“Roger Thinks Palin Is An Idiot. He thinks she’s stupid.”





Roger Ailes has been a friend of mine for 44 years.  Most people think I first met him when he was working for Richard Nixon and I was researching The Selling of The President 1968, but we actually got to know each other a year earlier, when I was writing a column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Roger was producing the nationally syndicated Mike Douglas show in Philadelphia.

If Roger and I have ever agreed about anything having to do with politics or policy, I sure can’t remember it.  From Richard Nixon to Rupert Murdoch, I think everyone he’s ever worked for has harmed this country in some way.  I also think Fox News is an excrescence.  And Roger knows that.  Mutual candor is one aspect of our friendship.  Roger’s terrific sense of humor is another:  he is one of the funniest people I know.  I don’t think I’ve spent five minutes in his company, privately, without laughing out loud at least three times at things he’s said.

But the one quality Roger possesses that I admire above all others–and it is undoubtedly the one least known and appreciated by those who deal with him only professionally–is his generosity of spirit.  Roger will do anything for a friend.  My respect for his privacy prevents me from getting into detail, but I know this first-hand.  Maybe someday, when he’s retired, he’ll let me tell people about his extraordinary loyalty, unselfishness and generosity.

Roger and I are in frequent contact by email, we talk by phone at least monthly, and we get together for lunch or dinner at least a couple of times a year.  We talk far more about family than politics.  I gave up trying to convert him years ago, and he’s known from my Philadelphia newspaper days that I was beyond redemption from his point of view.

When we do talk politics, it’s always off the record.  Because Roger knows I’ll never violate a confidence, he has no qualms about telling me exactly what he thinks of the various high-profile political and media people with whom he deals.  So I can’t, for example, tell you what Roger really thinks of Sarah Palin.

But I’ve just read Gabriel Sherman’s terrific, in-depth story about Fox News, the Republican party and Roger in the new issue of New York magazine.  It contains this quote, from “another Republican close to Ailes”:

Roger thinks Palin is an idiot.  He thinks she’s stupid.”

As I say, my friendship with Roger precludes me from sharing anything he’s ever said to me about Sarah.

But I can say that I think Gabriel Sherman is one of the best young journalists in America.  If it’s in a story he wrote, I believe it.

And thinking back to the lunch Roger and I had in a private dining room at Fox headquarters in July, 2009, just after Sarah had quit as governor of Alaska, I have no doubt that the above quote is accurate.

Of course, Roger hired her anyway.  He hasn’t built Fox News into a nearly $1-billion per year company by letting his personal opinions interfere with his programming instincts.

And if you’d like to know what Roger thinks of Sarah as a possible GOP nominee in 2012, pay particular attention, in Sherman’s story, to the part about how hard Roger is pressing New Jersey governor Chris Christie to enter the race.

As is always the case with Sarah–and this is a point I make repeatedly in THE ROGUEthose who know her best like her least.

135 Responses to ““Roger Thinks Palin Is An Idiot. He thinks she’s stupid.””

  • aview999:

    Thank you Joe for a wonderful description of your friendship with Ailes. Although I can’t stand the guy and put alot of blame on him for Palin’s rise in politics, he obviously knows Sarah is a ‘box of rocks’ and decided NOW was the right time to come clean. This will surely drive ol’ Sarah CRAZY – and just for that, I salute Roger!
    I am looking forward to your book this fall. Thank you.

  • themom:

    Mr. McGinniss,

    I accept what you say about Roger Alies being generous in ways the public may never witness. I wonder, this being true, how does his politcal positions reconcile with that. I sometimes assume that a generous mind and spirit os possessed by those who really beleive that we are our brother’s keeper. I do not mean in the entirely enabling or entitlement sense of the phrase. I mean that we have a responsibilty to provide for the lessor of us all. It is not a Christian thing…it is the right (as in correct) thing to do.

  • AFM:

    I second your observation. I can’t see why you like this guy Joe. He and his party are managing to destroy the safety net in this country. I wish I could be more compassionate. But I dunno I just don’t have it in me any more to like republicans. I have them in my family and I just don’t go around them much.

  • PascoBill:

    I’ve seen strange bedfellows before – but not in my own relationships. Somehow, I doubt I could get over Mr. Ailes’ beliefs and sit with him and talk about our families, knowing how much damage to my family people with his beliefs have done. He has so much influence, and he chooses to help destroy the middle and lower economic classes for his personal, financial gain. Joe, you are a more forgiving man than I.

  • karenw729:

    I echo the sentiments of the previous posters. Roger may be a great guy to his friends, but if we are ever going to be an elightened race of beings, we must be willing to give a helping hand even to those we don’t know. I’m not talking hand outs (i.e welfare), I’m talking hands up (as in education and job training). The majority of republicans and tea partiers don’t believe that we should even be giving hand ups to those truly in need of it. Ailes can’t reconcile his professional acts with those you say he holds personally…our work is an extension of ourselves, so therefore his political views and how he chooses to try and manipulate the minds of American voters shows him to ultimately be small-minded and dangerous. And his belief that Obama is the worst president we could have right shows how short-sighted he is.

