“The war with the White House only stirred ratings:” Roger Ailes

I should have posted it last week, thus risking the possibility that anyone who cares has read it, but New York‘s profile of Roger Ailes is a must read. The most salient fact should not surprise: Ailes is the GOP’s kingmaker, to whom every candidate must grovel and offer the proper obeisance. The second point should have been obvious to me: Ailes cares about profit more than his political views, and will discard the latter if it interferes with the former:

“He thinks things are going in a bad direction,” another Republican close to Ailes told me. “Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she’s stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven’t elevated the conservative movement.”

In the aftermath of the Tucson rampage, the national mood seemed to pivot. Ailes recognized that a Fox brand defined by Palin could be politically vulnerable. Two days after the shooting, he gave an interview to Russell Simmons and told him both sides needed to lower the temperature. “I told all of our guys, ‘Shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually.’ ”

The news from America’s Most Trusted News Source isn’t good. Internecine war rages: O’Reilly, who can’t stand Sean Hannity, allies himself with Beck. Shepard Smith, he of the lavender lipstick, thrives as the token liberal. Meanwhile the ratings drop. Regrettably. Should FOX, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh fade as pinatas for liberals who have no one with whom to rehearse their arguments, will those Tea Party rallies turn deadlier?

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