Ailes Indictment Rumor Started by Random Guy at Airport

Barry Ritholtz gets a scoop, but maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be

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Are you ready for some SKETCHY NEWS? Last week, The New York Times reported that Roger Ailes, president of Fox News Channel, may have encouraged an employee to lie to federal investigators. Then, over the weekend, blogger Barry Ritholtz updated the Ailes story with a breaking development. A source--Ritholtz identified him only as "someone I spoke with"--claimed that Ailes was going to be indicted, maybe as early as this week.

At this, the Internet caught fire. Some bloggers were skeptical, others openly gleeful, but everyone had the story. Salon's Justin ElliottĀ called Ritholtz and learned that "Ritholtz's source for the post was a man he happened to meet and strike up a conversation with at a Barbados airport over the weekend."

Pardon? Yes. This is how Elliott tells it:

Here's what happened, according to Ritholtz, who just got back from a vacation on the tropical island: He was sitting in the Barbados airport waiting for a plane to arrive and he struck up a conversation with an older man sitting next to him.

"We started chatting and next thing I know, we're waiting to leave the gate, his phone rings and he tells his wife, 'yeah Ailes just canceled the event,' Ritholtz says, describing the man as "obviously annoyed and frustrated."

The man runs an annual event in March at which Ailes was scheduled to speak, according to Ritholtz, who declined to specify the event. When he asked the man why Ailes canceled, the man said Ailes was about to be indicted. He describes the man, who he would not name, as an "Upper East Side Democrat."

So, there you have it. Ailes's indictment isn't quite a foregone conclusion just yet--even though it seems like a lot of bloggers really, really want it to be. But hey, who's this guy Ritholtz talked to? This Upper East Side Democrat with a line into the comings and goings of Roger Ailes? That seems like the real question here.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.