I was given the front section to read a couple of Sunday mornings ago because Mary, who hadn’t had her coffee yet, wasn’t in shape to digest what usually is relentlessly bad news. But when she reappeared not long after, I told her there actually was something wonderfully cheery on the front page that day: an article that counted the ways in which Fox had been hoist by its own petard in the Dominion suit.
It is assumed that news organizations, even journals of opinion, should at least aim at the truth, though with Fox News the truth apparently mattered little, for Trump’s lies, and Fox’s endorsement of them — even though internal memos indicated the cable network knew the president’s conspiracy theories were false — bolstered ratings.
That the cable news network was seriously considering a First Amendment “neutral reportage” defense — which, if viewed favorably, would have absolved it of financial liability in Dominion’s defamation suit should the judge have found Fox was simply reporting a public figure’s false allegations rather than embracing them — is risible. Lies about Dominion’s flipping votes from Trump to Biden were not merely alluded to, they were championed.
Yes, the settlement figure was hefty indeed, but, as I said not long ago, the pandering blusterers should have been required to publicly confess the mortal sins they had committed against responsible journalism.
As for Fox’s “missteps and miscalculations” that provided the plaintiff’s lawyers with “a treasure trove” of damning evidence in discovery, hubris, the sin of excessive pride, comes to mind, though the analogy to Greek tragedies and the empathy they evoke should end there, except to say, with a certain frisson, that there may be more lawsuits to come.
And now on to the week’s bad news, namely the death of Gary Bowen, whose will to win was as unflinching as his strokes were smooth, and whose patience when it came to his mercurial tennis doubles partner — perhaps owing to years of experience with actors he’d directed in wildly popular TV soap operas — was enduring.
Together, eight summers ago, each of us 75 then, we raised the level of men’s B doubles at the East Hampton Indoor Club to epic proportions. In the final, versus far younger and far less creaky opponents, we were Achilles, they were Hector, minus the dragging of bodies around the gates of Troy at the end of those three sets, of course. Suffice to say, we were not among the cold and timid souls that day who knew neither victory nor defeat.
“Play up, play up,” Gary kept saying as he readied himself to serve, and I did, not going gently into that good net, but beating back every return I could.
The car glided home over the back roads afterward, the wheels singing. I’ll never forget that feeling. I’ll never forget him. I feel blessed that he found me worthy.