Roger Ailes, president of Fox News and maker of sinister expressions, shows his true colors in a new biography, Roger Ailes: Off Camera, by Zev Chafets. We've seen them before, but it's always nice to hear the media executive and former political consultant show some self awareness, pugnacious — some would say downright repugnant — as he can be. Among the many glimpses into Ailes's dough-jawed dome is a particularly stark portrait of the 72-year-old's lack of political ambition. "I could never be elected," Ailes told Chafets, who'd asked if Ailes would ever be president. "I couldn't follow my own advice. Duck, weave, that's what a candidate needs to do. That's not me. I'd probably start calling people jerks. So, I wouldn't be a viable candidate."
Of course he wouldn't. But Ailes seems quite content acting as a kingmaker. We learned just a few weeks after the election that Ailes tried (and failed) to convince David Petraeus to run for president. Ailes later said that it was a joke, but it left many people if Fox News actually could handpick a president. While we'll have to wait four more years for an answer to that hypothetical, there's little doubt that Ailes will continue to do politics his way. The Ailes way happens off the ballot and behind the scenes. Handwritten notes, invitations and veiled threats to the most powerful people in the country — that's how Roger works. And if you want to be on the right side of that operation, you better not bore the boss. "In a negotiation I can always sit and outwait the other guy," Ailes said, "but I have a very short attention span for things that irritate me." Like politics, evidently.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.