Friday, April 2, 2021

Roger Ailes: High on His Own Supply

(It may seem odd that I am not writing about the Derek Chauvin trial. Maybe I will be able to this weekend.)

John Boehner is in no way a hero, but the fact that he is less of an unhero than the rest of his party makes him something, I guess. He has a book coming out, and Politico has published a snip of it that I think is worth reading. 

The parts that I found most interesting are his perspective on the rise of Fox News. He knew Roger Ailes from well before its founding and met Rupert Murdoch along the way. August of 1996, when I was in San Diego for the Republican National Convention, I ended up having dinner with Ailes and a veteran broadcasting executive named Rupert Murdoch. At that dinner they told me all about this new TV network they were starting. I had no idea I was listening to the outline of something that would make my life a living hell down the line. Sure enough, that October, Fox News hit the airwaves.

All was well as far as Boehner was concerned until Obama became president (clearly, this is not true... post-9/11 is more of the mark, I'd say, but I'm sure it got worse after Obama). By the early ’10s, Boehner writes,

I met [Ailes]... to plead with him to put a leash on some of the crazies he was putting on the air. It was making my job trying to accomplish anything conservative that much harder. I didn’t expect this meeting to change anything, but I still thought it was bullshit, and I wanted Roger to know it.

[He went on about]...Benghazi, which he thought was part of a grand conspiracy that led back to Hillary Clinton. Then he outlined elaborate plots by which George Soros and the Clintons and Obama (and whoever else came to mind) were trying to destroy him.

“They’re monitoring me,” he assured me about the Obama White House. He told me he had a “safe room” built so he couldn’t be spied on....

I walked out of that meeting in a daze. I just didn’t believe the entire federal government was so terrified of Roger Ailes that they’d break about a dozen laws to bring him down. I thought I could get him to control the crazies, and instead I found myself talking to the president of the club.

So it sounds as though Boehner is saying Ailes got high on his own supply. In addition to harassing the blondes around him, of course. 

And Murdoch?

"Murdoch must have thought Ailes was good for business, because he kept him in his job for years."

 Photo by Jim Cooper/AP  


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