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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ohio U. names journalism building after Roger Ailes; what's next, the Jimmy Dimora School of Manners?

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2008 at 12:30 PM

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If we give you a coupon to BW3s, Roger, would you name your neck C-Notes? Just wondering.
Shat hath hit the sputtering fan of journalism once again. The famed E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University has renamed its newsroom after Roger Ailes, a man who brazenly corrupts more or less everything they teach. Ailes is the president of Fox News Channel. He was hired in 1996 by Rupert Murdoch on the strength of his experience as a political spinster for Nixon, Reagan, and H.W. Bush. He transformed the news network into shout-and-be-damned shock center for conservative nut-bags. It was hit, of course, and it made him tons of cash. All he had to do was sell his soul. ... Last fall, Ailes donated an undisclosed but presumably obscene amount of cash to his alma mater to help it overhaul its newsroom. The journalism director, Tom Hodson, was happy to get the extra scrilla, and was fine with the condition that the old newsroom is renamed the Roger E. Ailes Newsroom. But, naturally, this has left some alumni quite pissed. In came letters to the Post, OU’s student-run daily newspaper, from former Bobcats who believed the the move disgraced their diploma. (Although according to Post’s managing editor, Dave Hendricks, the paper only received letters from alumni. Current students are likely thinking that they’re just happy to study in a building full of new toys.) Still, one letter printed was enough to warrant a response from Hodson, who answered in hypothetical language usually reserved for the humanities department:
“I think there is a bigger issue. Should a school, a college or a university openly discriminate among alumni regarding gifts based on political philosophy? To be fair to all alumni and mostly to our students, the answer needs to be ‘no.’ Should we accept gifts only from liberals or only from conservatives? Clearly, the answer is ‘no.’
His comments deftly avoid a greater point, one made by an astute online commenter, who wrote: “It's not a matter of Ailes being a ‘conservative.’ How disingenuous to present the criticism that way! The problem is Ailes's ultimate role in the profession of journalism.” Naming a journalism building after a guy who spends his days fallafeling Bill O’Reilly is the equivalent of Mike White giving bursap sack full of cash to Case Western in exchange for naming an ethics building after him. Ailes constantly pushes our feeble trade further into the gutter. – Bradley Campbell
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