Roger Ailes: Obama ‘Just Has a Different Belief System Than Most Americans’

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Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

In an unapologetic interview with the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, Fox News chief Roger Ailes spouted exactly the same rhetoric about President Obama that you hear on his channel. "He just has a different belief system than most Americans," he told Kurtz (who, as a reporter, gave no indication of whether Ailes meant "socialism" or "Islam"). Ailes added that Obama "has not been very successful" keeping the public's favor despite having "had 3,000 press secretaries since he got into office." Meanwhile, Fox News hero George W. Bush has been winning the PR war, according to Ailes, merely by staying quiet. "This poor guy, sitting down on his ranch clearing brush, gained a lot of respect for keeping his mouth shut," Ailes said. "I literally never heard an Obama speech that didn’t blame Bush."

Naturally, after hyperbole like that, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (who has been the official press secretary since the inauguration, so apparently the 2,999 others were ghost press secretaries) what he thought. Gibbs, for all the administration's battles with Fox News, appeared unperturbed. "I think if you watch most of the programming on that channel, I don’t think you would find many of those comments surprising," he said.

Meanwhile, Ailes did admit a weakness on the home front: Glenn Beck's big mouth. "He and I have had conversations and lunches where I say, 'What the hell are you doing, man?' " Ailes said, referring in part to the time when his star commentator called Obama a "racist." "Beck [also] trashes Republicans every night. I've said to him, 'Where the hell are you going to get your audience if you keep this up? You're trashing everyone.' " (Two points for honesty!) Beck, Ailes says, takes criticism well "because he’s so intelligent and basically sensitive." But the FNC boss won't stand for those elsewhere in the network grumbling about Beck's ascendance. "Yeah, shut up," he said. "You’re getting a paycheck. Go on the team or get off the team. Don't run around here bad-mouthing a colleague."

Roger Ailes Lets Rip [Daily Beast]