Awww...I hurt Widdle Woger Ailes' delicate feelings.
I'm referring to powerful Fox News Czar Roger Ailes, who blasted this humble TV critic in two separate forums Sunday for a HuffPost blog I recently did about him.
Ailes claimed on his ABC's "This Week" appearance with Arianna Huffington that I'd referred to him as a "malignant tumor." I'd actually called him "a malignant tumor on the body politic." (But why quibble?).
The sulfurous Ailes, aka "The Human Eclipse" (Dave Letterman's old name for a beefier Al Roker) also complained to Politico's Ben Smith Sunday about my reference to him as a J. Edgar Hoover lookalike who had a face like a clenched fist.
This from the same guy who allows poisonous vipers like Ann Coulter access to the airwaves to unashamedly attack people. Who enables lunatic psychic exile Glen Beck to viciously insult the President while also encouraging armed shut-ins to temporarily leave their TV's and create public mayhem and civic unrest?
(As I've noted here, shut-ins ARE Fox Noise's prime demo).
What, two can't play this game?
I'm sorry if I hurt your delicate feelings, Roger....NOT.
Ailes, the de facto head of the Republican Party, has almost single-handedly polarized our political system and virtually destroyed decent public discourse of issues by keeping a kennel of staff pit bulls in full attack mode 24/7 on his dismal cable sideshow.
The same guy who's allowed traditional and thoughtful conservatives like George Will to be outnumbered 10 to 1 by right-wing extremists.
Jolly Roger then had the nerve at show's end to tell moderator Barbara Walters Sunday that Fox Noise is "the most trusted name in news."
And he said this with a straight face.
Jeez...personal attacks on uberfuhrer Ailes himself? That's going too far! After all, it might destroy decorum in the public media, and we wouldn't want to be party to that.
In 25 years of covering TV and radio for three major daily newspapers, I've seen and heard a lot of disgraceful things on the air, but nothing as astringent and poisonous as what Ailes' meat puppets do on a daily basis on the disgraceful Fox News.
I was a registered Republican when Fox News started. But I no longer want to be any part of what has evolved into a hate group, thanks largely to Fox creator Ailes.
For years, such people as Ailes &Co.were referred to by a perfectly useful term that has, sadly, fallen into disuse: Crackpots.
Ailes has given a powerful megaphone to crackpots and extremists.
May I remind The Human Eclipse of one of the revered Edward R. Murrow's most telling lines about being on TV:
"Just because your voice is amplified by the airwaves," the CBS icon said, "Doesn't mean that your opinions have any more validity than back in the days when they only carried down to the other end of the bar."
As for Fox's vaunted ratings, continuing the metaphor, a veteran conservative radio talk show host once scoffed to me:
"What do YOU think will draw a bigger crowd - a calm discussion of foreign policy, or two sailors duking it out down at the corner bar?"
Follow Bill Mann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/newsmann