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A Letter Home from Fox News PR Boot Camp

April 4, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,

Wow, I never thought it would be like this.

Remember how I told you about that job fair last spring, where the Fox News PR recruiting table was the best one? They had those really nice gel ink pens with the Fox logo, and that binder thing, and the recruiters were super cool and laid back. John and Dee Dee, I still remember their names. They said grades weren’t the only major factor in picking the right candidate. They said that with my English degree and the two marketing internships, I was qualified for the entry level. They said I would start doing important work right away, helping to build the profile of one of the most successful media brands in the world. They said that there was just a 6-week training session that all new hires have to complete, even the most seasoned senior-level staff if they’re new to Newscorp, so that we can learn to write in the “institutional voice” of Fox News. They said the orientation was immersive and intensive, but it was really like “summer camp for adults” most of the time. That’s what they said–summer camp! I still remember it word for word.

It all sounded so good–pretty much just what I wanted for my first job. Well, after the first week with our training and development specialist Tom Tompkins, AKA “Satan in a bowtie,” now I know that John and Dee Dee were feeding me a bowl of shit and making me believe it was corn flakes. Excuse my language, Mom, but I don’t know how much more I can take. It’s like boot camp here, but they’re training us to be total assholes, not soldiers.

We have to learn how to write these incredibly sarcastic, mean-spirited press releases about anyone who dares to disagree with us. Or if they do anything that might damage the brand whatsoever. Or if we just don’t like their face, apparently. This is one of the samples that we have to study and discuss:

Real American Stories features uplifting tales about overcoming adversity and we believe Mr. Smith’s interview fit that criteria. However, as it appears that Mr. Smith does not want to be associated with a program that could serve as an inspiration to others, we are cutting his interview from the special and wish him the best with his fledgling acting career.

How crappy is that? “Mr. Smith” is actually LL Cool J (I know how much you love him, Mom) and all he did was say publicly that Fox was trying to reuse an old interview without his permission in Sarah Palin’s recent special. He stated a fact–but apparently that’s too much from the Fox PR perspective. So they unleashed those little barbs in response. Don’t they know how petty and childish that makes the whole network seem?

I guess not, because a lot of us here in “boot camp” have been told that we’re being added to the writing team. They’re EXPANDING that department, believe it or not. So the next time you hear about Fox going all “Mean Girls” on Courtney Cox or Phil Collins or some other random celebrity, the Mean Girl writer will probably be me. Part of me wants to leave and start over, but I dread to think what Tompkins and his minions will do to my career if I bolt.

I’m off to practice my written passive-aggression and sense of persecution. I got a “C” on my last draft due to “insufficient self-righteousness.”


Your Son

One Comment
  1. April 5, 2010 8:54 am

    Someone needs to remind Fox that LL Cool J has been acting longer than Ms. Palin has.

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