  • krbmjb05:

    Hmmm…40 years is a long time for a friendship to thrive and flourish. So, my initial thoughts (only seeing a molecule on the surface) wonders how you can reconcile the vile, racist, lies that spews out of Fox daily based on talking points that are presented (and I assume approved) by Mr. Ailes. I do realize that I have NO CLUE about your relationship and I applaud you for your integrity of your promise and word to Mr. Ailes.

    Hiring Palin because “business is business” and all the Fox fat cats can keep their wallets bulging does not breath any form of “character” or redemption because he truly doesn’t like her. It has further plunged this country down the perverbial stinky drain!

  • Rocky in texas said...:

    Regarding your statement “those who know her best like her least”

    If only sarah palin knew…

    Everyone knows that she is a fraud…

    Now that I think about it…

    maybe she does know and she’s just…

    Milking the Marks.

  • Alex:

    Hey, I like this post. Unexpected. It reminds of the olden days when politicians worked together in spite of differences. Things got done because politicking was a profession, and that profession was built on compromise and solving problems. Ted Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson. . . . What I read here is that you can be friends with someone and not condone everything they do. I remember that from the olden days. Now everything is hyper-polarized, and what we believe forces us to judge others who believe differently. What ever happened to brotherly/sisterly love? Thanks, Joe. As my daughter would say, “Yea, Olds!”

  • karenw729:

    I had similar thoughts when I saw the Obama and Netenyahu press conference. I saw two men, who fundamentally disagree with each other, nevertheless treat each other with respect. It’s how grown-ups should behave. These days most of our elected officials in Washington are not grown-ups.

  • FuppDukk:

    I really respected you Joe. Speaking as an African American woman it’s sad to me that you are friends without a quibble with a man who is doing everything he can to hand our country over on a silver platter to the biggest bunch of ignorance-baiting racists, misogynists and bigots imaginable – all for the sake of $$$. It really really saddens me. Hey, I guess he’s a great guy if you’re a white Christian man! But then if you’re a white Christian man life is a lot easier in general. People like Ailes haven’t the effect on your life that they do on mine so you can afford to give them a pass. You are entitled to your friends that’s for sure. If you were black like me and had Muslim children like I do you may not be so blase.

  • krbmjb05:

    Alex, in the “olden days” there was also that perverbial line that you would not cross. No, Fox associates not only cross that line, they erased it. On Fox, DAILY there is race-baiting and inciting violence (i.e. condoning crosshairs over opposing politicos districts) that it would be hard for me to understand and ignore as “just business”.

  • mitch:

    Joe you made my day! Actually, my year. I’ve been enconsed in a dark room with sad music playing and a box of razor blades beckoning. (Just kidding.) I know from personal experience what it’s like to have very long term friendships with people you fundementally disagree with but are able to overcome those issues because of; well, interpersonal chemistry.
    With that being said and again, kudos to you for being so open and forthright, I can’t wait for Ms. Spud Nutz Quitty Pants to unleash her thin-skinned vitrol upon her boss (or at a minimum the signer of her underserved and un-earned paychecks). That’s when the fun might really begin. Maybe he will publically rebuke her like he did to Chris Matthews. Or maybe he will say on air “Yeah, she is stupid alright. But what else doesn’t the public know?” I think after this ” who’s going to be the nominee” crap subsidizes, $arah will be like the crazy wacked-out preacher. In hiding and avoiding any and all accountability for her words and her behavior. Coward and bully that she is. This woman needs to be made an example of everything that is wrong with contemporary political discourse. If all of my wishes come to pass, then the C4P’rs will have a very public melt down. At which point, I will contact Bill Maher so that he can devote an entire show to this disgusting display of human depravity and mindless idol worship.

  • Tewise:

    Yes I agree also. I enjoyed your post and I can truly understand how you two are able to have a long friendship, even though you have very different beliefs. I actually made some very strange friendships in my life time with people that should never ever trusted me or me them and one such friendship saved some peoples lives. Thank you also for kind of validating what Mr. Sherman wrote. What I read I take with a grain of salt and I did this when I read about this statement on another site.


  • Melly:

    Ailes abuses his power. He’s biased and has damaged the ability of the country to function and its respect for the office of the President. He has no respect for ANY institution, only Roger Ailes’ ego and pockets–and apparently you, which does surprise me. The thought of him maintaining a sense of humor while sponsoring flamethrowers like Beck and Palin to delegitimize Obama in really base, racial ways…I don’t get your appreciation of it. Other than for the sake of nostalgia?

  • Sharon_Too_Also:

    I’m no journalist, so I will never be as eloquent as Tom Junod in his excellent series of articles on Roger Ailes in Esquire called: Why Does Roger Ailes Hate America?

