- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By coincidence, I was over at Fox News headquarters in midtown Manhattan yesterday morning, just as the election results were setting in incontrovertible concrete. The scene reminded me of something that David Eisenhower once said to me about living in the Nixon White House during Watergate: "It was painful for others, but you know, it sure was interesting for me." At Fox, the faces in the hallways were sober but chin-up. There clearly was some head-scratching going on. Like, "Hey, perhaps the Republican Party shouldn’t have dissed women, Hispanics, the poor and the rest of the electorate so much?"
I wonder if the jig is up for Fox: On election night they looked like they couldn’t decide whether they were a political party or a news network. That peculiar combination is no longer working. It was kind of like being in the line yesterday at Romney’s D.C. transition office to hand in your cell phones. Or, if you’re into 1962, like being at U. Miss.
On the other hand, Obama’s re-election may have helped the Fox MO. After all, it is much easier to work in opposition. You don’t have to deal with messy realities, or defend the awkward compromises that come with it, and can criticize at will. That likely will be the case come Monday, when Fox will have their memory banks adequately scrubbed. So maybe their business model is safe — despite it being built on the rubble of the national comity.