Ask A Genius 360 – Lies, Damned Lies, and Fallout
May 1, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: I mentioned the Satanic Temple and Lucien Greaves and poor journalistic practices, especially from Fox News. The Arizona chapter has specifically mentioned this to me in an interview. What was your experience? Let’s lay it out.
Rick Rosner: Let’s be clear here, I don’t have anything to do with any Satanic temple. You mentioned them in the context that you interviewed some people who are leaders of this temple, who have had gripes about the shoddiness of Fox News.
Jacobsen: They have been treated poorly.
Rosner: Well, they were not. Fox News didn’t apply ethical journalism to them.
Jacobsen: They didn’t apply journalism to them.
Rosner: Fox News is well known for conservatives calling everything fake news. If you examine various news outlets according to objective standards that have been applied to journalism, since journalism has been around, Fox News generally does the worst, they are the sleaziest, the most manipulative, the most exploitative of their viewers.
A few years ago, I was asked to give an arm of Fox News an interview. I thought, “How bad can they be?” At the time, it wasn’t a political type interview. It was a human-interest type interview because I am a semi-eccentric guy with the second highest IQ in the world.
They wanted to talk to me about my IQ. How bad could it be? Fox News had the idea that they could do a daily paper, newspaper type thing, that people would get on their tablets, their iPads, and whatever else.
People’s little computers. The Huffington Post is designed and came into its own. People prefer laptops and PCs. Fox News decided, “We can do daily paper, daily web paper for people’s smaller devices, for phones and for tablets. “
Obviously, they wanted it to be young and hip. I assumed they wanted to talk to me. This recorder was 23 or 24. That didn’t matter to me. She asked for the interview and I said, “That’s okay. That’s fine. I will give you an interview. However, you absolutely cannot. You must promise not to say who I work for.”
Which is a late night show I was writing for, because I knew from getting into trouble in the past for talking to reporters, my show did not want any press coverage of me on a personal level being associated with the show for various reasons.
Among them, I am not speaking for the show because the show has its message. It is a late-night show. Its message is: “We are funny ass show, good guests, great host. You should watch the show.”
I mean it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that’s the message and that the story that says look at this weirdo over here who writes for the show dilutes that message. The people who work on the show want a coherent message that doesn’t get messed up by some asshole who works on the show, whatever their personal weirdness.
So, I said, “Promise not to say whom I work for.” She said, “Okay I promise.” I did the interview, we talked for an hour or two across a couple of days, got some stuff on video. Then a few days go by, it takes a while to write one of these things up.
She is working on it, she calls me to let me know, “We have to let you know that we are going to say in the story who you write for.” I said, “You can’t, you promised not to, or I wouldn’t have given you the interview.”
She says, “Well, we are, because, anyone can go online and Google you and anyone can see, a single Google search what show you work for.” I say, “That doesn’t matter. I will get in big trouble. You promised that you wouldn’t say what show I worked for.” She says, “Yeah, but we are going to do it.” I go, “You can’t.”
She goes, “Well let me talk to my editor.” The editor: there are e-mails, phone calls, this goes on for about two weeks. I insist, they say, “Well, anybody can figure it out.” I say, “That doesn’t matter; it won’t matter to my bosses. It will matter that I consented to an interview in which it said where I work. This is a rule that I can’t violate, a work rule that I can’t break.”
And they say, “Well that doesn’t matter because…” We go back and forth. I plead. I get pissed. They get pissed back at me. After about two weeks of arguing they say, “Fine, we won’t.” But they were pissed, I was pissed too because they were politely wanting to break their promise.
Turned out that after she was done interviewing me. It seemed she was an asshole because you consent to an interview to set some ground rules. Now, those ground rules may be violated by assholes, but you can set them and expect them to be followed.
You can be super pissed if they are not. Even though given the history of journalism people, they agreed not to fuck me over regarding that.
