Pundits Like Rove Come and Go - Fox News Only Cares About the Numbers
Who could have guessed that Karl Rove would be Fox News’ Howard Beale? “Turn the machines back on” is not exactly “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”, but it’s true enough that, like Beale, Rove “ran out of bullshit” to say on air.
He also may have sparked a programming shift at his network - though it appears to have started with him getting less airtime, not (like Beale) more.
Fox News’ president, Roger Ailes, decreed last week that producers cannot book Rove, along with amateur podiatrist and professional irritant Dick Morris, for their shows without prior permission from upper management. This should dilute their presence on the network: programming chief Bill Shine said it was because “the election’s over”, but it’s difficult not to make the connection between Rove and Morris having made the wrongest of a series of wrong predictions from Fox contributors.
In the run-up to the election, almost all Fox’s on-air talent participated in the fantasy that the polls were skewed and the country was on the verge of rebellion against the communist Kenyan who worshiped Allah in the White House - but Morris and Rove described especially vivid fever dreams. Morris predicted that Obama would lose by an almost-mathematically impossible landslide; Rove, on election night, unspooled a Romney-wins-Ohio narrative so ridiculous it had to be challenged on air. This from a network that still promulgates the existence of massive Democratic voter fraud and denies global warming.
But before we begin to calibrate the moment Fox brings Keith Olbermann out of retirement, let’s remember that Rove hasn’t actually begun his. He is still a highly-paid contributor, and the whole “ask permission” situation isn’t a ban - though it has been widely characterized as such by gleeful liberal commentators.
You know what we call doing less work for the same money around my house? A promotion.