Sexual harassment allegations by female employees have proved to be the downfall of Roger Ailes, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Fox News. They have resulted in his resignation after 20 years. Sexual harassment had been going on for a long time and, until now, kept under wraps.
Press and Tv
We publish the review that Jim Sleeper wrote in 2013 for the Columbia Journalism Review on Zev Chafets's book Roger Ailes Off Camera.When I published Liberal Racism in 1997 (with a chapter on how The New York Times was misrepresenting racial politics under editorial-page editor Howell Raines), I was interviewed on Fox News, which I’d barely heard of, by Bill O’Reilly, whom I hadn’t heard of at all. The encounter was anodyne, but before long I noticed that the network was not. Under its president Roger Ailes, who had pitched his vision of Fox to a receptive Rupert Murdoch only a year before I met O’Reilly, it was rapidly becoming what Zev Chafets calls “transformational” in American media and political culture. By treating journalism as if it’s all about ratings and show, Fox actually makes a profoundly political statement by eviscerating what democratic politics really stands for.
As one looks back over the past six years of public debate about the war in Iraq one sees a shifting array of justifications for fighting it. Too often, misperceptions have filled the empty space. But many of these misperceptions have not been random or merely the product of a uniquely American strain of intellectual laziness or ignorance. Rather, they have been the product of the nature of contemporary television and calculated efforts to shape perceptions. Television has been used as an instrument of deception aimed at people ill-equipped to defend themselves against highly charged but intellectually bankrupt and mendacious claims made repeatedly by the Bush administration and its neoconservative allies in US Congress and the political intelligentsia. News in the United States too often is what officials say it is.
“We are facing a generation who is getting all its information online. The consequence is that one’s points of reference are so multiple that they may not intersect and a common world may not emerge. But fragmentation can also bring effervescence - says Seyla Benhabib, philosopher and Professor of political science and philosophy at Yale, interviewed by Karin Wahl-Jorgensen - One medium that is in great crisis is television. I would like to see a citizens’ forum, rather than these continuously self-referential talking heads and so-called experts. We extend the boundaries of our sympathy by understanding the conditions of others who may be radically different than us – she concludes – At its best journalism does this; it extends your vision of the world by making you see the world through the eyes of the others.”
“So many people are spreading hate and fighting, that we feel we should spread peace and love by means of the true message of Islam. We only represent moderate and modern Islam”. Tareq Al-Suwaidan, producer of a new religious channel in Kuwait (Al-Risala), tells us about the goals of their television programme: “We show that being Muslim also means appreciating beauty, as Muslims we can enjoy ourselves, live in peace and love everyone – says Al-Suwaidan, Kuwaiti businessman who lived in the United States for 17 years. Thanks to new forms of media, freedom of expression has taken a huge step forward in comparison to twenty years ago. I truly believe that in 20 years the Arab world will be very different, more modern, and able to compete with the leaders of the world”.
“I disagree with Martha Nussbaum. Islam is not compatible in its current form with democracy. Does she believe these women live in isolated pure Islamic enclaves that exist as parallel societies with no cross fertilization from other cultural groupings in India?”, asks our reader Ignatius Chamberlain. “Martha Nussbaum is totally disingenuous. To take one issue, her objection to the ban on the ‘wearing of traditional dress’, which she finds ridiculous because we deal all the time with people who are covered, e.g., surgeons – writes Elizabeth Powers - Let that surgeon wear a face mask into a bank and see if people don't treat him as a security risk”. Send us your opinion. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Repubblica correspondent Daniele Mastrogiacomo has been kidnapped in Afghanistan, where he was simply carrying out his work as a journalist, in search of news. His newspaper has published a message in Italian, English, Arabic, Pashtu and Farsi. Voices of support and solidarity are arriving from all over the world. If you would like to add your signature, click here. Here is the text of the appeal: “Daniele Mastrogiacomo is a Repubblica journalist. He has no links of any kind to any military organisation, nor to any secret police or intelligence services of any kind, or of any country. Mastrogiacomo has been in Kandahar since Sunday the 4th March exclusively and solely to write news reports.”
Polygamy is not just an Islamic custom. It is indeed also practiced in the West, at the heart of the very West Islamists dislike most: the United States of America. An American TV channel has been airing a series that portrays a fictional fundamentalist Mormon group practicing polygamy. The show has been very successful and TV specialists view it as a way of reflecting on the meaning of family life. Mormons – the real ones – didn’t appreciate it much. Although it is just fiction, the show has perfect timing and it makes us think about ourselves: our own imperfections, our own dark sides.
Based on the book:Spin.Trucchi e tele-imbrogli della politica by Giancarlo Bosetti, published by Marsilio Editore, 2007.
The Arab media are steering political discourse to a direction totally contradictory to the spirit of the Arab uprisings. Arabs came together, regardless of their religious and ethnic affiliation, to overthrow the dictatorships and establish democratic states where individuals are valued and respected as citizens. They wanted to put an end to the culture of subjecthood. But reality is staggering and disappointing sometimes. What we are witnessing these days is a rhetorical shift from the peaceful revolution, which is a patchwork, made of all Arab social and religious fabric, to the revival of old-fashioned confessional, religious and ethnic discords.
The proliferation of totalitarian regimes in the Arab world has certainly not helped the publishing industry. Perhaps the Arab spring, with the emergence of more democratic political systems, will help overcome censorship. However, the reemergence of the book, being not only a cultural but also a commercial product, will also depend on the fate of the markets.
It is very important to assess how audiences in the region perceive the Arabic TV services of International Satellite Broadcasters such as Deutsche Welle, France 24 and Russia Today. Most of the time, foreign Arabic-speaking channels fail "to win the hearts and minds" of the Arab public for three reasons: arrogance, impatience, and lack of listening from the communicators' side. Foreign Offices must be humble enough to admit mistakes. The Arab public is more likely to expect propaganda and spin rather than truth from TV channels like Deutsche Welle, France 24, or Russia Today.