    An exclusive and unbiased investigation into the highly paid operative of a foreign-born tycoon, a man who reengineered political and media culture and fomented a revolt that threatens the very stability of our country

    By Tom Junod
    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/roger-ailes-0211#ixzz1N7liMUNY

    So I get it, the guy is an enigma. a barrel of laughs, the best buddy ever, generous to a fault with his friends. The problem is, I’m not his friend, the black commenter above is not his friend, most of us in this country are not his friends, so we can all just go to hell and watch his empire push our country into the dark ages? How easy it is when you have boat loads of money to be uber generous with a select few.

    This country has been incredibly good for Roger Ailes – why is so hard for him to be good for the country?

  • Enjay in E MT:

    Although I loathe how Ailes conducts business – am sure he is a like-able fellow away from “the office”. Many people have an inate ability to separate their “work” behavior from their personal behavior. Actors, collection agents, high-powered executives, car salesmen, bankers, etc. Same happens with some who lie, cheat on their spouses, pilfer a few bucks out of the employers till, and then sit regiously in the front pew for Sunday’s sermon. What they do is not “who they are”.

    It would make an interesting book Joe – Faces of Roger Ailes.

    I find it interesting to see that Faux is finally acknowledging they are biased in their reporting, who they promote on air, and they are, in fact, a front for the GOP/T-Party. Seems more than ever – they should remove “News” from their title.

  • Quiet1:

    So I guess anything and everything his network does is acceptable, because they’re turning a profit?

  • JR:

    Chalk me up as another one who doesn’t understand your relationship with Roger Ailes. In fact, it actually makes me nauseous to think about anyone sitting around & socializing with Ailes after what he has done to this country. Fox News has poisoned our ability to move forward as one nation and probably put race relations back 30 years. I certainly wouldn’t expect that you would throw your friend under the bus – then again I never expected that you would be friends with someone like Roger Ailes. Disappointing.

  • ModerateMiss:

    Very interesting, Joe. I have a hard time imagining sitting down with someone like Ailes and not getting upset by the things he has been doing to this country. I have had great difficulty even being around my own mother after just one exposure to her “birther” nonsense — and she is my mother!

    I could sort of see it in terms like others have described and just the usual friendships across the aisle like there used to be in DC. But with the promotion of racist bigotry….. well, I just cannot abide that from anyone.

    I guess you are move evolved than I am.

  • true:

    My only comment to this thought is, can’t you see that msnbc does the same thing, just from the other side? Keith Olbermann IS the lefts Glenn Beck. They’re both vile and rude. Most people I speak to in NYC hate fox networks for this reason. It’s interesting that Keith and Glenn left their networks pretty close together.

    In the grand scheme of things, America is mostly conservative.

  • FuppDukk:

    Keith Olbermann may be loud and rude. But he is not a liar. He is factual. When he trashes a politician or another journalist, it’s reality based. He trashes them for something they have actually done. And, he is not insane. He is reality based. Unlike Glenn Beck. Who is such an insane toxic liar and even the moneygrubbing, cynical, Republican ass kissing likes of Ailes unloaded him against his will. Whereas MSNBC didn’t unload Keith Olbermann. He left on his own.

  • Me, myself, and I:

    Confession is good for the soul, or should I say sole. I, too, have conservative friends with whom I rarely engage in political discussions, knowing their politics and knowing they’re inability to see my POV. It’s easier for me, though, I’m not in a position to impact millions of people.

    Describing Roger Ailes as having a “generosity of spirit” requires a suspension of disbelief. As professors love to write in the margins of their students papers,

    be specific

  • Ottoline:

    I don’t understand why you posted this, Joe. It makes me a little dubious re your judgment in what I hope is going to be a wonderful book, written with superb judgment (or so I’ve been hoping all along). Why would you tell us Ailes is a man whose principles and actions are just wrong, but he’s generous and funny, so you like him. And also that you won’t tell us what Ailes has said to you, but the “Sarah is an idiot” quote is consistent with what you know. But you didn’t say anything.

    I don’t get it.

  • brbr2424:

    I don’t think it is at all fair to compare Olbermann to Beck in any way other than their volume levels. Fox among others tries to paint a picture that there is an democratic equivalent of the outrageous republican/tea party actions. There isn’t. One side is dangerous and violent and in this millennium so far, the other side isn’t. There’s no equivalent, to stomping on a defenseless woman’s head, handcuffing a press rep who attends a campaign event or whipping angry people into a lather and encouraging them to load up on automatic weapons and start spilling blood.

