Ailes wants to elect a president, but he can’t find a candidate

New York Magazine
All the 2012 candidates know that Fox News chief Roger Ailes is a crucial constituency. “You can’t run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger,” a GOPer tells Gabriel Sherman, who is writing a book on Fox News. “Every single candidate has consulted with Roger.” But he hasn’t found any of them compelling. “He finds flaws in every one,” says a person familiar with his thinking. Another adds: “He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she’s stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven’t elevated the conservative movement.” || More from Sherman’s cover story:

Last week, Ailes turned 71. He’s spending considerable time thinking about his legacy. It bothers him that he’s still regarded as an outsider. “He doesn’t want to be hated,” a GOPer who knows Ailes well said. “It really bothers him. You can’t gross a billion a year and retain an outlaw sensibility forever.”

In the halls of Fox News, people do not want to be caught talking about what will happen to Fox News after the Ailes era. The network continues to be Ailes’s singular vision, and he’s so far declined to name a successor. One possibility in the event Ailes departs when his contract is up in 2013 is that Bill Shine could continue to oversee prime time and Michael Clemente would run the news division. But more than one person described fearing Lord of the Flies–type chaos in the wake of Ailes’s departure, so firm has his grip on power been.

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  • David Conrad

     I don’t see the problem. Doesn’t Rupert Murdoch still own them all? Won’t he just hand-pick a successor? Or is the presumption that Murdoch will predecease Ailes?