BY ERIC BOEHLERT FOR MEDIA MATTERS My guess is that Fox News guru Roger Ailes has been reaching for the Tums more often than usual early in the New Year, and there are lots of reasons for the hovering angst. Let’s take an extended multiple choice quiz. Right now, which of the following topics is likely causing the discomfort inside Ailes’ Fox News empire?
A) CNN’s resurgence as the go-to cable destination for election coverage.
B) The incredible shrinking candidacy of Fox News’ favored son, Rudy Giuliani.
C) The still-standing candidacy of Fox News nemesis and well-funded, anti-war GOP candidate Rep. Ron Paul.
D) The Democratic candidates’ blanket refusal to debate on Fox News during the primary season.
E) Host Bill O’Reilly being so desperate for an interview from a Democratic contender that he had to schlep all the way to New Hampshire, where he shoved an aide to Sen. Barack Obama and then had to be calmed down by Secret Service agents.
F) Former Fox News architect and Ailes confidante Dan Cooper posting chapters from his a wildly unflattering tell-all book about his old boss. (“The best thing that ever happened to Roger Ailes was 9/11.”)
G) The fledgling Fox Business Network, whose anemic ratings are in danger of being surpassed by some large city public access channels.
H) Host John Gibson‘s recent heartless attacks on actor Heath Ledger, just hours after the young actor was found dead.
Bottom line is that Fox News is in for a very rough 2008. And the umbrella reason for that is quite simple: Eight years ago the all-news cable channel went all-in on the presidency of George Bush and became a broadcast partner with the White House… and made an obvious decision to appeal almost exclusively to Republican viewers. The good news then for Fox News was that it succeeded. The bad news now for Fox News is that it succeeded. Meaning, when the GOP catches a cold, everybody at Fox News gets sick. MORE