Media Matters details how, according to Gabriel Sherman's new biography of Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief was behind the creation of an anonymous blog called The Cable Game for the purpose of promoting Fox News and trashing its rivals, and tapped Fox contributor Jim Pinkerton to serve as a ghostwriter for it.
NewsBusters took Ailes' bait. A search of NewsBusters' archive shows that it cited the now-defunct blog in four items:
- A 2011 post by Tim Graham repeating the blog's claim that MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell likes to wear pricey cloths.
- A 2008 post by Mark Finkelstein quoting Pinkerton himself citing the blog on Fox News.
- A 2007 post hat-tipping the blog for promoting a claim that Fox News had the most balanced election coverage.
- A 2006 post by Matthew Sheffield telling readers to watch the blog for updates on the resignation of an MSNBC president.
Further, as the archived version of the website shows, NewsBusters was on The Cable Game's blogroll.
Will NewsBusters tell its readers that it publicized a blog secretly created by the head of a cable news channel to trash his competition? Don't count on it.