As I’m sure you’re aware by now, because I complained about it constantly, I have a personal interest in the role of Fox News in getting my current governor, John Kasich, elected. The media personalities on Fox (Governor Kasich’s former co-workers) weren’t subtle when promoting candidate Kasich.
Call me crazy, but I’m wondering how Fox News can cover Kasich in a fair and balanced fashion. They campaigned for him.
So this is interesting:
Gawker, the popular blog based in New York, is going to court to investigate the relationship between the Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes, and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
On Monday, the company and one of its reporters, John Cook, plan to file a civil suit against Mr. Christie’s office to try to obtain records of the communications between the two men. Mr. Cook, who regularly uses freedom of information and open public records acts to ferret out information for his Gawker articles, said the court action represents the first lawsuit filed by Gawker to obtain information.
Mr. Cook had already sent a request to Mr. Christie’s office for any letters, logs of phone calls or records of meetings between Mr. Ailes and Mr. Christie. Mr. Cook asserted that that communications trail should be available under the state’s open public records act, but in mid-June, Mr. Christie’s office said that the records, if they exist, would be exempt upon “executive privilege and well-settled case law.” To Mr. Cook, this was an implication that Mr. Ailes is a confidential adviser to Mr. Christie. After he said so in an article, the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union approached him and offered to take the case.
For Mr. Cook, the lawsuit may be a way to document the personal political engagement of Mr. Ailes, a person whom he has labeled a “propagandist” in repeated articles. In an interview, he asserted that the public has come to recognize that Fox News is an ideological outlet. “The next thing that I would like to be publicly acknowledged is not just that they’re ideological — they’re not just the TV equivalent of The Weekly Standard or something — they are actually a power base within the Republican Party,” he said.Through the lawsuit, Mr. Cook hopes to either obtain the records of contacts between the two men, or, alternatively, to have Mr. Christie’s office explain to a judge why each of the records is confidential. “That,” he said, “would be, in and of itself, a newsworthy outcome.”
I think the Ohio ACLU should follow the New Jersey ACLU. Transparency should certainly be in the interest of a free press, I would think, and last time I looked, Ohio had strong sunshine laws pertaining to public officials.