Biography: Fox News Founder Roger Ailes Urged MSNBC to Name Channel NBC, Saying “M.S. is a Disease”

by Colonel on March 7, 2013

“For months, Roger Ailes and I had been meeting regularly at Fox News headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, at his home in Putnam County, and at public and private gatherings. In that time I got a closer look at Roger Ailes than any journalist who doesn’t work for him ever has. He is plainspoken, wryly profane, caustic, and above all competitive, whether he is relating how he told NBC not to name its cable channel MSNBC (“M.S. is a damn disease”) or, in an appearance before a student audience, trying to recall the name of a CNN anchor “named after a prison.” (Soledad O’Brien.) Ailes, in his years as a political consultant, created images for a living, and his own narrative is constructed from the sturdy materials of American mythology. In our first meeting, he said he had dug ditches as a kid and would be happy to go back to it if the whole media-empire thing ever fell apart. Ailes is no more likely than I am to dig ditches (and a lot less likely to need to), but I got his point. He is a blue-collar guy from a factory town in Ohio who has stayed close to his roots. After I had known him for a while I asked what he would do if he were president of the United States. He said that he would sign no legislation, create no new regulations, and allow the country to return to its natural, best self, which he locates, with modest social amendments, somewhere in midwestern America circa 1955.

” – Copyright 2013 Conde Nast

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