  • AKPetMom:

    Ailes is a businessman first and money is his highest priority it seems. If Ailes was my friend I’d have a hard time not telling him that his business model with Fox News if flawed and his commentators inflame hatred in the base segment of our conservative population that watches their programming. I don’t know if I could have a friendship with a man that allows such scantly vetted news items to be broadcast as truth, all in the name of the almighty dollar. Then again, I have few friends and those that I hold dear also hold dear the truths that we find in common, so I can’t speak for those that have friend across the political aisle. I don’t participate in many of our electoral opportunities and neither do many of my friends. The rich will run this country, into the ground if they have to, but they will run things their way whether my friends and I take time to vote or not. Basically, under any administration our lives remain the same so why bother. But I certainly doubt that I’d be able to be friendly to Roger Ailes. Just like so many of you jump on all the book bandwagons to discredit Sarah Palin and find all of those tomes to be things we already knew to be true; well, we only had to be awake and look around us and see that there are terrible people that gain places of power in this country. Many of us sit on the sidelines and just watch it happen and our lives remain the same.

  • brbr2424:

    Wow Joe, You are taking a lot of heat on this one. I appreciated your posting because the background you provided gives weight to the reporting that Ailes has said he thinks Palin is an idiot. I wonder when he realized she was an idiot. One of the problems for the Republicans is that Sarah Palin does not make a good puppet. She doesn’t do as she is told. She is a possessed and psychotic little marionette.

  • laprofesora:

    So Roger Ailes is generous with the money and power be has gained by promoting hateful and divisive rhetoric that is destructive to this country?

  • aview999:

    Notice all the New News today – it’s always about the R’s infidelities. Caught and branded…oh hell, that’s happened since FOREVER.

  • Joe, you said you are in frequent contact with Ailes. I wish that sometime you would pass on this fact to him: his media empire is not only responsible, in the eyes of many decent Americans, for a great and terrible rift in this country, but for the first time in my experience, real, true and permanent rifts within families. Mine is one. We have always been a hotly political bunch with differing opinions, experiences, and good-natured dueling family reunion discussions. No more. Fox News, its round-the-clock hatred, and the on-screen “babes” have played the no-turning-back divisive role in that. I am now at the point of writing “return to sender” on the manila envelopes, sent by my BIL, which arrive containing clippings of the venomous spewings emanating from the “hate-Obama” machines. What could Ailes possibly say about how that can be good for his country? Because that is his legacy. It might be sad were it not so devastating.

    When his eleven-year old child ( Junod/Esquire link above) is soon old enough to review these years, Ailes shouldn’t be surprised if he finds that he too faces such a rift. As he should. For shame. I seem to remember that Lee Atwater, finding himself with terminal brain cancer, came to rue his role in the creation of our modern political slash-and-burn politics. His role was tame compared with Ailes’.

  • ManxMamma:

    Mr. McGinniss, I appreciate your sharing this information. I do find it a bit disturbing when I examine the friends that I’ve had for 40 or more years. What we share in common is humor, values and loyalty. Roger Ailes has done a great disservice to the US. I would find it hard to call him a friend.

  • Common sense:

    You shouldnt judge another human being until you meet them, until you get to know them. That goes for Sarah, Roger, Barack, Hillary, George W, Bill C, Mark Sanford, Eliot S and all other humans alike.

    It’s that simple. Secondhand accounts are worthless.

  • sharon:

    Fuppdukk – your post made me sad. I cannot imagine how you’re affected by the racism and hostility towards your race or your religous beliefs because I’m a white woman …I’ve felt the sting of being a woman in a man’s world but never to the degree that you’ve experienced. All I can say is that many of us in this country are offended by racism – no matter who it’s directed at. These are troubling times for sure The rightwing crazies and those that support them have damaged us…all of us….in ways that will take a very long time to heal. You deserve better. We all do. I’m outraged that my president has been so hated because of his color. We have a long, long way to go.

  • People speak with their actions. Character matters. End of story. That does not mean that life occurs in black and white. It’s all that grey area that Ailes elides.

  • sharon:

    I judge people by their actions ..not their words. And i don’t need to “get to know sarah palin” on a personal level to know that I am revolted by her character – her lies, her racism and her attacks on good people. She is not someone that could be misconstrued because we don’t know her well enough. Quite the opposite. How can you even suggest this is “secondhand accounts”? By her own voice, her behavior, her comments and her violent rhetoric, i know her firsthand, thank you very much.

  • FrostyAK:

    He THINKS she is stupid? He THINKS she is and idiot? He of all people should KNOW she is both, and that stupid is incurable.

    So when is he going to fire her ass?

  • emrysa:

    “You shouldnt judge another human being until you meet them,”

    I don’t need to meet roger ailes to see that he has poisoned this country. there is no “secondhand account” about it. faux news has brainwashed millions of stupid, gullible people – all in the name of profits and pushing a failed ideology. friends with joe or not, ailes has played a huge role in the dumbing-down of politics in this country.

  • KarenJ:

    What’s your answer for all the hateful people on Townhall.com, RedState.com, BigGovernment.com, et cetera who judge all of us who see the character of Sarah Palin and others like her, and have the temerity to voice our opinions?

    That they shouldn’t do it?

