A Washington Post story reports Fox News CEO Roger Ailes urged Gen. David Petraeus in 2011 to consider running for president. Ailes’ advice to Petraeus is the focus that gained traction in the news media this morning.
But an equally important bit in the Post‘s story is a part in which it’s revealed that Ailes asked Petraeus to critique Fox News’ editorial policy.
The Post‘s report is based on a recorded conversation between Petraeus and Kathleen T. McFarland, a Fox News national security analyst:
“The digital recording also provides a glimpse into the close relationship Petraeus had with the news media, especially Fox News. At one point, McFarland declared that “everybody at Fox loves you,” adding that Ailes had directed her to ask Petraeus whether “there [is] anything Fox is doing, right or wrong, that you want to tell us to do differently?”
Petraeus didn’t hesitate. “The editorial policy of Fox had shifted,” he said. “It was almost as if, because they’re going after Obama, they had to go after Obama’s war as well.” He said he had discussed this with Bret Baier, a key Fox anchor.
It’s generally unsound journalistic practice to ask a government official for advice, though there’s no evidence Ailes intended to implement any of the advice.
Petraeus was under the impression at the time, according to the report, that his conversation with McFarland was off the record.