Opinion Brief

Fox News vs. Obama: Roger Ailes on the attack

What does the Fox News chairman mean when he says Obama has a "different belief system than most Americans"? And is that comment "fair and balanced"?

Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes let it "rip" in a rare interview with The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, defending his network's "fair and balanced" coverage, trashing his competitors, alternately chiding and praising Fox stars Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, and criticizing Obama's "socialism." At one point, while discussing the president, Ailes asserted that Obama "just has a different belief system than most Americans" — a statement Kurtz calls a "rather loaded phrase." What is Ailes talking about? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about Ailes' comments)

Whose beliefs are out of sync?: Ailes' "nauseating twaddle" is dangerously unglued from reality, says Joe Klein in Time. Does he seriously believe a "moderate Democrat like Obama" is a "left-wing socialist"? His network sure seems to. But Ailes' paranoid "mouthpieces" Hannity and Beck "represent — on a good day — the views of maybe 30 percent of all Americans," so if anyone's beliefs are out of step with America, it's Ailes'."Start stopped"

His words were blunt, but Ailes is right: "Different belief system" may be a loaded phrase, "but it seems apt," says Don Surber in the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. Most Americans view the Constitution "as a restriction on the government," but Obama thinks government should be expanded to redistribute wealth and mandate some sort of "social justice." In other words, as Ailes says, Obama is "a failed socialist," and clearly "that is a different belief system.""Roger Ailes: Obama's a failed socialist"

Why is Ailes showing his true colors so openly now?: Agree with Ailes or not, his comments on Obama are "startlingly un-fair-and-balanced," says Jeff Bercovici in Forbes. And that's new. Until recently he and his boss, Rupert Murdoch (who gave heavily and openly to the GOP this year) strove for "plausible deniability" about Fox's conservative leanings. So why are they "parting the veil" now? Gloating? Vindication? Maybe, at this point, they "just don't give a fig.""Why is Fox News suddenly owning up to its politics?"

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