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January 18, 2011 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Why Does Roger Ailes Hate America? He tarred NPR higher ups as "left wing Nazis" over the Juan Williams firing, and more recently asked his commentators to "shut up, tone it down" after the Giffords shooting. Esquire profiles the president of Fox News Channel.
posted by availablelight (28 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Single-page/print version.
posted by Eideteker at 12:20 PM on January 18, 2011


I love this article so much.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 12:22 PM on January 18, 2011


I'm wondering why this article is basically cribbing stuff out of Joe McGinniss' The Selling of the President 1968 without attribution.
posted by blucevalo at 12:22 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Both sides are wrong, but they both do it," Ailes continued. "I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually. You don't have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that."
I hope the other side does that? The president of a major news network all but confirms bias, and flushes any facade of journalistic objectivity down the toilet. At least he's being honest, if anybody out there didn't know his stance already.
posted by l2p at 12:29 PM on January 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


This part is amazing. Like a fucking novel.
The closest he came to dying was when he was seven or eight. He bit his tongue when he jumped off the roof of the garage. His mouth filled with blood and the blood would not stop, the blood soaked the sheets of his bed, and he heard the doctor tell his father that there was nothing he could do. Roger Ailes was going to bleed out through his tongue. But his father was a fighter; that is, he got into fights, and Roger admired him for it. Now he fought for his son's life. He picked Roger up, swaddled in bloody bedclothes, and drove him to the Cleveland Clinic with a police escort. At the factory where he worked, the old man tracked down everybody who had type-O-positive blood, and now he called upon all of them to come to Cleveland for his son. They did, and Roger can still remember their names, Dirtyneck Watson and the rest, men filthy from work who lined up one after another to give Roger their blood, arm to arm. " 'Well, son, you have a lot of blue-collar blood in you, never forget that,' my father said after I got through it, and I never have. A lot of what we do at Fox is blue-collar stuff."

But he was never that kid, not really. He couldn't be. The disease he had was the Royal Disease, the disease of Queen Victoria's progeny, a disease considered effete, a mortal taint. He used to have to sit on a pillow at school. He wasn't able to go out at recess. And so one day he asked his parents to let him walk to school, like the other kids, and they let him. "And some guys beat me up. I went home a little beat up and my dad, I saw tears in his eyes for the first time. I'd never seen it. And he said, 'That's never going to happen to you again.' He taught me how to fight. And he told me to stay away from any fight that I could. 'But if you have no options, then remember, son, for them it's a fight. For you, it's life and death.' "
posted by The Devil Tesla at 12:40 PM on January 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


In the picture of him from 1971, he looks a lot like Father Beese did back then.

So I'm kind of disarmed here.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:44 PM on January 18, 2011


blucevalo: "I'm wondering why this article is basically cribbing stuff out of Joe McGinniss' The Selling of the President 1968 without attribution."

That's the book I was thinking of. I knew I'd read some of this before.
posted by zarq at 12:46 PM on January 18, 2011


I hope the other side does that.

I hope Ailes chokes a little on the size of his lies. He and his boss are why we don't have the Fairness Doctrine anymore — there is no "other side", except in his diseased mind.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 PM on January 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wow, I feel dumber from reading that--here's hoping to the excavation from my brain of meaningless information derived from that article, including, but not limited to, the fact that Mr. Ailes wears "rubber-soled shoes," does not like Blackberries (which the Esquire reporters use to check for photos of their daughters in their school plays, which they had to miss because they have to work hard to earn a living), dines at a restaurant where he has his own table, wants to "beat" his competition (the more noble pursuit would be to compete with one's competitors) and has a soft spot for his son. The ending is great though--the cleverness is astounding.

I know one thing, I guarantee you Ailes is going to read the article and regret making millions of dollars at Fox News.
posted by stevenstevo at 12:48 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


the fact that Mr. Ailes wears "rubber-soled shoes,"

Leather sole shoes are for fat cat bankers who work at a desk.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:13 PM on January 18, 2011


This article is not well-written but there's some interesting stuff in there if you manage to read it in spite of itself.
posted by i'm offended you're offended at 1:19 PM on January 18, 2011


meaningless information derived from that article,

Yeah: all that stupid background information, trying to "paint a picture" to give a particular "impression", I mean, whatever could the point of that approach be in an article about a master media manipulator?
posted by lalochezia at 1:24 PM on January 18, 2011


I liked the bit where he was in constant pain.

