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drama queens have their place...

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Message Jayne Stahl
Drama queens have their place, but not on Fox News, or so says Fox News chief Roger Ailes. What's ailing Ailes? The news chief tells the Associated Press that he was offended by what he calls former President Bill Clinton's "wild overreaction" to anchor Chris Wallace's cross-examination on Sunday. Can it be that Mr. Clinton wasn't prepared to take the witness stand? Moreover, it seems that Mr. Ailes cannot himself resist the temptation to engage in a bit of hyperbole when he refers to Clinton's tirade as "an assault on all journalists."

I suppose Ailes didn't consider it an assault on journalism, and a free press when two-thirds of their programming was devoted to Madame Monica, and the Fox hunt for articles of impeachment. Talk about "wild overreactions," to suggest that contempt for bias is hatred for journalists is the sort of thing one might expect from the publisher of the National Enquirer, but not the head of a major American television news network.

And, yes, what's ailing Ailes is that the former president responded with such vitriole to the "mild-mannered, and respectful" probing of anchor Chris Wallace. (AP) Indeed, Chris Wallace was about as retiscent as a seventh grade biology student sticking needles in an aesthesized frog. But, what happens when the anesthesia wears off? S urely the former president knew that when one enters a lion's den, one can expect to get a little mauled, particularly when that particular lion has a long history of mauling anything that doesn't reflect its own Republican and conservative worldview. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, and other progressive media watchdog groups, have long chastised Fox for its one-sided, and myopic reporting. What we saw on Sunday is what happens when a victim strikes back, and the victim ain't Fox News!

There is no small irony in the Fox news chief accusing a president who was violated by the neo-con news media of assaulting "all journalists." The press, in this country, was among the first casualties of the war on terror. The media has been plundered and raped by new FCC regulations which impose gargantuan, and obscene "indecency" fines on networks, and broadcasters, thereby censoring what we say and see on TV, and in the movies.

There is no small irony in the head of the penultimate conservative news network calling a former president who they previously scapegoated a hater of journalists in that, over the past five years, we've seen more harassment of the press than even Joe McCarthy could have imagined. So it is that a president, long famous for his drama queen antics, has now met his match in the head of Fox news who epitomizes purple prose in describing the victimization of his anchor. How is it that we can expect less than rage from a president who was tried, and convicted by the right wing media, and who has dared to speak up, finally, because he has nothing left to lose, but what's left of his dignity, and suggest that while the radical right are at the business of pointing fingers,they should point one in the right direction at the current president; and this constitutes an "assault on journalists?" After all, Fox knows a bit about assault; they've been attacking the truth for years.

Yes, yes, drama queens have their place, but it's not running network news shows.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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