Watching Fox News can give sentient viewers the impression that the network is run by that nutjob uncle of yours who keeps forwarding chain emails about Obama's time in a madrassa. And it is.

Here are a few emails Fox News chief Roger Ailes forwarded to his underlings, demanding that they turn them into TV news.

New York's Gabriel Sherman reported last year that, even though he travels in New York's rarefied social circles and dines at Le Cirque, Ailes isn't a cynical peddler of right-wing ghost stories. In 2008, Ailes told Obama adviser David Axelrod that Obama intended to create a national police force to do his bidding. "That exchange was the moment [Axelrod] realized Ailes truly believed what he was broadcasting," Sherman wrote.

We recently obtained the following emails, all of which were sent by Ailes (or his assistants, on his behalf) to staffers at The O'Reilly Factor in 2008 and 2010. They offer a peek inside the Fox News sausage-making machinery, and demonstrate that not only does Ailes buy into some of the more conspiratorial, paranoid programming on his network—he instigates it.

"Soros No Nazi Guilt"

On November 1, 2010, Ailes sent an email to Bill O'Reilly (he's "cavanfact" in the "To:" field below) and his producer David Tabacoff. It contained a partial transcript from a 12-year-old 60 Minutes profile of George Soros in which Soros, a Jew, acknowledged that he posed as a Christian under the Nazi regime and helped confiscate property from other Jews being shipped off to death camps. He was 14 years old at the time. The transcript had originally been sent to Ailes by Fox News' vice president for "News Research & Strategic Information" Mitchell Kweit under the subject heading "Soros No Nazi Guilt."

"FYI," Ailes wrote. "This guy has no conscience." When Tabacoff replied noncomittally, Ailes wrote back, "Do you think you guys will use it or should I give it to someone else?"

O'Reilly had no use for the quote. Eight days later, Glenn Beck launched a two-part series, called "The Puppet Master," accusing Soros of instigating and executing a global socialist conspiracy. The 60 Minutes interview played a major role: "In an interview with Steve Kroft," Beck told his viewers, "Soros was asked if he felt guilt at all about taking the property from the Jews as a teenager. He responded, 'No.' He also said, quote, 'I don't deny the Jews their national existence, but I don't want to be a part of it.'"

Beck's series sparked a backlash. The Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman complained to Ailes about labeling Soros as a Nazi collaborator. Ailes responded in a letter that "I frankly don't feel much guilt because Glenn Beck only used Soros' words and our Brainroom dissected each statement and found them valid." The "Brainroom" is Ailes' term for Fox News' research department. Ailes would later distance himself from Beck's craziness, acknowledging to Howard Kurtz that Beck was a "branding issue" for Fox. Beck, of course, eventually left the network.

Below is the full email chain.

From: Ailes, Roger
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2010 12:46 PM
To: Tabacoff, David
Subject: RE: Soros No Nazi Guilt

Do you think you guys will use it or should I give it to someone else?

From: Tabacoff, David
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2010 11:57 AM
To: Ailes, Roger
Subject: RE: Soros No Nazi Guilt


From: Dellaquila, Gina On Behalf Of Ailes, Roger
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2010 11:56 AM
To: cavanfact; Tabacoff, David
Subject: FW: Soros No Nazi Guilt

FYI. This guy has no conscience.

From: Kweit, Mitch
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2010 4:07 PM
To: Ailes, Roger; Laterza, Judy
Cc: Dellaquila, Gina; Downey, Elizabeth; Tiryaki, Tia
Subject: Soros No Nazi Guilt

Here's the relevant excerpt from a 60 Minutes transcript from December 20, 1998 – attached is the complete transcript

KROFT: (Voiceover) You're a Hungarian Jew...

Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Mm-hmm.

KROFT: (Voiceover) ...who escaped the Holocaust...
(Vintage footage of women walking by train)

Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Mm-hmm.
(Vintage footage of people getting on train)

KROFT: (Voiceover)—by posing as a Christian.

Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Right.
(Vintage footage of women helping each other get on train; train door closing with people in boxcar)

KROFT: (Voiceover) And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.

Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that's when my character was made.

KROFT: In what way?

Mr. SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and—and anticipate events and when—when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a—a very personal experience of evil.

KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. That's right. Yes.

KROFT: I mean, that's—that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

Mr. SOROS: Not—not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don't—you don't see the connection. But it was—it created no—no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

Mr. SOROS: No.

KROFT: For example that, 'I'm Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.' None of that?

Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c—I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn't be there, because that was—well, actually, in a funny way, it's just like in markets—that if I weren't there—of course, I wasn't doing it, but somebody else
would—would—would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the—whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the—I had no role in taking away that property. So I
had no sense of guilt.

<< File: Soros 60 Minutes 1998.DOC >>



Mitchell S. Kweit
V.P. News Research &
Strategic Information


Maybe God Is a Republican

On March 19, 2008, in the heat of the Democratic primary race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Ailes forwarded an email with the subject heading "Maybe God is a Republican" to O'Reilly and Fox executives John Moody and Bill Shine. The message read simply, "Check out this video and let me know what you think." Attached to the email was a Microsoft Word document containing clips and links to a YouTube video documenting Obama's relationship to Rev. James Meeks. Meeks was something of a Jeremiah Wright Jr. during the primary: He was an inflammatory pastor with links to Obama (he was a delegate for him) that Clinton partisans attempted to hang around Obama's neck.


