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Roger Ailes

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Fox News Sicced Bill O'Reilly on NBC's Punk Ass

Thin-skinned media bigwigs trade insults, Microsoft and Yahoo continue to make eyes at each other across the boardroom table, and a mysterious, rich felon moves into the Plaza … all in today's roundup of media, finance, law and real-estate news.

Steve Schwarzman Takes the Fun Out of Buybacks

FINANCE • Steve Schwarzman found yet another way to stiff his investors, using the GSO deal as an elaborate cover to buyback shares of Blackstone without the typical benefit a buyback program gives to other shareholders. No wonder the Chinese, who have lost $1 billion on Blackstone, hate him. [DealBook/NYT] • Bank of America bought Countrywide Financial, the huge mortgage company teetering at the edge of bankruptcy, for $4 billion in stock. Some observers worry the deal will take the bank down, but considering Countrywide was worth $30 billion before the mortgage meltdown, it may yet make B of A CEO Ken Lewis a king. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • Merrill Lynch will likely take a $15 billion write-down next week, far in excess of the $12 billion some already bearish analysts had predicted. John Thain is looking to rescue the bank with still more foreign investment capital, but with the Senate getting anxious, that stream dry up. [NYT, NYP]

Roger Ailes Is Chesty, Related to Lucifer. Maybe.

Ailes

Many of you may not know Dan Cooper. He's a sort-of-disgruntled former employee of the Fox News Channel who worked through its launch in 1996 and 1997 (according to his Website, he helped figure out how to get "truly local weather to be placed in a 'bug' in the corner of the screen"). He's been writing a book about the experience, called Naked Launch, which is apparently pretty scathing to FNC co-creator Roger Ailes. Jossip hears that he's about to set part of his criticism on his Website later today, including this gem:
The best thing that ever happened to Roger Ailes was 9/11. Even Roger Ailes, Machiavellian as he was, couldn’t have dreamed up anybody as fabulous as Usama bin Laden (Allah told Roger to spell it Usama), or UBL, as Fox News called him. Because somebody up there, or down there, loved Roger, 9/11 happened on his watch. It gave him the opportunity to throw gasoline on the bonfire he had already set to scorch and destroy traditional liberal values. For those of you under 50, the United States once had liberal values. There was even such a thing as liberal Republicans. That’s enough of that, because I know talking about the Devil’s spawn and blond big-boobed temptresses is far more interesting. But hang on a bit.
On 9/11 and Ailes, well, duh. But we kind of love Roger Ailes for what he's done with the Fox Business Network of Joy and for being so unashamed about everything Foxy. Still, "Devil's spawn" and "big-boobed temptresses"? We'd totally buy a book about him if it were written in the voice of Anne Rice! Former Roger Ailes Confidant Dan Cooper is Ready to Spill Blood [Jossip]

CNBC and the ‘Times’: United Against Fox Business Network!

Ailes
Did anybody else notice the funny timing of the New York Times' attack coverage of Fox Business Network? On January 4, Jacques Steinberg and Brian Stelter wrote a story called "Few Viewers for Infancy of Fox Business," in which the two television writers tore down the new channel for getting only about 6,000 viewers during the day. "By contrast, Fox Business’s chief competitor, CNBC, attracted about 283,000 viewers each weekday," the story explained, going on to accuse FBN of having "bravado" during their launch. "Thus far, at least, CNBC would seem to have easily eluded Fox’s crosshairs," the writers cackle. The numbers were based on secret Nielsen ratings for the new channel that only CNBC and FBN had paid to receive. On the same day, there were several other stories on the topic, with less gleeful Schadenfreude. And since, in those stories, a Fox rep spoke with reporters, it's probably a safe bet that they didn't cooperate on the Times story. In other words, they probably didn't leak the unpublished Nielsen ratings: CNBC most likely did. Now, it's pretty easy to understand wanting Rupert Murdoch and Fox to fail. But the aggression in this story was put into a surprising new context yesterday when it was announced that CNBC and the New York Times are starting a content-sharing partnership that has been in the works for a while. From the Reuters story reporting the collaboration:
The deal also gives the Times and CNBC access to each other's breaking business news as Rupert Murdoch's News Corp prepares to fight them both with the nascent Fox Business Network cable channel and the recently acquired Wall Street Journal.
Um, huh. Is it us, or does it seem like CNBC and the Times had already started fighting side by side? New York 'Times' And CNBC in Web Deal [NYT]