Tom Junod's profile of Roger Ailes is pinging around the blogs. As usual, it's a rich treatment from a master of the profile. This judgment call seems on the mark to me:

[Y]es, on the one hand, Fox News has been good for America, because it has energized the argument, broadened the sense of what's allowable in the debate, and pushed the American experiment in radical democratization farther along. On the other, Ailes's experiment in free speech has also become an experiment in propaganda, and his attempt to redefine the mainstream has led the mainstream to become radicalized.

We have had many media outlets that have been biased before FNC came along. Most were biased toward a condescending liberalism that ran away from difficult topics, blurred the contours of others, treated conservative ideas as inherently suspect and religious people as, well, easily led. But I have never watched a television network in a free country like Fox. With a few exceptions - Shep Smith, Andrew Napolitano, John Stossel - it is dedicated to pure propaganda.

Has any network ever put almost every possible Republican candidate on the air as paid employees and then interviewed them as if it were journalism? Could you imagine any serious news network broadcasting the Hannity-Palin interview, which must surely have made even Ailes cringe a little at its lugubrious fawning and cult-worship?

By many accounts, Ailes is a warm and humane man. His network is a sick and menacing joke.

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