From Ailes, some "fair and balanced" campaign comedy

Bill Clinton as philanderer. Barack Obama as terrorist.

Published March 9, 2007 7:30PM (EST)

In a speech at the annual awards dinner of the Radio and Television News Directors Association Thursday night, Fox News boss Roger Ailes talked about the importance for everyone to "do our best and be fair" in the coming "tough political season," and he said it would be a mistake for any candidate -- John Edwards? Barack Obama? -- to think that he can "blacklist" any particular news organization.

But before Ailes got to all of that, he did a few minutes of stand-up comedy. We'll spare you the cracks about France and Britney Spears, but we'll share every word of Ailes' humor that dealt with the U.S. political scene.

First, there was a joke about Bill Clinton, the philanderer. "It is true that just in the last two weeks Hillary Clinton has had over 200 phone calls telling her in order to win the presidency she must stay on the road for the next two years. It is not true they were all from Bill."

And then there was a joke about Barack Obama, the terrorist. "And it is that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, 'Why can't we catch this guy?'"

Doesn't sound so "fair and balanced" to us, but maybe Ailes has just come around to seeing things our way. The other events in the news this week -- Scooter Libby, the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the conditions at Walter Reed, the war in Iraq -- well, they're just not funny anymore.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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