    If that’s your response, it’s a rather spineless POV, like all the journalists and news organizations who refrain from proper investigative reporting because RWNJ Palin followers gang up and hurt them by mass subscription cancellations, viral inflammatory comments on their blogs, and hate campaigns. Similarly rabid followers threatened the LA Times back in 2003: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/05/21/schwarzenegger.times.story/

    Roger Ailes fosters those rabid responses, and I’m sorry, Joe McGinniss, I refuse to separate the seemingly benign funny man in his private life from the ruthless profiteer who’ll do anything no matter how ugly to further his career and influence. I don’t usually view things this black-and-white, but that kind of soullessness I can’t ignore.

  • Susan:

    I think Roger Ailes and his Fox network do terrible damage to our sociopolitical landscape. But they are one part of the equation……where most of us commenting on this board do not respect them or the product they deliver, millions of Americans see them in a different light. You could rid the world of Fox, and you would not have resolved or eradicated the problem. Two aspects that I find deplorable about Fox is their disregard for honesty, and their willingness to exploit a portion of our population as a means to their ends.

    Joe, you are a very amiable guy, I respect that you can look for commonalities despite differences. I wouldn’t be able to call Mr. Ailes a friend under any circumstances. But I would afford him the basic respect and dignity he deserves as a human being, which I feel is my responsibility.

    I’ld love to see a movement to marginalize the influence of the likes of Fox and corporate MSM as a whole. I think they have created a vacuum with their misplaced priorities, that is waiting to be filled and is in fact essential to the health and well being of our Democracy.

  • sharon:

    Joe, I’m disappointed as well. I remember how Ann Rule described Ted Bundy as a good and caring man – and they shared a close relationship for many years. She talked about the times she witnessed him helping people and how kind he was. When she found out he was a murderous animal responsible for the brutal deaths of many young women, she was never able to reconcile the man that she knew with the man that he actually was. I know, I know that’s an extreme example to use here but I’m sorry to hear you give Ailes a pass because he’s generous and loyal to those he cares about. That may be so but….but I guess it gets down to who you ask, right?

  • Sharon_Too_Also:

    Let me remind you that that is what GOOD journalism is all about. We get to meet through the journalists comprehensive interview, people that we will never meet in person.

    So with all the reading I’ve done on Roger Ailes, I’ve “met” the man and I find him beyond the pale. Do not forget, this man is am immigrant – and this is how he repays this country?

  • Sharon_Too_Also:

    Passion causes typos – he’s – an immigrant.

  • Joe:


    Please. To equate Roger Ailes with Ted Bundy does a disservice to the argument you’d like to make.
    Let’s try to maintain distinctions and a sense of perspective. You and I agree that Roger Ailes has put his immense talent in the service of people and causes we think are despicable. I am not giving Roger “a pass.” I wrote that I think everyone he’s ever worked for has harmed our nation. I wrote that I believe Fox News is an excrescence. That’s hardly a pass. But I’m not going to apologize for my friendship with a man I’ve known for two-thirds of my life.

    As I wrote on my Facebook page, “wouldn’t life be boring if we made all our friends pass a political correctness test?”

    I understand completely why you feel the way you do about Ailes, but to compare him to “a murderous animal responsible for the brutal deaths of many young women” is to descend to a level I’d expect to find on C4P or Breitbart.

    I happen to know a murderous animal who slaughtered his pregnant wife and two young and defenseless daughters. His name is Jeffrey MacDonald. Ted Bundy, like MacDonald, was a psychopath, able to charm, seduce and deceive.

    Roger Ailes may be many things. But he is not a homicidal maniac. Nor is he a psychopath, even if, in my opinion, he’s worked the wrong side of the street since 1968.


  • Joe:

    Whoa! Roger Ailes is an immigrant? Warren, Ohio, his birthplace, is not in the United States?

    Or do you just want him to produce his long form birth certificate?


  • Sharon_Too_Also:

    My bad Joe, I tend to throw him in with Murdoch – the evil twins. I apologize to you, him and the blog for the mistake. Now I will take a deep breath and try to get my blood pressure back to normal.

  • diz:

    Ailes abused his position of power by falsly packaging $P as a viable or worthy candidate.

    Now he can again abuse his position of power by taking her down. In my book, that would make us even.

    If it’s true that he’s uncomfortable with the criticism lobbed in his direction and wants to be ‘liked’, well that’s a bridge way too far most of us for reasons far beyond Paylin. He might be thanked for exposing the obvious futility of a Paylin campaign but it will hardly rise to the level of admiration. He became the dog with fleas, not just another unfortunate victim of said vermin.

