After refusing to participate in two recent profiles — one here at New York and one at Rolling Stone — Fox News overlord Roger Ailes went to Newsweek media columnist Howard Kurtz to remark on the parts of those stories he didn't like. For one thing, he says he never called Sarah Palin an idiot, which is a reference to a moment in our story when a Ailes ally told us he thinks she's stupid. (We did not quote him calling her an idiot.) And he flat-out denies that he travels around with a veritable phalanx of security, calling the Rolling Stone account a "fantasy." (Adweek editor Michael Wolff claims both profiles missed the mark a bit because they made Ailes seem calculated and Machiavellian, when actually he is just really charming and good at winning people over!)
Kurtz, who is often Ailes's go-to at times when he feels the need to speak out, knows the FNC boss well and observes:
When the climate is calm, he loves to stir up trouble, as when he told me last fall that NPR executives were "Nazis." But part of his genius is that when he faces hostile fire, Ailes can turn unexpectedly mellow, the better to make his critics look like the loony ones.
For example, he has nice things to say about at least three Democrats, who often receive the hardest criticism from his opinion hosts. "I'd like to hire Hillary Clinton," he says. "She looks unhappy at the State Department. She'd get ratings." Another New Yorker, Governor Andrew Cuomo, gets even higher praise. He'd "be a great presidential candidate if he can clean up Albany." And even Anthony Weiner, the current love-to-hate darling of the right, gets some slack from Ailes, who ordered his teams to lay off on Weinergate. "The media's had enough giggles over Mr. Weiner and his name," Ailes told Kurtz. "Sometimes the families take a bigger hit than the person that people are trying to destroy."
Hear that Fox Newsers? The boss says: When you're trying to destroy a person, think about his family.
Roger Ailes Plays Nice [Daily Beast]