Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
After one hundred days, the wait is over: Pete Souza's Gargantuan Presidential High-Definition Executive Flickrdump is here. Warning: If you put it on fullscreen you won't get anything else done for a while.
White House acts to shed arrogant image. The White House will set up a new office to try to salvage America's plummeting image abroad, it was announced yesterday as an independent taskforce reported that even the country's allies saw the US as "arrogant", "hypocritical" and "self-absorbed". This autumn, an office of global communications will take over the job of selling "Brand America" from the state department, which the White House believes has failed to do the job effectively. Propaganda to garner support for an invasion in Iraq, genuine desire to promote the image of the country, or a meaningless facade that's a waste of money? You make the call.
White House summons biz chieftains The industry's top leaders, including Viacom Inc. chairman Sumner Redstone and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, will assemble in Beverly Hills Sunday morning with Karl Rove, the president's senior adviser, to hammer out a specific agenda for the entertainment industry to aid the fight on terrorism. They say it's not about propaganda, it's to identify strategies and agree on practical ideas, which may involve films as well as TV messages. Huh? That sounds like propaganda to me.