Republican pundits did not fare well during the 2012 election season, and few did as much lasting damage to their reputations as Karl Rove and Dick Morris. The former had a strange, on-air tantrum on election night and running a wildly-unsuccessful campaign operation; the latter guaranteed a Romney landslide, then later admitted he lied as part of a larger partisan agenda.
Now, both men will be seen less often on their network of choice. Gabriel Sherman has the scoop.
The post-election soul searching going on inside the Republican Party is taking place inside Fox News as well. Fox News chief Roger Ailes, a canny marketer and protector of his network’s brand, has been taking steps since November to reposition Fox in the post-election media environment, freshening story lines – and in some cases, changing the characters.
According to multiple Fox sources, Ailes has issued a new directive to his staff: He wants the faces associated with the election off the air – for now. For Karl Rove and Dick Morris – a pair of pundits perhaps most closely aligned with Fox’s anti-Obama campaign – Ailes’s orders mean new rules. Ailes’s deputy, Fox News programming chief Bill Shine, has sent out orders mandating that producers must get permission before booking Rove or Morris.
Sherman added that “inside” the network, “Morris’s Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line.”
Don’t feel too bad for the Republican strategists – despite their ignominious failures, Rove will keep his Wall Street Journal column; Morris will keep his column in The Hill; both remain on Fox News’ payroll; and come the 2014 midterms, it’s likely they’ll be out of the doghouse and sharing poor predictions all over again.