  • tom:

    fox news and ailes are the worst things that have ever happened to the american media and claiming to be his friend while ‘deploring ” his work seems at best mental illness stuff.

    not all psycopaths are murderers and ailes fits well the definition of a true sociopath as he obviously sensed that same trait in palin and so pushed her illness onto the media stage.

    why under your definition could i not argue the hitler was my friend even though i disagree with his work?
    because he started a war that killed people?
    how many people is ailes through his hiring of the racist and hate filled hannitys and becks etc. responsible for killing?

    how many american people suffer today because of his ideas and the damage that fox news through its far right wing point of view has done damaging the countrys saftey net?

    sorry but you cant escape by defending the sociopath ailes by comparing him to macDonald.( and i need not have to remind you that MANY people have come to a different conclusion based on the evidence of his guilt)

    here is one person who no longer respects you or anything you write or say.

    because why should i believe that you are not like your friend roger who does anything it takes to get ratings and influence with no regard to personal integrity?

    people are judged by their work and not by the jokes they tell.

    sadly ailes influence is no joke to the millions he has harmed.

    there was absolutly no need but your own in describing your relationship with him.
    and the reason is obvious.

    La Cage aux Folles.

  • curiouser:

    Joe, You shook me up a bit by humanizing Roger Ailes. It was much easier to think of him as pure evil. The friendship speaks well of both of you. It’s strangely comforting to know that Ailes has heard that ‘Fox News is an excrescence’ from someone he respects. Who knows, it may sink into his consciousness eventually. I appreciate that you’re able to confirm Sherman’s story.

    The depth of your ability to understand, respect, and relate to others surely contributes to making you an exceptional journalist and author. Many thanks.

  • AKPetMom:

    So, Joe likes Ailes.

    You can get your panties in a twist over it or realize that sometimes people of differing political bents make friends across the aisle.

  • Joe:


    I’m sorry you no longer respect me or anything I write or say because Roger Ailes is a friend of mine.

    But did you just compare him to Hitler?

    And did you just say I was mentally ill because I mentioned that Roger and I are friends?

    And are you suggesting that Jeffrey MacDonald did not murder his pregnant wife and two young daughters?


    I don’t know where you live but, if possible, take a walk around the block and clear your head.


  • deb:

    I suspect that should Palin have listened to Roger and not given that speech in AZ, Roger would continue to stand behind Palin, holding her up to the country as the best for the country.

    I value my friendships in life too — BUT I do have to say, as I am a brutally honest person to the fault if it hurts someone, there is a reason. Roger Ailes is a two-faced bastards who cares not for any country as he’s done the same no matter where he has been — Roger is in for Roger and you too, no matter how long your friendship has been, could find yourself under the bus.

    Humor is good for life — but I could not subject myself to that bastard — no matter what the joke may be. If he came into a room, I would leave but on my way out, I would loudly make it known how I felt. I fear no one — Ailes and Palin included. They’re both scum of the earth as neither have tried to better the country — they’ve robbed it all for the mightly dollar in their pocket.

    Have to say Joe — you totally disappoint me. And disappoint is a very mild word for me. Up it up a number of notches and you’d be getting closer.

  • Joe—Honest query: why do you think he’s worked “the wrong side of the street since 1968”? And stayed there. Free market capitalism? Reaction to the nastiest residues of the Sixtie’s? And I would agree, there certainly were some. But now?

    How does his heavy-handed weighing in reverse that? Is he a cultural warrior? Or simply a profit-at-any-cost and compartmentalized aging business guy?

  • Lisabeth:

    Joe, I hope as a long term friend, Roger told Sarah to STFU when you moved next door and she made such inappropriate sexualized comments. That sentence was too long but I hope you know what I mean. Her comments to the media and on her reality show were so strange. A psychoanalyst would have a field day analyzing Sarah.
    I was hoping Dunns book would give some insight into why Sarah uses such violent sexual language. Several times she has mentioned people wanting to peer at or rape one of her daughters. And her calling a man impotent and limp because she didn’t like his article. There are other examples I can’t think of but others might.
    She sounds like someone who is a survivor of sex abuse and is projecting right and left.
    My hope is Roger was as loyal to you and called her and said ” Hey!! Joe is a friend and a nice guy. Stop slamming him to the media and insinuating he’s a pervert!!” I hope he did that.

    It’s disappointing to me that people are attacking you for the honesty in your post.
    I’ve got some long term friends I don’t agree with. I certainly wouldn’t judge you by someone you are friends with.
    Talk about being black and white / intolerant.

  • Joe:

    I can’t give you a short and simple answer. Roger is one of the most complicated people I know, and I know a lot of complicated people, myself included. But it’s a good question.


  • Joe:

    Friends “without a quibble?”

    No, I have had and have right now many quibbles–and in fact disagreements much stronger than quibbles–with Roger.

    But don’t you have friends with whom you disagree, even passionately?


  • claire:

    I had the same reaction as you. I’m actually a bit shocked by the anger on display. As a Liberal woman in a very conservative profession, I’ve long since had to put aside my personal views so that I might develop healthy professional relationships. No regrets, though, as I’ve enjoyed many good friendships with colleauges (even while wondering to myself whether or not they would think I was an unpatriotic commie socialist if they but knew my voting tendencies. 😉 )

  • I guess my question is about the oblivious pain factor that Fox has engendered. Does Ailes think about that and if not, why not. Because I don’t know how that could not keep one awake at night. He’s from the heartland for heaven’s sake. All of the folks who can’t keep up with paying their bills and moving forward.

