Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How Fox Plays Hardball -- Fox News Media Relations, that is

Fascinating story by David Carr about the challenges when Fox News is part of a reporter's new beat. Check out "When Fox News Is the Story."

The article lays out the aggressive, political-campaign-like tactics that Fox News deploys against reporters who it thinks has written negative articles about the channel. My favorite tidbit: According to Carr, despite repeated calls by Timesman Jacques Steinberg for a recent article, "the public relations people at Fox News did not return his requests for comment. (In a neat trick, while they were ignoring his calls, they e-mailed his boss asking why they had not heard from him.)"

The reason for playing hardball? According to the head of Fox News' Media Relations, Brian Lewis: “Yes, we are an aggressive department in a passive industry, and believe me, the executives and talent appreciate it,” Mr. Lewis said, adding that with the 24-hour news cycle and the proliferation of blogs, a new kind of engagement and activism was required."

The article is filled with anecdotes about how Fox News media relations operates. An interesting coda is that the online version of the article has a correction in it: Carr had referenced TV Guide as being owned by News Corp. when in fact News Corp completed its sale in May.

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