11 January 2010

Roger Ailes as a Bed-Wetting Coward

The New York Times has a profile of Fox News chief Roger Ailes.

I glanced at it, and was not particularly impressed, but Jonathan Chait teases what I think is a nugget of truth about the media mogul:
Second, Ailes comes through in the article as paranoid (quite possibly in the clinical sense) regarding his own personal vulnerability to terrorism:

National security had long been a preoccupation of Fox News, and it was clear in the interview that the 9/11 attacks had a profound effect on Mr. Ailes. They convinced him that he and his network could be terrorist targets.

On the day of the attacks, Mr. Ailes asked his chief engineer the minimum number of workers needed to keep the channel on the air. The answer: 42. “I am one of them,” he said. “I’ve got a bad leg, I’m a little overweight, so I can’t run fast, but I will fight.

“We had 3,000 dead people a couple miles from here. I knew that any communications company could be a target.”

His movements now are shadowed by a phalanx of corporate-provided security. He travels to and from work in a miniature convoy of two sport utility vehicles. A camera on his desk displays the comings and goings outside his office, where he usually keeps the blinds drawn.
I appreciate Mr. Chait's eye for detail, but I disagree with his diagnosis, with the obvious caveat that neither he nor I are mental health professionals.

This is not paranoia. This is hysterical unreasoning terror, and, as strange as it souncs, it actually decreases the level of contempt that I feel for him.

I used to think that Fox News was the We're all gonna die!!!!!!! network (it's on one of the screens when I ride the exercise bike) because Ailes was trying to score partisan political points, but I was wrong.

He's not being a hypocrite, he just is a sniveling coward.

H/t Paul Krugman.

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