Roger Ailes Q&A with The Hollywood Reporter

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Ahead of the release of what’s supposed to be a critical biography of Roger Ailes, the Fox News CEO spoke at length with The Hollywood Reporter. We’ve pulled the best parts.

Ailes likes MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: ”I think Rachel Maddow has been a surprise to a lot of people. She wouldn’t really work at this network because she wouldn’t even come in the door, but on a personal level, I like her. I don’t want to hurt her career, so I won’t say we get along, but I’ve had dialogue with her, and she’s very smart.”

On the critical Ailes biography, due out this month: ”Attacking me and Fox News is nothing new — it’s a cottage industry. What’s new is that Random House (the publisher) refused to fact check the content with me or Fox News; that tells you everything you need to know about this book and its agenda.”

His thoughts on retirement: ”I’ve never wanted my kid faced with the idea of, ‘Who’s the fat guy sitting in the living room? What the hell is he doing?’ I figure I might as well go to work so he can say his dad works. I will someday. But I won’t quit stirring things up.”

His thoughts on Bill O’Reilly and a potential history channel: ”I think Bill can last as long as he wants because he’s driven by organic energy. He likes money, but he’s not doing it for the money. He probably likes power, but he’s not doing it for the power. He’s driven by things that he sees that are not right from his point of view. … I would like News Corp to form a history channel and let Bill work with me. I’d run it for him because I’d like history done correctly for a change.”

He thinks Megyn Kelly was joking about “white Santa”: “She was joking. She’s talking about Santa Claus, for Christ’s sake.”

One of the first things Ailes reads in the morning is a paper Fox News loves to hate, the New York Times: “I look at four New York newspapers: The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, the [New York]Post and the Daily News. On my cellphone, I look at Drudge [Report] because he’s the best aggregator going on.”

Why Ailes hired Sarah Palin again, after the first time: “I’m not a defender of everything she says. I don’t hear everything she says. But I know she represents a certain group of people who rose up against their own party, which you rarely see. I probably hired her back, if you really want to get to the bottom of it, to give her a chance to say her piece and piss off the people that wanted her dead.”

He’s ambivalent to Twitter: “ Twitter is a wonderful device. And I call it a device, but there are people that are addicted to it now. That’s not good. You’re really not very interesting using only so many letters.”

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