Monday, September 24, 2018

Gawker Attacks The Fox Flack

by Chris Jones (writer), Houston, July 08, 2008

According to Gawker, Fox News has the most vicious hatchet wielding PR flack in American history--and her name is Irena Briganti.

I didn’t have a chance to read Gawker’s response yesterday to the NY Time’s latest Fox News hit piece, because I was busy writing my own response.

Several bloggers e-mailed me the link to Gawker’s article and many of them were quite incredulous that I had not read it. They were right, I should have read it. While the underlying premise of the piece is totally wrong, it’s a very entertaining article and I laughed my a*s off while reading it.

Gawker trains its sites on chief FNC flack, Irena Briganti, who Gawker labels “a mouthpiece of Fox boss Roger Ailes.” Her official title is Vice President of media relations.

According to Gawker and testimony from a terribly frightened news media, Irena wields a “bloody hatchet” the likes of which the world has never seen–not even Gawker.

The notorious gossip site goes on to list some of her most offensive and unfair statements over the years to those who’ve dared to criticize Fox.

Here’s the list of her “all time hits”as Gawker calls them:

  • When Anderson Cooper chided Fox for running with a false report of Obama going to a Muslim school, Briganti responded with, “Yet another cry for attention by the Paris Hilton of television news, Anderson Cooper.”
  • Briganti attributed Keith Olbermann’s attacks on Bill O’Reilly to his “personal demons, and said “In the meantime, we hope he enjoys his paranoid view from the bottom of the ratings ladder and wish him well on his inevitable trip to oblivion.”
  • When Christiane Amanpour said CNN and Fox were intimidated by the Bush administration and practiced self-censorship in the run-up to the Iraq war, Briganti responded, “Given the choice, it’s better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda.”

I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a while. Those are so good, that frankly, someone have them bronzed and placed in the lobby at Fox. You just don’t hear zingers that good everyday. Clearly, Irena Briganti can pretty well neuter any FNC critic with a single sentence.

The guy who wrote the Gawker piece is named Hamilton Nolan and he used to write for PR Week. He admits that he’s still bitter about his failed attempt to write a profile of Briganti a couple of years ago. He tried to get quotes from people who’d previosly been carved up by Briganti, but most were too fearful to talk. Incredibly, one person he asked immediately called Briganti and told her about the article he was writing.

When I worked at PRWeek a couple of years ago, I tried to write a profile of Briganti. This, after several people who had dealt with her assured me that she was the single meanest flack in the entire media world (which is true). I sent emails out to a list of people in the media that Briganti had publicly insulted. And what happened? Some turned me down, citing fear of her. Some didn’t respond, out of fear. And one, in what I still consider to be the biggest bitch move I ever saw as a reporter, ran straight to Irena, telling her that a PRWeek reporter was out to smear her. This—from a reporter who had already been publicly smeared by Briganti—is akin to the kid whose response to being bullied is to grovel and try to please the bully further.

Briganti expertly strung me along for months, promising interviews in the near future and then pushing back the date continuously. Eventually the profile fell apart and never got written. She’s good at what she does. She is still quite willing to offer negative tidbits about her competitors to this day.

I recommend everyone read the entire Gawker piece as it’s quite entertaining. I think the bottom line here is that Irena Briganti is the best PR Flack in the business and it irritates the hell out of everyone that she works at Fox. If you look closely you’ll notice a trend when it comes to Fox News. They tend to have the best of everything. The best news coverage, the best anchors, the best ratings, and of course the best PR department. Oh yeah, they also have the best Bill O’Reilly–sorry MSNBC.

The media becomes more dishonest and corrupt with every passing year, and trying to damage Fox News has practically become an Olympic sport. Kudos to Roger Ailes for having the right good sense to hire someone who doesn’t take any sh*t.

The liberal media is about as vicious a beast as anything you’re likely to come across in life. They love personal attacks and they don’t take prisoners. Which is why I find it particularly amusing that a lone Fox News flack has “got’em on the run,” to borrow a line from the President.

If anything, Irena deserves a raise.

About the Writer

Chris Jones is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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