The “brilliance” of Fox News is based on its ability to stick with a single story and force others to pay attention to it day and day and the off-air “maneuvers of its PR department,” according to David Folkenflik’s new book, “Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires.”
The book is a delight for admirers and critics of audacious 82-year-old Aussie swashbuckler Rupert Murdoch, whose former lieutenants are currently trying to stave off jail time as their hacking trail began today in London’s Old Bailey courthouse.
Folkenflik, who is media correspondent at National Public Radio, says Fox’s PR unit is a master at unleashing a barrage of questions at inquiring reporters, asking about a focus of a piece, quotes, other sources and suggested points to pursue. Instead of “fair and balanced,” Fox’s PR strategy is to keep nosy reporters fairly off balance.
“These questions are intended to steer coverage, glean coverage, head off unflattering conclusions, and even intimidate reporters from interviewing people at other cable outlets,” Folkenflik wrote.
While tipping his hat to other network PR units, he wrote that Team Fox’s “creativity far surpasses such controlling techniques, as it believes its bargaining position has solidified with its ratings lead.”
The author has spoken with Fox TV domo Roger Ailes only a couple of times. He recalls a 2007 meeting at a Fox event staged at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Upon their reintroduction, Fox’s leader ripped Folkenflix for a story that he did six years earlier about Geraldo Rivera, saying “You f------- us.!”
When a photographer snapped a picture of the duo, Ailes said: “Won’t this upset all those left-wing friends of yours at the parties you go to?” Ailes is a true inspiration to the Fox PR team.
Neither News Corp. nor Rupert Murdoch’s family directly cooperated with Folkenflix on his book. He claims they discouraged others from doing so.