Roger Ailes Becomes the News

By Alex Weprin 

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Typically, when cable news anchors or hosts talk about their competition, they are talking about other anchors or hosts on competing networks. Over the last 24 hours however, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has been the subject of a number of segments, mostly on CNN, with at least one on MSNBC as well.

The basis for the segments was the excerpt from the upcoming biography about the Fox News CEO , written with his cooperation. Among other things, Ailes commented about President Obama, Newt Gingrich and other prominent figures. On CNN, no fewer than five different shows had segments on Ailes, including “CNN Newsroom,” “The Situation Room,” “Erin Burnett Outfront,” “Piers Morgan Tonight” and “Starting Point.” On MSNBC his comments were mentioned on “First look.”

It is an insidery topic, to be sure, which made all the coverage seem somewhat out of place. Piers Morgan asked boxing promoter Don King what Ailes’ legacy was:

“Roger Ailes is a genius. He’s a guy that knows how to manipulate the public, knows how to work, and he beat out CNN for about four or five months with the ratings and things in bringing the news, but he’s a victim of the same thing that everyone’s a victim of, is the color barrier,” King said.

What King was talking about, and what was reinforced by Morgan and Soledad O’Brien this morning, was a comment Ailes made apparently referring to President Obama as “lazy.”

On “Starting Point” this morning it came up again, though John Berman noted that the quote originated form something Obama said himself.