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Rove on the Outs at Fox News

Is the man that was heralded and feared as the GOP mob boss only six months ago now a relic of the past?
 
 
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Following his embarrassing election night melt down, Karl Rove is being ostracized by Fox News. The station is scrambling to distance itself from election coverage that has called the station’s legitimacy into serious question.

As New York Magazine reports, “according to multiple Fox sources, Ailes has issued a new directive to his staff: He wants the faces associated with the election off the air — for now.”
 
The station issued directives that producers must get Fox’s permission before putting either Rove or his cohort Dick Morris on air.
 
This policy is a marked difference from the pre-election status quo, when Rove had seemingly limitless authority to use Fox News as a mouthpiece to promote Republican candidates, particularly the ones that Rove’s own super PAC was funding. 

 
In the lead-up to the election, Rove was widely considered the party’s “puppet master.”
 
In a profile in Vanity Fair, Craig Unger described Rove in all his glory:
 
"Undeniably, he’s back. He has re-invented himself. He is not merely Bush’s Brain; he’s the man who swallowed the Republican Party. As the maestro orchestrating the various super-pacs, he has inspired the wealthiest people on the right to pony up what could amount to $1 billion and has created an unelected position for himself of real enduring power with no term limits. Karl Rove has become the ultimate party boss." 
 
Yet, his term seems to have come to an abrupt end this week when Fox News chief Roger Ailes pulled the plug on Rove. Based on Ailes’ professional history, this decision likely did not stem from a legitimate concern about Rove’s journalistic ethics. Ailes has a long history of meddling in Republican politics, and his work sets a low bar for media professionalism. Before the election, he was caught multiple times encouraging Republican candidates to run against Obama, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former CIA director David Patraeus.
 
According to Media Matters, “The lax standards of accountability applied to Ailes trickle downward through the rest of Fox News. When it was revealed that Bill Sammon, Fox News' Washington managing editor, was directing news staff to cast doubt on climate science and tie President Obama to "Marxists" and "socialism" (an idea he later admitted to thinking was "far-fetched" and "mischievous"), Sammon faced no public consequences.”
 
Ailes decision to silence Rove, therefore, isn’t about how the former puppet master’s is obviously unfit for journalism based on his many conflicts of interest. It is, instead, a reflection on his waning political power after the election.
 
It’s important to remember, however, that Rove has been here before--and that each time he’s clawed his way back to the pinnacle of power. The disastrous end to the Bush presidency was widely thought to be the deathblow to Rove’s career, yet he bounced back by orchestrating the Citizen’s United decision and then taking full advantage of its effects.
 
The question is, then: How will Rove try to recover from today’s embarrassing fall from grace--and can he be stopped this time around?

Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and the author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," forthcoming from Zuccotti Park Press.

 
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