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Roger Ailes' Triumph -- Even NPR concedes the importance of being "fair and balanced"

Written By mista sense on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | 6:06 AM

The Daily Beast/Newsweek's Howard Kurtz, describing damage-control efforts at National Public Radio, quotes NPR's Scott Simon using the "f" and "b" words--"fair and balanced" to describe the journalistic aspirations of NPR talent.  This is important, folks, to see NPR types embracing Fox's famous motto as their own.   That is, the central idea of Roger Ailes 15 years ago, when he founded Fox News, is now enshrined in the minds of NPR journos.  Yes, there are two sides to every story, and reporters, in any news outlet, should cover both. 

Here's how Kurtz quoted Simon, who not only praises the idea of "fair and balance" but slams ex-NPR exec Ron Schiller in harsh terms:

Scott Simon, who hosts Weekend Edition Saturday, says that “every NPR journalist I know makes a real attempt to be fair and balanced. That’s why Schiller’s remarks were so repugnant to me … Ron Schiller seemed to be expressing an almost perfect caricature of a smug, elitist, toadying viewpoint.”

As an aside, we might wonder, of course, if Simon had every noted Schiller's defects before Schiller was fired.   But the bigger news is the obvious reality that even NPR now concedes that "fair and balanced"--once again, covering both sides of a story--is now the way to do journalism.

Some might say that Simon doesn't mean it.  Some might recall the famous epigram, "Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue."  Or Simon might really have learned something from Fox, and from the obvious failures of NPR.  Only time will tell.

But for now, we know that "fair and balanced" is the new metric.  And that''s the triumph of Roger Ailes.  His vision has not only given us Fox, but also has elevated the standard of journalism overall.

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