Esquire's Tom Junod has penned an extensively-reported profile of Fox News President Roger Ailes available on the magazine's website. Billed as an "unbiased investigation" into the cable news operative, it's already receiving a lot of buzz in the blogosphere. Here's a collection of initial reactions to the piece:
- 'A Deep, Must-Read Profile' writes Ben Smith at Politico. Smith focuses on Junod's description of Ailes as a "believer, not a cynic":
He really believes that he is the only genuine person in the media business. He really believes that Fox is fair and balanced. He really believes that his success has very little to do with politics and very much to do with television. He really believes--despite his subsequent apologies --that the people who fired poor Juan Williams from NPR are Nazis. He really believes that he seeks out liberal voices as ardently as he seeks out conservative ones. He really believes that until his arthritis immobilized him, he could always have gone back to digging ditches for a living. He really believes that despite being immobilized by arthritis, he could handle himself if someone challenged him to a fight, and that whoever comes to New York to fight him shouldn't bother buying a plane ticket home.
- A 'Home Run,' writes Joe Coscarelli at The Village Voice: "It adds up not to something just juicy, gossipy or even easily digested. Instead, it's a mess of deep-seeming head-scratchers that directly mirror the confusion non-Fox News viewers feel about Fox's successes. Ailes, Esquire will have you believe, is entirely responsible." He points to an amusing passage in which Ailes describes his on-air talent:
By "Megyn," he means, of course, Fox fox Megyn Kelly, the meanest of the mean girls, the heaving, sumptuous blond with the wide-set eyes, the briskly triangular chin, and the porno sneer she directs at ill-fated liberal guests. Roger Ailes loves Megyn Kelly (in a fatherly way, of course): "She's a host. For one thing, she's fearless -- she'd crawl down a smokestack for a story. But look at the way she moves. She'd move like that if she was arguing at the dinner table. Very natural. O'Reilly's the same way. He's an Irishman who likes to argue. He'd do it anywhere. We just found a way for him to do it on TV."
- I Love Ailes's Line About Nixon, writes Mark Joyella at Mediaite: "We all know Ailes is a blunt and colorful speaker. But here, well, he’s quite amazing:" Here's the quote Joyella pulls:
“If Richard Nixon was alive today, he’d be on the couch with Oprah, talking about how he was poor, his brother died, his mother didn’t love him, and his father beat the shit out of him. And everybody would say, Oh, poor guy, he’s doing the best he can. See, every human being has stuff — stuff they have to carry around, stuff they have to deal with. And Richard Nixon had a lot of stuff. He did the best he could with it, but it got him in the end. Still, he did a lot of good things as president.”
- 'Puzzlingly Over-Written,' writes Chris Rovzar at New York Magazine. Rovzar especially doesn't like Junod's suggestion that Ailes's success can be explained by his ability to endure hemophilia. "Well. It's hard to tell whether this is an actual theory or just more of ASME-winning writer Tom Junod's lengthy rhetorical flourishes," says Rovzar. "But at a time when the left loves to make light of their bogeyman Dick Cheney's literal lack of a pulse, what to say about the idea of a foe whose heart might actually bleed too much?"
- I Wish Liberal Executives Were as Smart as Ailes, writes Susie at Suburban Guerrilla: "The writer’s correct... Roger Ailes is a genius. Fox News has a much better product (not in terms of bias, but in presentation and depth), and I wish liberal programming was smart enough to take a page from his book."