Mitt Romney and many other top Republican officals have quietly met with Fox News chief Roger Ailes, Politico reports today. Both House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have privately met with Ailes — McConnell speaks with Ailes “regularly” and the two are “confidant[s] of more than two decades” — while Romney and Ailes have “mutual respect for one another,” a spokesperson said.
Why Republicans would want to meet with Ailes, who was a Republican political operative before entering broadcast news, is obvious. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) himself said, the network is “a powerful voice in the Republican Party.” The channel claims to be an impartial and “fair and balanced” source, but it clearly plays a major role in shaping and advancing conservative narratives, and thus can be a huge asset to GOP politicians.
The investigation into Fox News’ parent company NewsCorp’s operations in U.K. have exposed the lengths to which politicians went to curry favor with Rupert Murdoch and his media empire there, and the American conservatives’ meetings with Ailes seem to be in the same vein.