Michael Wolff’s Advice for NBC News: Do What Roger Ailes Would Do


In advance of his new book, Television Is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media In the Digital Age, long-time media writer Michael Wolff spoke with New York Times Magazine about the state of media and the enduring power of television.

Perhaps most noteworthy for our audience, however, was the following bit. When asked how he would deal with NBC’s struggle to figure out what to do with beleaguered anchor and serial exaggerator Brian Williams, Wolff said this:

I would do what Roger Ailes would do. Through Roger’s eyes, the issue is: What does my audience want? So, why should I have to run my business on the basis of what media people say I should do — people who don’t want me to succeed?

Perhaps sensing the opportunity to squeeze more Ailes-related soundbites out of Wolff, interviewer Mark Leibovich asked: “Do you think Hillary Clinton would be well served to follow the ‘What would Roger Ailes do’ credo?”

Wolff’s response:

I think we would all be well served to follow that credo. That’s what we should be thinking: What’s good for my own business? We’re in a business that’s dying everywhere. We said, “We’ll make everything for free.” On a very real level, you have a responsibil­ity to make your own business work. And it’s a responsibility that I feel very hotly, because in our business — where I make my money and you make your money — somebody screwed that up.

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