Gawker Uncovers a 1970 ‘Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News’

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Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Fox News might not have launched until 1996, but Gawker's John Cook dug up a document from the Nixon Library that shows Ailes was mulling the idea much earlier. An unsigned memo found inside a larger cache of documents from Ailes's time as a consultant for both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush White Houses lays out the very detailed plan: a network, possibly run out of the White House, that pushed administration policies at an estimated start-up cost of $310,000. Ailes wanted to work on the project, which he called "an excellent idea." The White House, or at least H.R. Haldeman, initially agreed, but Ailes was fired before the project could get started. Obviously, he didn't abandon the idea of right-wing programming, perhaps struck by this line by the memo's anonymous author: "People are lazy. With television you just sit — watch — listen. The thinking is done for you." [Gawker]