As his network battles against Gabriel Sherman’s new biography, The Loudest Voice in the Room, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes sat down for an extended interview with The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to addressing some of the accusations against him in the book, Ailes echoed Fox’s recent full page ad by saying he’s “thrilled” that both CNN and MSNBC are “out of the news business.”
Asked what he makes of CNN president Jeff Zucker’s plans to bring “more shows and less newscasts” to the network, Ailes replied:
“I’m actually thrilled. MSNBC has [already] announced they’re out of the news business. They have several different hosts, but it’s always the same show: Republicans are no good. The NBC News people won’t get caught dead on MSNBC. They could have a traffic accident in front of the window, and they wouldn’t cover it. For CNN to also throw in the towel and announce they’re out of the news business is quite interesting. That means Fox has won the cable news wars. [Zucker] had a big hit with a whale one night [the documentary Blackfish]. I guess he’s going to do whales a lot. If I were Discovery, I’d be worried.”
Last June, MSNBC head Phil Griffin admitted in an interview that his network is “not the place” for breaking news. While that comment may have indicated he was ceding ground to CNN, the approach has also benefitted Fox, which continues to do big numbers during major news events.
Ailes also weighed in on MSNBC’s decision to install and then remove Alec Baldwin from its prime time lineup. “They dodged a bullet,” he said, explaining that MSNBC would have had to fire Baldwin for low ratings if it hadn’t been for his bad behavior.
Defending the newest addition to Fox’s prime time lineup, Ailes said he didn’t understand the “uproar” over Megyn Kelly’s “Santa Claus just is white” comments. “The people who are jealous of her, who want to bring down or hurt Fox News, see an opportunity,” he said. “If they have to beat up somebody as talented as Megyn Kelly on Santa Claus, they’re pathetic.”
Finally, on Sherman’s upcoming book, Ailes said, “Attacking me and Fox News is nothing new –- it’s a cottage industry. What’s new is that Random House refused to fact check the content with me or Fox News — that tells you everything you need to know about this book and its agenda.”
Read the full interview at HollywoodReporter.com.
[photo via Fox News]
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