Frankenstein's monster has turned on his daddy
This is wonderful:
While Trump barnstormed rival media outlets over the last few days, dissing Kelly and Fox at virtually every turn, Ailes remained surprisingly restrained in his response, even after Trump told CNN on Friday that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the debate. Paralyzed by the volume of pro-Trump emails from Fox’s loyal viewers, Ailes’s only statement, released a day after the debate, said that he was “extremely proud of all of the moderators.” Fox’s famously aggressive PR apparatus has not gone after Trump to defend Kelly, and although Kelly’s executive producer Tom Lowell did send out an email to colleagues thanking them for their support in recent days, that support has been private.
It's his audience, he created it. Now he has to live with it.
Trump is now back in Fox’s fold, but the lengths that Ailes went to in order to win Trump back revealed a rare moment of weakness for the Fox chief. Since Trump’s “blood” comment on Friday, some Fox executives have wanted Ailes to personally call Trump and broker a truce. But, according to a Fox source, Ailes and his lawyer Peter Johnson Jr. felt that calling Trump was a risk they couldn’t take, given Trump's erratic behavior on the campaign trail. What if Trump leaked the conversation on Twitter like he did with Lindsey Graham’s cell-phone number? (When reached by email about this story, Johnson responded: “The reporting is false and obviously fabricated.”)
Ailes’s unwillingness to pick up the phone meant that Fox was flying blind. “They didn’t know what Trump was thinking,” one source explained. It was left to emissaries to try and discern Trump’s next move. But, after Trump told Sean Hannity in a weekend phone call that he was “never doing Fox again,” appeared on four non-Fox public-affairs shows on Sunday, and did interviews with Today and Morning Joe on Monday, Ailes raised the white flag and picked up the phone on Monday morning. “Roger wanted a friendly relationship,” the source explained.
Ailes offered Trump the chance to do a special on Kelly’s prime-time show to clear the air — an offer Trump flatly refused. “Donald was sufficiently pissed off that there was no way that was happening,” a person familiar with the call told me. According to the source, Trump’s ire was especially stoked after Howard Stern called to tell him about a 2010 interview in which Kelly joked about her breasts and her husband’s penis. Ailes offered other shows, and Trump agreed to appear on Fox and Friends and Hannity, two venues that have been loyal boosters of his candidacy.
Ailes’s next order of business was getting Trump to disarm publicly. According to a source briefed on the negotiations, Ailes called Trump "multiple" times yesterday morning “begging” him to tweet out that they had made peace. Trump refused at first, but finally consented. “Roger Ailes just called,” he tweeted at 10:35 a.m. yesterday. “He is a great guy & assures me that ‘Trump’ will be treated fairly on @FoxNews. His word is always good!”[...]
This morning, Ailes got his wish: Trump returned with a chatty segment on Fox and Friends. “I’m glad we’re friends again,” co-host Steve Doocy said at the opening of the segment. “We’ve always been friends,” Trump replied, disingenuously.
But resecuring Trump access could prove to be a temporary victory for Ailes. Having backed down to the GOP front-runner and all but sacrificed one of his biggest stars to appease the conservative base — a.k.a. Fox viewers — Ailes has set a dangerous precedent. The message is clear: Fox reports, but the audience decides.
Just a little reminder of Ailes' contribution to the misogynistic culture that Fox News perpetuates:
Ailes: "Move That Damn Laptop, I Can't See Her Legs!"
I think the chances that Ailes hasn't said of a woman employee who complained about something that she's "on the rag" to be somewhere around 1 in one trillion.
Sherman relayed an anecdote of Ailes regarding former Fox News reporter Kiran Chetry: "Anchor Bob Sellers remembered Ailes once calling the control booth. 'I was doing the weekend show with Kiran Chetry. He called up and said, 'Move that damn laptop, I can't see her legs!'"
Ailes: "I Did Not Spend X-Number Of Dollars On A Glass Desk For Her To Wear Pant Suits"
Sherman reports that Ailes "had admiration for [former Fox host Catherine Crier's] legs" and was livid when she appeared on-air wearing pants:
"Be more opinionated," he told Crier in one meeting. "The guests are there as a foil for you." He also disagreed with her dress. "He had admiration for her legs," a senior executive said. In one meeting, Ailes barked, "Tell Catherine I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits." [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 238]
Elsewhere in the book, discussing Megyn Kelly's famous walk through the newsroom on election night in 2012, Sherman quotes a Fox employee saying, "This is Fox News, so anytime there's a chance to show off Megyn Kelly's legs they'll go for it."