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Rolling Stone Article On Ailes: The Question Is No Longer Whether Fox News Is An Arm Of The GOP But Whether It's Becoming The Torso Instead

Reported by Ellen - May 29, 2011 -

There's another must-read article about Roger Ailes and Fox News, this time from Rolling Stone. In an article called, How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory, writer Tim Dickinson destroys whatever credibility Ailes and Fox may have had left for their contention that they are a real news operation and not a GOP propaganda machine. In a sea of fascinating details about Ailes' rise as a political operative, using tactics that foreshadowed maneuvers at Fox, this line stands out: “The question is no longer whether Fox News is an arm of the GOP,” says (Eric) Burns, the network’s former media critic, “but whether it’s becoming the torso instead.” The answer very much appears to be yes. Dickinson later adds, “The only thing that remains to be seen is whether Ailes can have it both ways: reaching his goal of $1 billion in annual profits while simultaneously dethroning Obama with one of his candidate-­employees. Either way, he has put the Republican Party on his payroll and forced it to remake itself around his image. Ailes is the Chairman, and the conservative movement now reports to him.” There are also some juicy tidbits about Ailes' paranoia and Islamophobia.

Dickinson also confirms what I and the other original News Hounds suspected in 2004: that Fox and the George W. Bush team worked hand in hand. Dickinson reiterates material that aired in the documentary Outfoxed (for which I worked as a researcher) showing how Fox News actively worked to shape a narrative showing Bush as the winner of the contested 2000 election. But Dickinson adds,

After Bush took office, Ailes stayed in frequent touch with the new Republican president. “The senior-level editorial people believe that Roger was on the phone every day with Bush,” a source close to Fox News tells Rolling Stone. “He gave Bush the same kind of pointers he used to give George H.W. Bush – delivery, effectiveness, political coaching... In fact, Fox News was working ­directly with the Bush administration to coordinate each day’s agenda – as Bush’s own press secretary, Scott McClellan, later conceded. “We at the White House,” McClellan said, “were getting them talking points.” (Ailes and Fox News declined repeated requests from Rolling Stone for an interview.)”

However, there are dark clouds on the Ailes horizon. Dickinson notes that the relationship between Ailes and News Corp head Rupert Murdoch has “grown rocky” and that Ailes has “increasingly become a headache for News Corp.” Ailes' contract with Fox is up in 2013.

But here's the juicy part: According to Dickinson, “Ailes is certain that he’s a top target of Al Qaeda terrorists.”

Inside his blast-resistant office at Fox News headquarters, Ailes keeps a monitor on his desk that allows him to view any activity outside his closed door. Once, after observing a dark-skinned man in what Ailes perceived to be Muslim garb, he put Fox News on lockdown. “What the hell!” Ailes shouted. “This guy could be bombing me!” The suspected terrorist turned out to be a janitor. “Roger tore up the whole floor,” recalls a source close to Ailes. “He has a personal paranoia about people who are Muslim – which is consistent with the ideology of his network.”

Required reading for News Hounds!



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