In an interview with the AP out today, Fox New chief Roger Ailes says he hired former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) “because she was hot”:
From the start, Ailes has steadfastly denied any such political bias or agenda on the part of his network. Politics, schmolitics: “I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings,” he declares.
Ailes’ quote is stunning in its own right, but it’s worth noting that were it coming from a progressive figure, he would likely be immediately tarred and feathered by conservatives as a sexist. Since Palin was picked to run for vice president, conservatives have bristled at any reference to Palin’s looks or suggestions that her appearance has contributed to her popularity.
Take conservative media criticism site Newsbusters, for instance. When Fox News contributor Juan Williams called Palin a “centerfold” and said her attractiveness contributed to her success, Newsbusters cried “double standard,” writing that Williams’ “demeaning” comment reflects liberals’ “need [of] some way of dismissing her without addressing the issues.” When comedian Bill Maher made a similar suggestion, Newsbusters cried that Maher had “denigrated Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann as merely ‘attractive.’” When Newsweek magazine ran an article mentioning the “supposed hotness of Republican women,” including Palin, Newsbusters cried “sexism.” When the hosts of the entertainment show The Talk called Palin “hot,” Newsbusters questioned their “intelligence.”
Now, the head of the country’s most popular cable news network, to which Palin owes a good deal of her success, is making the same insensitive assertions as Williams and Maher, and essentially confirming them; will Newsbusters and other conservatives speak out? Of course, Ailes’ network happens to be an ideological ally of Newsbusters, and one that regularly features its president.