The full piece is well worth reading, but a few paragraphs convey the point.
Fox News found a huge runway and enormous success by setting aside the conventions of bloodless objectivity, but along the way, it altered the rules of engagement between reporters and the media organizations they cover. Under its chief executive, Roger Ailes, Fox News and its public relations apparatus have waged a permanent campaign on behalf of the channel that borrows its methodology from his days as a senior political adviser to Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
At Fox News, media relations is a kind of rolling opposition research operation intended to keep reporters in line by feeding and sometimes maiming them. Shooting the occasional messenger is baked right into the process.
As crude as that sounds, it works. By blacklisting reporters it does not like, planting stories with friendlies at every turn, Fox News has been living a life beyond consequence for years. Honesty compels me to admit that I have choked a few times at the keyboard when Fox News has come up in a story and it was not absolutely critical to the matter at hand.
Carr goes on to relate the experience of Jacques Steinberg of the Times, who wrote a piece on cable ratings that mentioned Fox. It obviously wasn't sycophantic enough, so a Fox show responded with a broadcast segment that questioned the motives behind the story. It also aired an ugly, retouched image of Steinberg that resurrected many of the visual tropes of anti-Semitism. Check out the segment at Media Matters.
Fox's role as a conservative news organization is well known. What Carr's piece does so well is take us backstage to reveal the machinations that Fox uses to gain favorable coverage and intimidate reporters.
Just as Fox is not a conservative news organization that merely balances the alleged liberalism of CNN, its public relations department is not a scrappy version of every other pr shop. They're a bunch of bullies who go to unique lengths to silence questions and criticism. David Carr deserves our thanks and our admiration for delivering this valuable report.