A front-page story in today’s New York Times strongly suggests that Roger Ailes–the News Corp executive who runs the Fox News Channel, the Fox Business Network, and Fox broadcast stations–urged a witness to lie to federal officials in order to protectfriend and politician Rudolph Giuliani.
If true, what may be most remarkable about the story is how unsurprising it is coming from Fox. Other networks surely harbor biases, but it would be surprising to find, say, that a top ABC News executive had suborned perjury in a partisan ploy to protect a politician.
But if the allegations against Ailes are true, it’s only the latest glimpse of the culture of lying that pervades Fox and its News Corp parent.
The case, heard before a Florida court in 2002-03, was appealing a $425,000 judgment against Fox, that found its local Tampa affiliate WTVT had wrongfully fired reporter Jane Akre when she refused to falsify a story about the safety of Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). WTVT‘s pressure on Akre and her partner Steve Wilson to insert false material into the story reportedly came after Monsanto, which produces BGH, complained to Ailes about the anticipated report.(Ailes was not directly in charge of Fox broadcast stations at the time; he wouldn’t assume that job until 2005, but was known as one of the most powerful and influential News Corp executives.)