Howard Kurtz has a juicy exclusive on Roger Ailes in NewsBeast today, but he’s buried the actual news under a fluffy, nonsensical storyline that Ailes has dialed back his control of the Republican party.
From Kurtz’ own story: The top five signs that “The Chairman” is still chairman of the GOP.
1) Rick Perry kissed Ailes’ ring
“A few months back,” when the Texas Governor was debating jumping into the presidential race, Rick Perry paid court in Ailes’ office at Fox News soliciting, in particular, fundraising advice, Kurtz reports. “Money will find you if people believe in your message,” Ailes told Perry.
2) Romney wooed Ailes over dinner
Not to be outdone by his Lone Star rival, Mitt Romney also sought Ailes’ backing, meeting recently for a “pasta dinner.” Ailes was struck by Romney’s unexpected wit and gave him advice on how to be “looser on the air.”
3) Broke-Ass Tim Pawlenty went grubbing for a job at Fox
Fox News continues to be the top fallback for failed GOP politicians looking to make some fast cash. Kurtz reveals that former 2012 contender Tim Pawlenty “showed up to ask for a gig,” which Ailes refused him, seemingly because he doesn’t like Romney all that much. (Pawlenty has endorsed the former Massachusetts governor.) “I’m not sure I want to sign you as a paid spokesman for Romney,” Ailes told T-Paw.
4) The GOP’s Anti-Regulatory Push? Thank Ailes
Ailes himself “cooked up” a Fox News programming blitz called “Regulation Nation” dedicated to showing how regulations are killing the economy. No mystery here: This top GOP talking point reflects a core belief for Chairman Ailes: “I think regulations are totally out of control, [with bureaucrats hiring Ph.D.s to] sit in the basement and draw up regulations to try to ruin your life,” Kurtz quotes Ailes as saying.
5) Ailes can’t control Shep Smith
Fox News anchor Sheppard Smith, who frequently strays from the Ailes party line, has been called to the woodshed: “Every once in a while Shep Smith gets out there where the buses don’t run,” Ailes tells Kurtz, “and we have a friendly talk.”
Bonus: Ailes remains still a wee-bit paranoid
Kurtz captures Ailes discussing the excessive security measures at Fox News (which, as I reported, inlude a bomb-proof office): “Listen,” Ailes says. “One out of every 25 people in America is a psychopath.”