From: Dellaquila, Gina On Behalf Of Ailes, Roger
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 8:57 AM
To: Moody, John; OReilly, Bill; Shine, Bill
Subject: FW: Maybe God is a Republican

Check out this video and let me know what you think

The document was a simple oppo file showing Obama's history with Meeks. The introduction read:

The Reverend James Meeks, after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, is Obama's closest "spiritual counsel," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Meeks, pastor of the Salem Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side, is a state senator, and an Obama delegate to the Democratic convention. He filmed an ad for Obama's 2004 Senate race at Obama's request. Obama has spoken from his pulpit and prayed in his congregation, including the night after his election to the Senate. Meeks' choir sings at Obama's event.

Meeks has denounced "Hollywood Jews," blaming them for homosexuality; called Mayor Daley as a "slave master" and supporters of Daley "house niggers"; and called gays "evil."

That night, O'Reilly featured the video of Meeks. "Now we don't know the relationship between Reverend Meeks and Barack Obama," O'Reilly said. "We are working on that story and a number of other people are as well. But the question tonight is how will the Clinton and McCain campaigns handle all of this? It's a growing story." Sean Hannity did a segment on Meeks that night as well, and the next day Meeks was mentioned four more times.

What's interesting about the Meeks email is where Ailes got the dossier to begin with. According to the Word document's metadata, it was created by "Sidney Blumenthal." Now, that could be the famously vicious and loyal Clinton aide, or it could be someone who entered his name when they registered their copy of Word. I emailed Blumenthal to ask, but he didn't respond.

During the Clinton Administration, Blumenthal was one of the chief proponents of the "vast right-wing" conspiracy line of attack against the Clintons' critics. But during the 2008 primary battle, he was well known for blasting out regular emails filled with all manner of dark musings about Obama's background. In May 2008, the Huffington Post's Peter Dreier accused Blumenthal of feeding damaging information on Obama to a variety of conservative outlets and "exploiting that same right-wing network" that had targeted the Clintons "to attack and discredit Barack Obama." It is now apparent that Blumenthal's engagement with that network was a direct line of communication to its supreme leader.

FW: Message home from a Soldier

In July 2008, a woman named Trudy Whelan forwarded a chain email to Ailes (she also sent it to then-CNN president Jonathan Klein and MSNBC chief Phil Griffin) with the message, "I received this email from a friend and am forwardint it [sic] to you with a challenge for the media to cover this part of the OBAMA TRIP." The original email purported to be from a U.S. Army captain serving at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan named Jeffrey Porter. Then-Senator Obama had recently visited Afghanistan, and Porter wrote that while he was there Obama "shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service" and spent his time posing for "publicity pictures playing basketball.... It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country."

Ailes forwarded Whelan's note to Shine and Tabacoff on July 29, 2008 with the message, "This is worth checking out.—Roger." But by the time Ailes sent the note, it had already been thoroughly debunked on, and the New York Daily News had published a retraction from Porter, who asked people to stop forwarding and posting his note because "after checking my sources, information that was put out in my email was wrong." Snopes published photos and video of Obama greeting troops at Bagram, as well as accounts from other servicemembers who were there during Obama's visit detailing the attention the future president paid to the troops.

As far as I can tell, Porter's account never made it onto the air at Fox News, which is a rare testament to the operation's ability to separate truth from paranoid right-wing fantasy. Even if those fantasies are coming from the boss.

The full Porter email chain is below:

From: Zreliak, Laura On Behalf Of Ailes, Roger
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 3:30 PM
To: Shine, Bill; Tabacoff, David
Subject: FW: Message home from a Soldier

This is worth checking out.


From: Trudy Whelan []
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 11:51 AM
To: Ailes, Roger; Steve Elliott; Phil Griffin; Jonathan Klein; Lewis, Brian
Subject: FW: Message home from a Soldier

I received this email from a friend and am forwardint it to you with a challenge for the media to cover this part of the OBAMA TRIP

FW: Message home from a Soldier

Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2008, 8:36 AM

Another example of the media only showing what they want us to see. I am not surprised.

——-Original Message——-
From: Graham, Wade
Sent: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 9:39 am
Subject: Message home from a Soldier
Tiffany and Jeff Porter are our friends who live in Virginia.

(Below is from Tiffany)

I don't know each of your personal political convictions, and apologize if
anyone finds this offensive. I thought it was important enough to share.
This is Jeff's first hand view of Senator Obama.


Hello everyone,

As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to'The War Zone'. I wanted to share with you what happened. He got off the plane and got into a bullet proof vehicle, got to the area to meet with the Major General (2 Star) who is the commander here at Bagram. As the Soldiers where lined up to shake his hand he blew them off and didn't say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the General.

As he finished, the vehicles took him to the Clam Shell (pretty much a big top tent that military personnel can play basketball or work out in with weights) so he could take his publicity pictures playing basketball. He again shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service.

So really he was just here to make a showing for the American's back home that he is their candidate for President. I think that if you are going to make an effort to come all the way over here you would thank those that are providing the freedom that they are providing for you.

I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheer leaders than from one of the Senators, who wants to be the President of the United States. I just don't understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-in-Chief. It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country.

If this is blunt and to the point I am sorry, but I wanted you all to know what kind of caliber of person he really is. What you see in the news is all fake.

In service,
CPT Jeffrey S. Porter
Battle Captain
TF Wasatch
American Soldier

[Image via Getty]