How Roger Ailes Got Fox News A Democratic Primary Debate Leading Up To The 2004 Election

By Alex Weprin Comment

As part of its cover story on Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, Esquire has been posting additional fun nuggets of information on its politics blog. Today, Tom Junod writes about his favorite story that he couldn’t include in the article, which comes courtesy of former Ailes deputy and current Bloomberg TV chief David Rhodes:

“Everybody’s got a Democratic primary debate — CNN and the Los Angeles Times bring you the California Primary Debate — but we’re getting no participation at all. So Roger comes up with the idea of the Congressional Black Caucus Debate. Roger found out that the Congressional Black Caucus felt ignored by the party structure, so he went down and personally did the deal. It was just him and Elijah Cummings in a room, and when they were done, he called us and said, ‘Okay, we’re going to two debates, Baltimore and Detroit, and here are the dates.’ Now nobody could turn him down. Was it cynical? No, it was just an example of Roger looking at a situation and asking, ‘How can we get some programming out of this?'”

Ailes also has a great quote about Juan Williams, who he signed to a multi-million dollar deal with the network after he was fired by NPR:

[W]hen I interviewed Ailes in December and a mug-shotty still photograph of Juan Williams showed up on the Fox program Ailes was watching, he was able to enjoy the fruits of his loyalty, saying: “What’s Juan up to? What happened to him? I’ve already told him I’m not saving his ass anymore. That’s it for you, Juan; that’s it till the end of your life, buddy.”

Read Junod’s entire post, here.