What Roger Ailes said at Ohio University

The transcript of Roger Ailes’ remarks [PDF] at Ohio University is now online.

Some interesting passages from his May 21 talk and audience Q-and-A:

Roger Ailes

Why he wouldn’t allow his talk to be videotaped: “Because Websites that are pornographic and otherwise have used videos of me. I don’t care if Jon Stewart does it; I don’t care if he makes fun. I don’t care if Jay Leno does it. I don’t care. But I happen to believe that Fox is serious business. And I don’t care; I was gonna even film it myself, but I don’t think what I have to say is all that important. If it is important it’s important to a small group of people. It doesn’t need to go out over the Internet and I’m not a big fan of Websites.”

What he plans to do when his contract expires in June of 2013: “I haven’t announced it and I’m not sure I even know it. My wife and I are discussing it. I’m happy at Fox News. I think we’re providing a service that sometimes is not being provided by some of the other networks. I would love to see that continue forever. But I haven’t made definitive plans. I have options. I’ve actually had people try to hire me. So far not for great jobs.”

“Our job is not to be a lap dog or an attack dog, but to be a watch dog.”

“We don’t mind when Abu Ghraib happened in the Bush administration. We carried that full pictures, full bore, 17 times. Now The New York Times had it, I believe, 44 times on their front page. And I went to the editorial meeting one morning and I said to the head of our news division, ‘Why aren’t we doing Abu Ghraib today?’ And he said because there’s no news. I said, ‘Well The Times has got it on the front page.’ They said it was a political agenda for The Times; for us we’re waiting for more news. Every time there’s news we put it up full screen and lead the news shows with it. It’s just a different philosophy. Don’t cover it up but don’t push it if there’s no news.”

About anchor Shepard Smith: “My suspicion is that Shep’s a liberal, but he actually works at trying to put it over the plate and right down the center.”

About his memoir: “I am starting to write one, yes. But only because other people are writing about me and I decided I might as well—you know, one of the chapters is for my 12-year old son and it says, ‘Don’t believe the New York Times, Daddy was actually in the room.’ So I want to make sure he gets the real story.”

More on his book: “I’m doing it more for my son so he gets the perspective of what actually happened because many people write about me and you know, at least three times, four times a week we read something on the Internet that simply never happened or isn’t true. And, it has my name on it but you can’t believe what it’s like to get up in the morning and read your name and see you did something or said something that just didn’t happen. There are cases when I wasn’t even there.”

“Newspapers are dying, their profits are down, they [New York Times] had to go to a guy in Mexico [Carlos Slim] to cough up enough cash to keep them running. They’re a far-left wing newspaper. They have an absolute right to be. And I don’t have any problem with that other than the fact that I have a right to present what I view to be an alternative point of view to The New York Times.”

“Somebody will come over and poke me in the chest and say you work for that Fox? Isn’t that a conservative channel? And I say, well let me ask you if you’re comfortable with CNN? They say yeah. I say how about MSNBC? They say great. I say NBC, CBS? Terrific. NPR, PBS okay? Yep. Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times, fine? Yep. I say so what you’re trying to say is this little cable channel over here sometimes does stories you don’t like; doesn’t line up with your world view. I say there are a couple of totalitarian states somewhere that tried that. So, you want people who will take the different direction sometimes.”

Bill Keller. (Ailes says the former Times editor was fired.)

“[New York Times' Bill Keller] got fired because he was putting the editorials on the front page as news, so –”
Moderator: “Actually I think he resigned.”
“That’s what we all say. More time with the family. It usually means you got your butt fired; that’s what it means.”

“The New York Times and Washington Post and so on wants to pretend that I was somehow a political advisor to Richard Nixon and I personally developed the southern strategy. I was a television producer. My job was to figure out where the backlight was and the key light and make sure the microphones worked and the staging was good because I was a TV producer.”

“Even their own news people at NBC won’t go on MSNBC generally. I mean, you know Brian Williams doesn’t want to be caught dead over there, because it’s all opinion and it’s all far left. And he’s you know got to maintain he’s basically a Democrat who worked for Jimmy Carter, but he wants NASCAR image and he understands he’s got to stay broad- based. And Brian is by and large a fair, I think sincere newsman. But CNN actually works at, I mean, they tend to hire only liberals because only liberals work for the news business. But they try to stay a little more neutral. They’ve got some very good people. Candy Crowley, great journalist. Wolf Blitzer, excellent journalist.”

“I think they ought to cancel the White House Correspondents dinner. …I didn’t go, I haven’t gone in the last couple years.”

“I know Jon [Stewart] and I know Steve Colbert. In the sense – I mean one’s a comedy actor. Colbert is actually a comedy actor. Stewart’s a comic; he’s got 12 writers writing gags. So there is a difference in the two in terms of — because I’ve worked in the comedy field and I know a lot about it. They’re both very talented. They make, you know, Jon Stewart would go out of business without Fox News. I mean he’d have to go back to doing standup in clubs.”

* Roger Ailes at Ohio University, May 21 (Transcript/PDF)
* Earlier: Ailes regrets “sliming” NYT reporters during OU talk (JimRomenesko.com)

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