  • claire:

    I, too, wondered whether or not Ailes had said anything to her. To practically call a man a child molester on the basis of nothing is really vile.

  • Enjay in E MT:

    I am finding many rather surprising responses toward your friendship with Roger Ailes – perhaps any disappointment would be understandable if you were “best buds”.

    However, many of the comments are what one would see on a Conservative site. Did we (liberals) condem Candidate Obama for his somewhat friendship with Bill Ayers? Did we believe he “palled around with terrorists” as Palin spewed to the crowds? No, we didn’t.

    So why the 3rd degree to Joe for having an association with Roger Ailes, be it professional, aquaintance or friendship? We all have friends (and even some family) who we disagree with on political, religious or moral issues – yet we do not avoid them – we just try to avoid those hot topics.

  • Ailsa:

    I agree with curiouser.

    It’s so easy dismiss people as being one dimensional. I think it’s important to be reminded that life is a great deal more complex. People behave differently in different contexts and labeling someone, whether good, evil, or otherwise, adds nothing to our understanding of how people function, ourselves included. In fact, it’s a really good way of avoiding the difficult stuff — thinking.

  • Deb:

    Say it ain’t so, Joe! Writing a book that delineates the foibles, lies and morally corrupt behavior of Sarah Palin while dining with her King Maker just seems disingenuous. The best analogy is sending the drug user to jail while the drug lord runs amok and the 12 year-olds overdose.

  • Sharon:

    I did NOT compare him to a murderous animal. My point was it depends on who you ask. Your experience with Ailes is obviously not the same as many of us. My point about Ann Rule was that she had a very different opinion and didn’t see the animal in him. She was shocked and stunned in the end. I admitted my example was exteme. I certainly didn’t suggest that he compares with Bundy but the extreme and opposing opinions were a big part of that story. And as far as MacDonald – I read your book. I was convinced after your book that he was and is a sick and cold hearted child/wife killer. But he has a huge following of supporters that do not believe a word you wrote. Because it depends on who you ask. Maybe I shouldn’t have said you gave him a pass – but my first reaction was that you did because you’ve had this relationship with him that has given you a far different impression of him. And I came away with the thought that you saw these traits in him that humanized him in a way that excused his negative influence and manipulation of lies and racism that pours out of fox news on a daily basis.
    But insulting me with the comment about C4P wasn’t fair. I see him as cold, contolling and not at all interested in democracy as much as he is in the game – regardless of how it hurts the country or the truth.

  • Joe:


    Actually, that’s not “the best” analogy: it’s not even a bad analogy. It’s just nonsense.

    I have friends you don’t like? Get over it. You probably have friends I wouldn’t like, but I wouldn’t get all sanctimonious about it.

    Incidentally, it wasn’t Roger Ailes who was Sarah Palin’s “King Maker”: it was John McCain.

    Comparing Roger to a “drug lord” is not much better than equating him with Ted Bundy or Hitler, as other commenters have done.

    Do you only eat lunch with people who mirror your political beliefs?

    I’m a journalist, always trying to learn, and over many years I’ve found that I learn a lot more from people I don’t agree with politically than from those who share my opinions.


  • nswfm:

    Well, Ailes should be worried about his legacy, because no matter how much money he’s made as a businessman, he’s screwed up the end of his career, just like McCain did in his choice of more-than- associating with Mrs Quitter-Governor-Death Panels, etc. She’s been poison for both of them and if it was the winking and the tight skirts that got these old men, maybe other men can learn from it. Maybe they should hold classes for Arnie, Rudy, Newt, Ensign, etc on how not to think with their little heads.

  • Joe:


    You write re MacDonald: “he has a huge following of supporters that do not believe a word you wrote. Because it depends on who you ask.”

    Do you see what you just said? MacDonald has “a huge following of supporters?”

    Do you think his “huge following” comes anywhere near approaching Sarah Palin’s?

    No doubt, her “huge following” won’t believe a word of THE ROGUE.

    Does that make them right? Does that, in fact, give them any legitimacy whatsoever?

    If truth were determined by size of following, then we’d have to accept Fox News as telling the truth and MSNBC as telling lies.

    In any case, I’m afraid you’re tossing a couple of bad apples (i.e. Bundy/MacDonald) into the bag of oranges here. No opinion anyone had or has about either of them has anything to do with my saying that Roger Ailes is a friend of mine.

    And regarding MacDonald, nothing “depends on who you ask.”

    A murder trial is not “American Idol.”

    He was convicted by a jury in 1979, and no judicial decision over the thirty-two years that have followed has ever questioned the correctness of that verdict.

    I’m sorry if you think I insulted you. I try to not insult anyone. If saying that your comparing Roger Ailes to Ted Bundy was the sort of thing I’d have expected to see on C4P was an insult, I apologize.

