Howell Raines lost his executive editor's job at The New York Times for promoting the career of Jayson Blair, a black drug addict and fantasist who invented entire stories describing the hills of West Virginia from a saloon down the street in New York. But somehow, Raines still imagines himself a media Bigfoot who can pronounce on the State of Journalism, a one-man Pulitzer Prize panel. This is a little like a White House chef who poisoned an entire state-dinner crowd mounting a soapbox to lecture that the new chefs can't be trusted.
Of course, that soapbox must be provided first. So who would give this naked man a fig leaf of respectability? The Washington Post would.
The Posties awarded Raines their marquee venue -- the Sunday Outlook section -- to denounce Fox News Channel and its owner, Rupert Murdoch. Announcing this was tugging at his "professional conscience" (thus suggesting he has one), Raines demanded to know "Why can't American journalists steeped in the traditional values of their profession be loud and candid about the fact that Murdoch does not belong to our team?"
What has Murdoch done to break with the "team" of American media? Raines lamented his "blatant political alliances started our slide to quasi-news. His British papers famously promoted Margaret Thatcher's political career." No! But wait, this one's even more rich; he also declared, "For the first time since the yellow journalism of a century ago, the United States has a major news organization devoted to the promotion of one political party."
Raines expects people to believe you can say "news media" and "Barack Obama" and not think "blatant political alliance." On Sunday, his New York Times published a half-page "photo illustration" of Obama's head at the center of a cross, surrounded by a halo glow of white light.
But let's continue. Raines then indicted Fox News president Roger Ailes. "Through clever use of the Fox News Channel and its cadre of raucous commentators, Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II."
After sentences like that, conservatives have to put the paper down. The laughter is beginning to deprive oxygen to the lungs.
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