Is Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes Going to Jail?
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Right. Good luck with that.
Here’s how the Times reported the Fox News response:
[T]he spokeswoman, Teri Everett, said News Corporation had a letter from Ms. Regan “stating that Mr. Ailes did not intend to influence her with respect to a government investigation.” Ms. Everett added, “The matter is closed.”
As blogger Henry Blodget noted over the weekend, Fox News’ official/absurd response only highlights how hot and how deep the water is that now surrounds the channel’s boss [emphasis original]
Note what it does NOT say: It does not say that Roger Ailes did NOT tell Judith Regan to lie to the feds.
Instead, it says that News Corp. now has a letter from Judith Regan saying that Roger Ailes "did not intend to [tell her to lie]."
In other words, News Corp itself did not take a public position on what Roger Ailes did or didn't do. It is keeping its options open.
By the way, how would Judith Regan know what Roger Ailes intended?
ANSWER: She wouldn't. She's not inside his head.
So yeah, it’s a non-denial denial. Kind of. Actually, it’s just a complete mess.
Meanwhile, what about Murdoch? If the Ailes story continues to gain traction how will Murdoch possibly be able to defend him? Remember, Murdoch’s professional reputation has already taken a massive hit in Britain in the form of the long-running, and hugely embarrassing, investigation of Murdoch editors who were allegedly hacking into the private voicemails of prominent citizens and using the contents in news stories.
Now in light of that News Corp. fiasco, Murdoch might be faced with having to publicly back Ailes in the face of claims that he was caught on tape advising his employee to lie to the feds? Trust me, Murdoch is not looking forward that humiliating prospect.
Then again, maybe Murdoch would simply pivot and announce that the rule of law no longer applies to Fox News.
Eric Boehlert is is a senior fellow at Media Matters for America. He's the author of Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush (Free Press, 2006) and Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press (Free Press, 2009). He worked for five years as a senior writer for Salon.com, where he wrote extensively about media and politics.