I didn’t much care for Esquire’s exhaustive profile of Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes, which essentially tries to put him on an analyst’s couch and is written in a smug, jokey sort of way.
But I was struck by two parts of the piece — one, because it puts what Fox has done extraordinarily well; and two, because it highlights that Ailes sees Fox News as his own individual fiefdom and clearly doesn’t have much regard for other executives in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire.
When Murdoch comes down to visit Ailes at his office, Ailes sniffs to his interviewer, “He comes down here a lot, because I’m the only one of his executives who’s not crawling up his leg.”
Really? So all those other well-paid, hard-charging execs working for Murdoch are pathetic brown-nosers and lap dogs? Gee, who knew?
As for the first part, here’s one of the more succinct descriptions I’ve heard of the intent and purpose of Fox News’ “fair and balanced” slogan, which Ailes takes credit for coining:
Is Fox News “fair and balanced”? Doesn’t matter. Because fair and balanced is not a description of Fox News; it’s an attack on everyone else. And what really makes Fox News different from other respectable news organizations is that its original charge, from the Emperor of the Outback, was neither “report” nor even “decide.” It was “win.”
In other words, while Ailes functions like a political operative, Murdoch’s greatest allegiance — despite his conservative politics — is always to the bottom line, and advancing his company’s corporate interests.
Read the whole thing if you want, but frankly, as a time-saving public service to readers, those are the only parts that matter.