If you ever thought political bias existed among national news media, you’re absolutely correct, according to Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who says “most of the media bullsh– you about who they are.”
“The first rule of media bias is selection,” Ailes told Zev Chafets, author of the book “Roger Ailes: Off Camera,” which officially debuts this week.
“Most of the media bullsh– you about who they are. We don’t. We’re not programming to conservatives, we’re just not eliminating their point of view.”
In his book, Chafets, who also authored “Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One,” reveals a story Ailes often mentions whenever he’s asked to talk about Fox News’ place among other news agencies. Ailes speaks of meeting a man at a party who is not thrilled with the coverage of the Fox News Channel.
“Ailes asks him if he is satisfied with what he sees on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, and PBS,” Chafets writes. “The man says he is very satisfied. ‘Well,’ says Ailes, ‘if they all have the same take and we have a different take, why does that bother you? The last two guys who succeeded in lining up the media on one side were Hitler and Stalin.’”
Ailes says Fox News anchor Shepard Smith “once told me that the only thing more important to Ailes than beating CNN is CNN losing to Fox.”
“I wouldn’t say he wants everyone over there dead, but it’s close,” Smith said, according to Chafets’ book.
When it comes to his personal politics, Ailes told Chafets he “could never be elected” president, nor even be considered an decent contender, since he’d “probably start calling people jerks.”
He expressed frustration with reporters who have never even interviewed him about his political views.
“In forty years, no reporter has ever actually asked me what my position is on any issue,” he said.
When Chafets asked Ailes about his agenda if he were elected to the White House, the Fox News chief rejected the notion, saying outright, “I could never be elected.”
“I couldn’t follow my own advice. Duck, weave, that’s what a candidate needs to do. That’s not me. I’d probably start calling people jerks. So, I wouldn’t be a viable candidate.”
He added his character might not suit him well even if he were to hold office.
“In a negotiation I can always sit and outwait the other guy, but I have a very short attention span for things that irritate me,” Ailes said.
During an interview about his book on CNN Tuesday, Chafets said of Ailes: “He’s certainly a Republican, he’s certainly a conservative, and that’s reflected in Fox News.”
“I did a quiz with him … to measure conservatism versus liberalism,” Chafets continued. “It turns out he is more conservative than the network, and he agreed that is probably true.”
In the book, Chafets pressed Ailes to discuss what he would do as president if he were hypothetically elected.
“The country doesn’t need more laws and regulation, it needs less,” Ailes said, noting he’d reduce federal entitlements and dump Obamacare.
“Under President Ailes, taxes would fall and budgets would be slashed,” Chafets wrote, and “unions, which Ailes considers job killers, would not have a friend in the White House. Neither would what he calls ‘extreme environmentalists.’”
“I want clean water and clean air and conservation, but that’s not what extreme environmentalists are all about. For them, it is a religion. They believe in trees and animals, not God,” Ailes told Chafets.
While Ailes is a hawk on foreign affairs, he indicated “conservatives are sometimes too rigid” and that Republicans tend to dismiss diplomacy.
“There are deals that can be made, and should,” Ailes said. “It was a mistake to use the phrase ‘for us or against us.’ Of course, you maintain your core policy principles. But within each one of these is a broad range of practical conservative solutions. I’d hesitate to say this at a conservative gathering, but I think conservatives are sometimes too rigid.”
Ailes reveals a surprising friendship he has with Rachel Maddow, the left-leaning anchor on MSNBC.
“You’re not good yet but you have the talent to be good,” Ailes told Maddow when he met her for the first time at the 2009 White House Christmas party.
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC
Maddow found Ailes “charming and friendly,” and she told Chafets: “I think Roger’s vision is wrong, but he’s the most important Republican in the country.”
“The party is like an old Ford Pinto, a hunk of junk, into which he has installed a jet engine.”
Regarding Maddow, Ailes noted, “Rachel is good and she will get even better when she discovers that there are people on Earth who don’t share every one of her beliefs.”
Ailes actually penned a blurb for Maddow’s first book, “Drift,” and said he knew doing so would prompt her bosses at MSNBC to think he was trying to lure her over to Fox News.
“I don’t want to recruit her but they’ll think I do,” Ailes said. “Hell, they’re paranoid over there.”
As WND reported earlier this month, Ailes also notes in the book that Vice President Joe Biden is as “dumb as an ashtray,” President Obama is “lazy” and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is a “pr–k.”
On Obama, Ailes reacted to Democratic operative Hilary Rosen’s comment during the last election campaign that Ann Romney, mother of five, never had worked a day in her life.
“Obama’s the one who never worked a day in his life,” Ailes said. “He never earned a penny that wasn’t public money. How many fund-raisers does he attend every week? How often does he play basketball and golf? I wish I had that kind of time. He’s lazy, but the media won’t report that.”
Not unexpectedly, the New York Times is panning Chafets’ book, with reviewer Michiko Kakutani saying it “reads like a long, soft-focus, poorly edited magazine article. For the most part Mr. Chafets serves as little more than a plastic funnel for Mr. Ailes’s observations – much as he did for Rush Limbaugh in his 2010 book ‘Rush Limbaugh: Army of One.’ Although Mr. Chafets supplies a tiny bit of context here and there, he doesn’t ask his subject many tough questions about Fox News’s incestuous relationship with the Republican Party, its role in accelerating partisanship in our increasingly polarized society or the consequences of its often tabloidy blurring of the lines between news and entertainment.”