New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reports that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin received a warning from Fox New chairman Roger Ailes to steer clear of the debate over heated rhetoric immediately following the January shooting in Tucson, Arizona — a debate that featured numerous criticisims of Palin .
According to Sherman, Palin — angered by the criticism being leveled against her — actively sought Ailes’s advice, telling Ailes she wanted to respond but needed guidance on how best to do so. Ailes reportedly told Palin to “lie low,” going on to say, “There’s no need to inject yourself into the story.”
Palin told Ailes that others had given her similar advice, including her lawyer Bob Barnett. But Palin posted the video, which circulated around the web and dominated coverage for days afterwards. The video was widely panned, damaging Palin politically and igniting yet another debate about her choice of words: this time, her use of the phrase “blood libel.”
Sherman reports that a person familiar with Ailes’s thinking at the time said the FOX chief was stumped:
“The Tucson thing was horrible. ... Before she responded, she was making herself look like a victim. She was winning. She went out and did the blood libel thing, and Roger is thinking, ‘Why did you call me for advice?’”
The news comes as Fox News contributors Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum stand to have their contracts with the network suspended for two months while they explore the potential for a presidential bid. Should Palin decide to run for president, it is all but certain that her contract will also be subject to the same suspension rules. So, for Palin, parting ways with Ailes — compounded with the fact it proved to be so damaging to her poltically — may hurt her relationship with the network later should she decide to run.
(h/t New York Magazine)