The new biography of Roger Ailes by his hand-picked fluffer, Zev Chafets, is getting some exposure in the press via reviews and excerpts. News Corpse recently reported that Ailes agreed to cooperate with Chafets in order to make a preemptive strike against a more critical look at his career by journalist Gabriel Sherman, whose book will be published in May. The New York Times published a scathing review that ripped Chafets for producing a book that…
“…reads like a long, soft-focus, poorly edited magazine article. For the most part Mr. Chafets serves as little more than a plastic funnel for Mr. Ailes’s observations […] he doesn’t ask his subject many tough questions about Fox News’s incestuous relationship with the Republican Party, its role in accelerating partisanship in our increasingly polarized society or the consequences of its often tabloidy blurring of the lines between news and entertainment.”
Now the New York Observer has posted another excerpt that reveals the lengths to which Ailes will go to annoy his enemies. Chafets writes that Ailes had already decided “he would have to get rid of Glenn Beck,” but he didn’t take any actions to do so for many months. This stalling occurred even though he was aware that “An advertising boycott organized by ColorOfChange.org hurt revenues, and Beck’s ratings declined.” This reference to the Color Of Change action is the first time that Ailes has admitted that Fox lost money due to the boycott. He previously made emphatic denials that there had been any impact on revenue. The reason Ailes gave for putting off Beck’s departure, according to Chafets, was that he “didn’t want to give MoveOn and Media Matters the satisfaction.”
So there you have it. The CEO of a news network had concluded that Beck’s rhetoric was divisive and “over the top,” but he permitted him to continue broadcasting his race-baiting, Nazi-inflected, conspiracy theories for several more months because he was afraid to give his critics something they might celebrate. Ailes would rather poison the airwaves (and the minds of his viewers) with lies and hatred than to let his ideological adversaries think they had scored a victory. That’s the true nature of Fox News and its philosophy of journalism.
It goes without saying that Ailes’ ego-driven decision-making was flawed from the start. Delaying the cancellation of Beck had zero effect on how his critics would respond. Removing Beck from the air was a victory whether it occurred in January or July. The only person whose “satisfaction” was affected was Ailes himself. Chafets never recognizes this fact and the excerpt irrationally concludes with him asserting that “Ailes was right again.”
Chafets further sucks up by saying that, as a result of his maneuvering, “Ailes could plausibly say that he had moved Fox safely away from the fringe.” Where he gets that notion from is a mystery. Particularly in light of Fox’s acquisitions since the election that include Mark Levin, Herman Cain, Scott Brown, and Erick Erickson (who once called a Supreme Court Justice a “goat-fucking child molester”). They join fringe all-stars Sean Hannity, Eric Bolling, and Steve Doocy, among others. This is not what most people would describe as plausibly moving away from the fringe, but it is the Fox way.