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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 10/05/2011

Fox News’s Roger Ailes: ‘I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot’

On the cusp of Fox News’s 15th birthday, the operation’s boss, Roger Ailes, has given the Associated Press an excellent quote:

“I hired Sarah Palin because she was hot and got ratings.”

That quip will get a lot of attention in the coming decades, in all the predictable ways: proof of Fox News’s shallowness and depravity; proof of the operation’s disregard for women; proof that Ailes will do anything to beat his competitors in the ratings.

There’s also a deeper point: When you work for the nation’s leading cable-news outfit; when you’re engaged in a cultural war on the airwaves every day; when you’re convinced that the establishment is after you, just say whatever. Whatever thought comes to mind — however base, offensive, vacuous — just say it! Follow that simple rule, and the ratings will take care of themselves.

By  |  11:49 AM ET, 10/05/2011

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