Fox News Founder and Chairman Roger Ailes has shot back at PR executive Matthew Freud, husband of Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth, after Freud said in a New York Times profile piece highlighting Ailes’ accomplishments at Fox News that he is “ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards…”
Of course, that set off a mini-firestorm in the media world, with allegations that Murdoch’s family is trying to push Ailes out of News Corp. and that his job could be in jeopardy. Both Elisabeth Murdoch and James Murdoch have since reached out to Ailes, according to the LA Times.
Ailes joked that Freud, who is a descendant of Sigmund Freud, “needs to see a psychiatrist.”
Interestingly, some of the most “pro-Freud” commentary on the matter comes from The Daily Beast, a publication which Freud once counted as a client. Freud also represents Fox News competitor CNN.
Based on the LA Times story — which contains strong support for Ailes from News Corp. deputy chairman Chase Carey — and a conversation PRNewser had with a source close to the matter, it is evident that clearly some Murdoch family members want Ailes out, but rumors of his job not being secure are greatly exaggerated.
Our source told us that because Fox News has “real clout,” the Murdoch kids “are intimidated by that” and “want [Ailes] out because of his success.” Now, the “loyal opposition has a voice,” and “this is all about positioning to Rupert as opposed to Ailes.”
The “feud” also involves one of PR’s most powerful agencies, Rubenstein, who represents News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch personally, as well as the News Corp.-owned New York Post.
With the opening shot fired, and the rebuttal now in place, we’ll be keeping an eye on who makes the next move.