‘I Created a TV Network for People 55 to Dead’: MSNBC Analyst Spills on an Interaction With Ailes


With Roger Ailes‘s death today, according to The Nation correspondent and MSNBC analyst Joan Walsh, comes the ending of the gag on an off-the-record meeting the two had.

In The Nation this afternoon, you can see her version of a memorial to the man who was ousted from Fox News last summer amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment. The piece details a meeting she had with him in 2000 while she was with Salon, which was trying to pitch a show to Fox News. Here is the most buzzworthy revelation:

“I created a TV network for people 55 to dead,” Ailes boasted to us. “Nobody believed it could be done, but I did it. It’s for guys who sit on their couch with the remote all day and night.” That seemed a condescending way to talk about his audience—not to mention, much of the Republican base—but it was fascinating anyway.

“And they don’t want to see anyone like you,” he continued, looking directly at me. I wasn’t sure whether he meant a liberal, or a brunette newswoman in a dark pantsuit. “They don’t want to see you — they don’t even want to know that you exist!” And he was obliging them: he’d created a world where women were blonde and wore short tight skirts, men were in charge, and articulate, principled, complicated liberals – especially women — didn’t exist.

Post-Ailes, of course, the women aren’t wearing as many short skirts, but sexual harassment is still an issue at Fox News. Bill O’Reilly was just foisted out over it a few weeks ago.

Walsh’s account isn’t necessarily shocking, but does add another perspective to the conversation surrounding Ailes’s complexity, which has been raging all day.

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