miller’s stories on A1.”