Here is a shocker! There are actually limits to being outrageous and politically incorrect even at Fox News.
The network that hate built today suddenly yanked an opinion column by one of its top news executives – who had been handpicked for his job by the late network founder and serial sexual harasser Roger Ailes.
The column called “In Olympics let’s focus on winner race – not race winner,” by Executive Vice President and Executive Editor of Fox News John Moody, suggested the U.S. Olympic team had been chosen to showcase diversity in race and sexual orientation instead of just picking the finest athletes available.
“Unless it’s changed overnight,” wrote Moody in an opinion column on the Fox News website that posted Thursday, “the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger.'”
“It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee,” continued Moody, “would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’ If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.”
Moody was reacting to an article in the Washington Post in which a USOC executive talked about how proud he was that the 2018 delegation is so diverse.
“That was followed by a, frankly, embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year’s U.S. team,” complained Moody in his column. “No sport that we are aware of awards points – or medals – for skin color or sexual orientation.”
The column quickly got attention – the wrong kind. Commentators were outraged and upset over what was perceived correctly to be an anti-black, anti-gay tirade that wasn’t even based on facts.
While it is the most diverse U.S. Olympic team ever, it is still overwhelmingly composed of white men and women, points out The Washington Post: “Out of 243 athletes, 10 are black, 10 are Asian” and two are openly gay.
Here are some reactions compiled by CNN Money:
“As the world celebrates the peaceful global festival” at Pyeongchang,” commented Tom Harrington, a host on the Canadian Broadcasting Company, a “gold medal for tone deafness” should be awarded to Moody.”
Dave Holmes, editor at large for Esquire.com, called it, “The dumbest thing” he had read “in ages.”
On Deadspin, Laura Wagner mocked Moody, finishing by saying that he invokes “Jackie Robinson, Jeremy Lin and the 1993 Jamaican bobsled team in the service of making his point, which I guess is supposed to be that he’s a real piece of shit.”
Fox New's executive Vice President goes after United States Olympic Committee for touting the diversity of its athletes. Muses that the USOC's new motto is "Darker, Gayer, Different."https://t.co/bJGa76kSzk
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 8, 2018
“Here is how a Politico reporter put it in perspective:
This is the real lede of a real column by the executive editor of Fox News. Its transformation into a profitable version of Breitbart appears complete. https://t.co/ls3fc5REJu pic.twitter.com/vHSUHSqEXy
— Matthew Nussbaum (@MatthewNussbaum) February 9, 2018
Apparently, even at Fox News, all attention is not good attention, at least in the post-Ailes era when the entire company is about to be spun off from Disney, which is acquiring most assets of its sister companies at what used to be 20th Century Fox.
There was no immediate comment from Moody, but earlier today the column suddenly disappeared off the Fox News website without any explanation.
A spokesperson for Fox News responded to the media requests for comment by saying that Moody’s commentary did “not reflect the views or values” of the company.
After it was pulled, Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD, which represents the LGBTQ community, called the column “vicious” and “biased rhetoric,” and said removing it was not enough. She called on Moody to make a public apology – which has not yet happened.
Ellis said that these athletes qualified for the Olympics “despite facing discrimination from places like Fox News throughout their careers.”
“According to a Fox News insider,” reported the astute Lisa De Moraes on Deadline Hollywood, “the column was not vetted before it was posted; the source blamed editors ‘too deferential’ to Moody ‘given his longevity’ at the network.”
De Moraes points out that Moody was once touted as a successor to Ailes, and is indeed a survivor of the purge that followed the exit of the bombastic founder, who for many years ruled with an iron fist.
Now the question is whether it is time for Moody to move on, or whether the Murdoch family who control the network will just let Fox News be Fox News, as long as it continues to garner high ratings and make millions by playing to the lowest common denominator of our society.
How Fox News treats minorities and gays is a growing issue that is not going to go away. One of the stories that have percolated this Olympics is openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon’s refusal to meet with anti-gay VP Mike Pence, who has been called a hypocrite for a tweet in support of Rippon.
In 2006, Pence famously said that allowing marriage to be between either a man and a woman would lead to “societal collapse.” Pence also funded gay conversion therapy, noted Rippon.
Rippon did say he would meet with Pence just to have an open conversation but not until after the Olympic games are over, even though the Veep is on the ground in Korea.
In its coverage of Rippon, Fox News concluded a recent story by adding that “Rippon and U.S. skier Kenworthy, who is also openly gay, both say they would skip a White House visit if Team USA is invited.”
So in the tradition of the world champion Golden State Warriors and most of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, these athletes are playing because they are the best in the world, and are not going to be demeaned by kowtowing to Trump and Pence just because they are temporary occupants of the White House.
It is a good sign that Fox News was so embarrassed that it yanked Moody’s inflammatory column, and it would be an even better direction of how the wind is blowing if they pulled him from his executive post altogether.
However, as the network of Trump, after years of serving the regressive views of cavemen in business suits like Pence, and making a fortune doing it, that probably is too much to hope.