His doctor has apparently diagnosed this as arthritis. I suspect it may be an excess of bile, and perhaps some mitochondrial response to having to watch Fox News all day as his body cannot interpret it, but somehow recognises it isn't natural.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:26 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


" 'Well, son, you have a lot of blue-collar blood in you, never forget that,' my father said after I got through it, and I never have. A lot of what we do at Fox is blue-collar stuff."

Hi there, Blue Collar worker here. Just dropping by to say we want our blood back.
posted by nola at 1:28 PM on January 18, 2011 [26 favorites]


If the guy asks his staff to tone things down, and he badmouths NPR for the dumb move of firing Williams, why is he thus one who hates America? (I do not like the guy or his minions.)
posted by Postroad at 1:30 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know the guy personally but I tend to think that what he does and the effect it has had on the popular discourse in America is treasonous. I could, from here, rant full on for hours about what a sack of shit I think he is but I'm working on concision and so, 'treasonous.'
posted by From Bklyn at 1:41 PM on January 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought Rebecca Dana's NY Observer profile of Ailes from a few years back was more nuanced. But I doubt that on this particular subject naunce is what MeFi wants.
posted by mojohand at 1:47 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked the article and thought it was well written. The ending was indeed clever.
posted by jsturgill at 1:48 PM on January 18, 2011


I think it's also worth reading the blog that Junod's writing as well. I loved the piece, and think it's plenty nuanced and fair. I liked this quote from the head of MSNBC, Phil Griffin:

"People don't remember how closed everything was back then," Griffin told Esquire in one of my 30-plus interviews for a new profile in the February issue. "I mean, there was a time when the heads of every single news channel — CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS — sent their sons to the same private school. And there really were voices that they would not allow on television. Not just conservative voices, but voices that they thought were beneath them — vulgar. It was a class thing. And so when Roger wanted to run MSNBC in the mid-nineties there was no way they were going to let him. He was already running this low-rent, 24-hour-talk channel called America's Talking, and they were embarrassed by it. They thought they would just do network news on cable, and they'd have a big hit. Roger, of course, took what he learned at America's Talking, went across the street to Rupert Murdoch, and just demolished them."
posted by Ideefixe at 2:02 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It's no trick to make a lot of money, if all you want is to make a lot of money."
posted by JHarris at 2:03 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mom knew him back in the early 70s. She said he was a complete asshole. My mom was always right.
posted by rtha at 2:19 PM on January 18, 2011


Things I learned today include:
If I ever meet Roger Ailes, I should start the conversation with "Hey, fat-ass, beat up any kids lately?"
posted by kaibutsu at 2:23 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, the mark of power is when you can participate in a popular, high-circuulation magazine profile on you, knowing that they will spend the entire piece revealing how much of pathetic, hate-filled shell of a human being you are, because it simply doesn't matter and no one can touch you.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:38 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whoops. Circuulation = circulation. My bad.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:39 PM on January 18, 2011


In terms of sheer factuality, I gave up on Tom Junod when he wrote a piece about his dad and his dad's fashion rules (it may have been when he was writing for GQ), and one of the rules was "Always wear white to the face", i.e. always wear a shirt with a white collar because it made your face look less pale and more healthy... and the article was accompanied by a picture of Junod with his dad, who was wearing--of course--a grey turtleneck. But the guy does have style, I'll give him that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:22 PM on January 18, 2011


For a profile, that was pretty strange.

A 2003 profile of Ailes from the New Yorker, by Ken Auletta.
posted by russilwvong at 4:32 PM on January 18, 2011


because it simply doesn't matter and no one can touch you.

At the same time, from the article it sounds like he will read it and it will hurt his feelings, so score one for Esquire.
posted by vanar sena at 9:51 PM on January 18, 2011


Oh my god, while I loathe what Ailes has done to the national discourse, there is so much alarmingly ableist crap, I felt bad for having read it.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:42 PM on January 18, 2011


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