Our blog doesn’t have a narrow topic list. We do want you to find our posts interesting, but I think Lars and I usually allow our own interests to guide the subjects of our posts and only occasionally rule something out as off-topic. This post is probably in off-topic territory. It may even be gossip, but I hope you’ll find it worthwhile.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 23, 2016
Several weeks ago, long-time Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against network chairman Roger Ailes, who has since resigned. She called him a serial harasser, claimed he said many outrageous things over the years, and hindered her career because she refused him.
Granted, I don’t know Carlson personally, but I have heard her many times on the radio, occasionally on TV, and have complete faith in her. She seems to be an intelligent person who does not toe a party line but perseveres in independent thinking. She never impressed me as someone trivial or petty. When I heard of her lawsuit, I believed it on its face, because she has credibility with me. Though I’ve seen some defense of Ailes and discrediting of Carlson by other Fox News hosts, several women have also told their stories to Carlson’s lawyer.
Now we learn Andrea Tantaros is also suing Fox News executives for condoning, if not contributing to, sexual harassment, and I believe her, not because of any suspicion I have of Ailes or the people she names, but because I trust her. She impresses me as a strong, intelligent, capable woman. In the suit, she describes at least some of the process she walked through to get grievances like this addressed within the system. Her accusations were dismissed, so as not to rock the boat.
Both of these women have convinced me they are truthful, rational people who don’t give into propaganda, which perhaps is all I’m trying to say. That’s the platform Fox News helped them build, which you could say is the same platform you find at other networks for other news anchors and commentators, but as Tantaros says in the quotation above, Fox is different. Though Fox News as a whole is not the conservative mouthpiece its detractors claim it is, many of its hosts are conservative or lean that way. They give our side of the political argument ample airtime.
Conservatism is the political ideology that argues for common dignity, recognizing that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. We don’t use each other. We don’t encourage victimhood under the guise of empowerment. We argue for restraint at every level, which obviously includes moral restraint. Self-control is one aspect of the love that makes any society flourish.
Fox News has always had an uneasy relationship with the moral aspects of conservative ideology in that they have yet to cut their roots in tabloid journalism. Perhaps that’s just the way establishment Republicans roll, advocating conservative economics with one hand while supporting self-undermining morality with the other. It does them no favors, because their audience, I assume, does not put politics over truth on every issue. Maybe with some things we do; it’s a potential blind spot for everyone. But for the most part, we work to recognize the truth for what it is.
Tantaros and Carlson are truth-tellers in practice and by reputation. If they have exaggerated or lied in any of their claims, I hope the truth will out them, but until that time, my biases are with them.