Roger Ailes, working on his facts


(Helayne Seidman/FREELANCE)

That claim turned out to have been wrong.

Fact No. 2: In a May appearance at Ohio University, Ailes called reporters from the New York Times “a bunch of lying scum.”

A Fox News executive later told the Daily Beast that Ailes regretted using such language.

Fact No. 3: Also in that Ohio session, Ailes said this of the New York Times in a chat with longtime journalist Andy Alexander:

Ailes: What if you got up on a Thursday morning and the front page of The New York Times said you were going to be indicted on Monday. How would you feel about that? Let’s assume you hadn’t done anything and don’t know anything about it. That happened to me. I got up on a Thursday morning and it said Roger will be indicted on Monday.

Alexander: And what ---

Ailes: And do you know what they used for their source? They said somebody was overheard in the waiting room of a Barbados airport saying it. That was their source for that story.

As Jay Rosen explains, that never took place. The “Thursday” story that Ailes refers to appears to be this piece, from Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, in which the New York Times reported on some turmoil within News Corp., the parent company of Fox News. It presented an allegation: “After the publishing powerhouse Judith Regan was fired by HarperCollins in 2006, she claimed that a senior executive at its parent company, News Corporation, had encouraged her to lie two years earlier to federal investigators who were vetting Bernard B. Kerik for the job of homeland security secretary.” The executive in question was Ailes, though the piece never stated anything about a pending indictment of him.

The bizarre Barbados angle entered the picture via a blogger.

A New York Times spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter. Fox News didn’t respond to an inquiry.

Fact No. 4: Ailes told the Ohio audience that the Pittsburgh Steelers had “won four Super Bowls in a row.”

Not true: They won in 1975 and 1976 and then in 1979 and 1980. For a Fox News executive, that’s what you call close enough.

This Roger Ailes College Tour sure is fun. When’s the next stop?

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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