The Mallick Factor

In the summer of 2006 I was invited by Jim Pinkerton to sit in on a taping in New York of his show Fox News Watch. It was loadsafun, and afterward Jim gave me a tour of the Fox newsroom. We wandered by the desks where the producers of the O’Reilly Factor were working, and I was introduced to an amiable man in a pink golf shirt.

“Canadian, huh?” he said, giving me a stare. “Do you know Heather Mallick?”

I told him that I didn’t know her personally, but that I was familiar with her writing. He went on to describe Ms. Mallick in some extremely unflattering language. She had been down to do the show two years before, in May 2004, and the entire production crew still seethed at the mention of her name.

I tell this story for two reasons. First, to note that Ms. Mallick has a habit of getting under the skins of conservative Americans. Second, to point out that there is a relevant background to Fox’s current vendetta against her. They have a past, these two.

If you are looking for a good analysis of the nature and quality of her writing, Jon has it just about right.

But I won’t go as far as to call for her resignation or firing, not for this. Either you stand for free expression or you don’t, and the “taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund it” line is too cheap and easy. If the problem is with taxpayer-funded comment and analysis, fine — in which case the time to complain about Heather Mallick’s column was when she was hired, not when she says things you find offensive.

Besides, if you really want to get worked up about her writing, her catscratching of Palin is not a huge deal. Far more objectionable, as I’m concerned, is that she hasn’t a clue what the term “neo-con” means; and neither, apparently, does her editor.

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