You probably know that Roger Ailes — the former TV producer turned Nixon aide turned conservative Wizard of Oz — is the mastermind behind Fox News.
His channel is still the most-watched channel in cable news. But in its slump since the election, Fox has had its worst whole-day ratings since 2008 and the worst numbers in its key demographic since 2001.
If you’d been told for a year that genius Mitt Romney was going to crush moron President Obama, you might lose some trust in your favorite news channel, too.
Now Fox is doing a little clown-cleaning. Notably, Sarah Palin and Dick Morris have been booted off the channel, though neither had appeared much since the ratings began to slide. But ridding his airwaves of two of the most laughable names in conservative media isn’t enough for Roger.
Ailes is one of those Republicans who believes the GOP’s only hope of ever winning the White House again is somehow reaching out to the minorities they’ve alienated in record numbers. The chairman of Fox Television Stations decided now was the time to make his Rodney King-like call to “get along” so the right can begin to attract Latinos.
But before he can make that point, Ailes has to do what psychoanalysts call “projection” — where a person denies his own characteristics and instead sees them in others.
“The president likes to divide people into groups,” Ailes told TheNew Republic. “He’s too busy getting the middle class to hate rich people, blacks to hate whites. He is busy trying to get everybody to hate each other. We need to get along.”
Ailes — the master of news reporting that hinges on convincing viewers that all non-Republicans are treasonous subversives who want to replace Christmas with Mao’s birthday — thinks the president wants to make blacks hate whites?
Ailes didn’t stop there. He went on to make the most telling “Freudian slip” of his career in discussing why Latinos should be Republicans.
“The fact is, we have a lot—Republicans have a lot more opportunity for them,” Ailes says.
By “we,” of course, he means the Republican Party.
For anyone who ever doubted that Fox News was the GOP’s Pravda, you can see it’s clear in the mind of the guy who runs the channel.
But what Ailes may find out the hard way is that his viewers prefer Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly screaming about “illegals” to a tone of inclusiveness. Because when you’ve built your channel on making people feel good by hating someone, eventually the viewers may figure out that the joke is on them.
Photo credit: AP/Jim Cooper