If you’re used to watching Fox News, you may notice a lot less face time by political analysts Karl Rove and Dick Morris.
New York Magazine is reporting the top-rated cable-news network is doing some “post-election soul searching,” and Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, is changing the characters who appear as talking heads on the air.
“According to multiple Fox sources, Ailes has issued a new directive to his staff,” reports Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine. “He wants the faces associated with the election off the air – for now. For Karl Rove and Dick Morris – a pair of pundits perhaps most closely aligned with Fox’s anti-Obama campaign – Ailes’s orders mean new rules.”
Among the reported new rules is a mandate from Fox News programming chief Bill Shine that producers receive permission before booking Rove or Morris for an appearance.
Both pundits were on the air in the immediate aftermath of last month’s election, “but their visibility on the network has dropped markedly,” wrote Sherman.
He continued: “Inside Fox News, Morris’s Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line. At a rehearsal on the Saturday before the election, according to a source, anchor Megyn Kelly chuckled when she relayed to colleagues what someone had told her: ‘I really like Dick Morris. He’s always wrong but he makes me feel good.’”
A spokesperson for the network confirmed to the magazine that the new booking rules indeed exist, saying Shine’s message was “the election’s over.”
Dick Morris had famously, and wrongly, predicted that Romney would win the election in a landslide, and Ailes was said to be less than thrilled when Rove disputed his own network’s call that Obama won the state of Ohio, and thus, the presidential race.
In an interview with TVNewser last month, Ailes recounted the Rove challenge on Election Night.
“I turn on the TV and the first thing I see is Rove saying something like ‘You called Ohio too early.’ And I thought, ‘What the? What is this?’,” Ailes said. “So I quickly called [executive vice president of news] Michael Clemente and I said, ‘Michael whatever you do, don’t go to commercial. Don’t leave the screen.’”
Ailes told Clemente to have anchorwoman Megyn Kelly, “go confront the decision team. If you have to, make the decision team confront Rove.”
Ailes indicated he sought broadcast transparency.
“I didn’t want the public or our competitors to say we somehow panicked and didn’t confront the truth on camera,” he said. “As it turned out Rove was wrong. He backed down. Our guys were right. We stayed with it. Megyn did her famous walk down the hall. And it all worked out.”
Even before the election took place, there were some in the media calling for Rove’s ouster from the Republican Party after he had joked that Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin be murdered after making a gaffe with the term “legitimate rape.”
WND Editor Joseph Farah wrote in one column that “Karl Rove is a monster,” and in another, “Nobody elected Rove. He is not a political genius. He is the ‘architect’ only of a big fact bank account, a hyper-inflated ego and a big mouth. It’s long past time for him to go.”
Joe Garofoli, a blogger for the San Francisco Chronicle, gave his take on the removal of Rove and Morris, saying, “Apparently, their visual musk is such a powerful reminder of their Election Night failures that their airtime must be limited, or else it could induce nausea among viewers. Apparently.”