Fat asshole Roger Ailes granted a surprise interview to TVNewer's Chris Ariens this week. Ailes, the president of Fox News, is generally reticent with the press, choosing to emerge only occasionally from his gay-proofed News Corp bunker and defend the ideological histrionics of the news team he has assiduously assembled over his 16 years at Fox when a controversy emerges. Here's what he told Ariens, by way of criticizing what he perceives to be a pro-Obama sentiment among his competitors: "The press is supposed to watch the powerful. And not throw in with them."
Roger Ailes is a grotesque, self-deluded sociopath, someone who relentlessly projects the weaknesses of his own black heart onto his enemies. Someone whose tribal instincts are so powerful that he is unable to view his own behavior through anything other than a binary lens of total war, and who unthinkingly ascribes noble motives to his own base tactical maneuvers while viewing the most innocuous actions of his perceived antagonists as steps in a nefarious conspiracy directed at him.
So: The press is supposed to watch the powerful. And not throw in with them. Ailes offered that critique after ruminating on President Barack Obama's speech at the 2009 White House Correspondents Dinner, in which he announced, "I am Barack Obama. Most of you covered me—all of you voted for me. Apologies to the Fox table." That was, as per the tradition of presidential appearances at the correspondents dinner, a joke. But it wouldn't have been funny if it didn't connect with a kernel of truth—much of the press corps was enamored of the Obama Story in 2008, and many of them were members of a professional, white, Volvo-driving, Ikea-shopping demographic that was perceived to have been vulnerable to his charms. So Obama made a funny.
This is how Roger Ailes experienced that joke, from the audience, according to Ariens:
When I saw the President say, ‘I know you all voted for me,' and a thousand people stood up and cheered and applauded and then when the applause died down, he said, ‘Oh probably except you guys at the Fox table.' I thought, ‘Am I the only guy in this room doing his job?' They set up Freedom of the Press. The press is supposed to watch the powerful. And not throw in with them. And when I watched a thousand people stand and cheer and applaud I thought, ‘Uh oh. Somebody better do this job.
I'm sure you know by now, without having to watching the video above, that no one "stood up and cheered" at Obama's joke. They laughed in their seats and applauded, as they would at many points throughout the speech. And as they did five years before, when George W. Bush, at
the same event the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner, presented a video in which he searched the White House for the fictional weapons of mass destruction that he invaded Iraq to find.
But to Ailes, it was a revelation, concrete evidence that only he, out of this room of thousands, had the guts and the will and the grit to speak truth to power. Only he could forego the blandishments of influence and take the professional risk that comes with reporting inconvenient facts. Only he had the fortitude to exile himself from the tastemakers and power-brokers and report the truth, straight, unfiltered. The press is supposed to watch the powerful. And not throw in with them.
Here is how Roger Ailes watched the powerful during the Bush Administration.
That's a mash note he wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in March 2005, offering her "help off the record" any time. I obtained it via the Freedom of Information Act.
Ailes wrote the note above to Attorney General John Ashcroft in November of 2001, commemorating a rare moment to "share a few laughs" in the heavy wake of 9/11. Also obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
Below, you will find various invitations that Ailes extended over the years to Ashcroft for the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner and other Washington, D.C., events. Not to mention one for the gala celebrating the 10th anniversary of Fox News Channel.
It should be noted, of course, that it is standard operating procedure in Washington for Fox News and other outlets to invite notable political figures to events such as these. Fox is not acting outside of the norm in this regard. Which is to say: Ailes is correct that his competitors often fall short of the standard of "watching the powerful." He simply fails to subject his own behavior to a similar analysis. Which would be the fair and balanced approach.
Finally: Here is a letter Ailes wrote to Ashcroft in 2005, after the attorney general had stepped down, to let him know what a "great job" he had done for the country.
[Image of Ailes via Getty]