In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes insisted that his network is indeed a legitimate news operation — and not the “communications arm of the Republican Party” — but at the same time, parroted his right-wing hosts’ talking points about President Obama. When Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck describe Obama and other progressives as dangerous, out-of-touch socialists, they’re merely “reflecting reality,” Ailes explained, because Obama is a Socialist:
“The president has not been very successful,” the Fox News chairman says in a lengthy interview. “He just got kicked from Mumbai to South Korea, and he came home and attacked Republicans for it. He had to be told by the French and the Germans that his socialism was too far left for them to deal with.” [...]
“He just has a different belief system than most Americans.”
“That seems a rather loaded phrase — different belief system — even if you strongly disagree with most of Obama’s policies,” Kurtz noted. “It fits the view of those who are trying to paint the president as being outside the mainstream” or even un-American.
Ailes — who sipped from his “Fair & Balanced” coffee mug during the interview — insisted that his “network isn’t singling out Obama for criticism but that its style ‘tends to be more direct’ in challenging presidents.” However, when former President Bush came up, Ailes struck a decidedly more favorable tone: “This poor guy, sitting down on his ranch clearing brush, gained a lot of respect for keeping his mouth shut. I literally never heard an Obama speech that didn’t blame Bush.” Ailes must have not have heard many Obama speeches.
Not surprisingly, Ailes defended the right of his boss, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, to donate millions of dollars to the Republican Governors Association and the right-wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t think anyone can tell him what to do with his money,” Ailes said, apparently unconcerned about the obvious conflict of interest in a news organization investing in a political party.
Ailes did acknowledge Beck sometimes goes a little too far, but he was primarily concerned that Beck “trashes Republicans every night.” Beck’s borderline anti-Semetic comments about philanthropist George Soros are just fine, Ailes explained, regardless of what some “left-wing rabbis” think.
Nonetheless, despite his obviously political stances, earlier this year Ailes made if very clear that “I don’t do politics, I do the news.”