At one point she asks, “Well, how do you get any sleep if you are up all night working on IQ tests?” Part of the interview was taking a bunch of IQ tests. A lot of these IQ tests take many, many hours to do a good job on. I said, “When you look at it, when you average it out, when I am working on a test, I probably don’t spend more than 45 minutes a day on them. It doesn’t occupy all of my waking hours.”
I thought it was a good answer. She asked how did I get any sleep. Well, because I don’t spend all my time on it, then the next day or later she asks the question again, “How do you get any sleep?” I said, “I already answered the question.”
I stupidly passively-aggressively and flippantly answer, “I don’t spend that much time on IQ tests. To be honest, I probably spend more time looking at porn than I do on IQ tests.”
I was let go from my job after that interview. I can’t say specifically why I was let go. However, it sure as shit didn’t help. So, the article comes out; they kept their word after two weeks of me insisting they keep their word.
However, when it came out. The headline I don’t know what it was, but the sub-headline was something you can look it, it is probably still somewhere online, ‘Man with world’s second highest IQ is addicted to porn.’ It was brutal.
Speaker one: How did you feel when you read that?
Rosner: I was super upset because I am not addicted to porn. I don’t look at porn any more than the average person. If we had to do percentiles of porn viewing, I don’t know, probably 30 or 40 or more percent of American men with access to a computer look at more porn than I do.
Completely average in terms of my porn, not proud that I look at porn, but one of over 100 million men look at porn from time to time. And it’s not that I am some sex fiend. I am a sexual person. For much of my youth, I did things to get a girlfriend.
However, now I am in my 50s, I take a testosterone blocker for my prostate, so my hair doesn’t fall out. That may to some extent knock down my libido. I am not I am this crazy sex, Anthony Wiener esp., super-duper masturbator.
I’ve masturbated a lot; so have a lot of people, most people. So, this comes out. Within a day, I don’t know, hours; I don’t remember. An article comes out on another website based on the article that deals with interesting things going on in the world of TV.
That article says, “Late night writer is addicted to porn.” That article names the show I work for. At that point, a couple of days I am in big trouble at work.
Jacobsen: How so?
Rosner: My family is not happy with me. They understand that I got fucked over, but it’s a terrible thing; it’s a lie. They fucked me because I was so insistent that the reporter hold to her promise they found another way to fuck me.
There was yet another way that they fucked me. I maybe shouldn’t have talked about anything regarding my work. Among the things I said was that only about 4% of the jokes that I wrote made it to air.
That doesn’t mean that I am a terrible joke writer. It means a bunch of good writers are writing a bunch of jokes throughout the day which, gives the host the most jokes, the most quality jokes you can submit.
So, you got a bunch of skilled writers who get more skilled over time, and more productive over time as they get better and better at writing jokes, and eventually after a show is on for year, if you have a skilled staff; that staff will write many more jokes than ever make it to air.
That’s a good thing. The better stuff you can give to help the show; the more selective the show can be and the better the show will be. I say 4% or so. The reporter said 98% of what I write doesn’t make it on the air.
So not only did they cut my success rate in half, but it was sloppy reporting and perhaps malevolent reporting to cut my success rate in half. 4% to 2%. It felt they were trying to fuck me for being stubborn with them.
Maybe, I should have been warier because it was Fox and maybe Fox doesn’t give a shit about accuracy or decency. I couldn’t raise a stink about it because I was working for the show, and protesting that they had lied about me being addicted to porn would have led to more coverage. I felt that would have led to more irritation on the part of my employers.
So, I sucked it up and hoped it would go away. Eventually, it faded from page one of Google if you happen to Google my name, I don’t know how many pages deep you must go now. Probably page three or four, but, at the time, I can’t say what goes on.
However, at the time I had the greatest job of my life, a job I had for over ten years. Three months after that article came out I had no job. I haven’t had a job since. The only satisfaction I got is that the Fox News enterprise went out of business.
That’s a small satisfaction, a small solace. So, they lied about me, and they may have caused. I don’t know, they may have caused severe career and economic damage, professional damage.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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