    However, even though you said it was an extreme example, you did introduce Ted Bundy into a discussion that has nothing to do with criminal psychopaths and/or homicidal maniacs, but about differences of political opinion.


  • EatMoreFish:

    Fox and Ailes lost all credibility when they aired selectively edited video to suit their slant, i.e., Sherrod/USDA and all the racist spin.

    That violates the most basic ethic of Journalism 101. Fox continues to use creative editing and sound bites to spoon feed Ailes’ ideology to America.

    Ailes’ is in the entertainment business; thus his reluctance to can the train wreck that is always and ever $arah.

    I find Ailes and the Fox rude loudmouths despicable, but I make no judgments on a man’s friendships.

  • deennaa:

    Mr. McGinniss, would you ask Mr. Ailes if he has it in his heart or soul to apologize or to feel remorse for his terrible contribution to the american political discourse? I ask this in all seriousness. Thank you for this space and your time.

  • tell it as it is:

    seems to me that many here are offended regarding joe’s association with mr ailes, a person joe has known for more than forty years. how long did the divine ms d know frank bailey before she hooked up with him? is anyone really bothered by this?

    frank bailey’s lawyer sure had no problem sticking the knife in ms mcleod and no one pestered ms d about her associations. in fact you all love her despite her known association with palin’s hatchet man. grow up people. stop the weeping and wailing. you are all in danger of becoming bigger hypocrites than the whining queen herself.

  • Lee323:

    I just finished reading Sherman’s article in the New York magazine, and have two reactions:

    1) Sherman’s journalistic skills are terrific.

    2) Sherman quotes a source who said that when the 71 year old Ailes finally retires that FOX will devolve into a “Lord of the Flies” scenario. I disagree — but only on the suggested timeline of that prediction; it actually appears that Ailes and his FOX “schoolboys” decamped to that island beach nearly three years ago. Absolutely disgusting.

  • I understand your position Joe. I have a friend who holds political views and makes jokes that I find either totally uninformed or anathema. We don’t see each other much, but somehow we always just end up laughing about stuff when we do email or talk on the phone. I have no use for his ideas, but I have seen some of the reasons behind some of them and they surprised me, and I could see where he was coming from even if I found it limited. I’ve also seen him be a very caring person, sibling and employer.

    It is really important for everyone to remember that there really is some humanity under all those opposing ideas and vicious, calculating actions found in “the other”. Heck, even Sarah Palin is just a woman, in the end. Never dehumanize an opponent, or you turn into something monstrous yourself. This is true for anyone with any values whatsoever. As a liberal, I consider it an imperative to understanding my fellow man and this life.

    Thanks for discussing your friendship with us.

  • newmeximan:

    Before posting, I took the time to read the article you linked to. I agree – Mr. Sherman is a talented writer. The article also gave me insight on a man who I had a negative opinion of. I certainly appreciate your candor in describing your friendship with the man, and am surprised at the negative comments directed at you, as you close your latest book.

    And then I remembered that Roger once testified in a libel suit brought against Fox News, and his defense was “Fox is an entertainment network.” As a media strategist – he is brilliant. He has chosen to work with and for the people who share his ideology, I refuse to pay for television, so I have never watched Fox News programing. I do treat their commentators as entertainers. Their loyal viewers don’t seem to understand that. I should be noticed that if they are that easily brainwashed, someone else would pander to their fears and resentments.

    At some point in time, conservatives have forgotten that ethics belong in business practices. Perhaps it was the SCOTUS ruling that granted corporations human rights without having the responsibilities that humans must accept as part of our social contract – compassion and the ability to feel remorse, regret and repentance.

    That being said, Roger has served his purpose – to promote his brand of ideology. I no longer dislike the man, but I do detest the narrow minded ideology that social conservative-ism has morphed into. I hope that the gains of 2010 in the House were are short lived as the gains the conservatives made during the Depression – when the economic hardships then did not end quickly enough. Sadly, few are still alive to remind us that we are now living in a new normal.

  • AKRNC:

    Olbermann speaks his mind whereas Beck will say anything, true or not. This repeated false comparison between MSNBC and FOX is made up by conservatives who refuse to believe they are so stupid that they are being duped by FOX on a daily basis. Is there really anything “fair and balanced” about Fox? NO. Instead, they mislead their viewers intentionally with edited pieces of video designed to show what they want the viewer to believe rather than allow the viewers to form their own opinion and air the entire video or at least the entire portion that they are using to attempt to make a point.

    How many times have I seen MSNBC hosts talk about disappointment, disagreement and dislike of some of the policies of President Obama? More than I can count. According to Fox, PBO never does anything right. And when they have no choice but to give him some credit, as in the killing of bin Laden, they want to have President Bush given the lion’s share of the credit yet never any of the blame for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are also those cute little “mistakes” they make by calling Republicans who are in caught in sticky situations Democratic party members by posting a (D) after their name. Once is a mistake, three times is a pattern and more than that is intentionally trying to mislead their viewers. They did it with Ted Stevens, Pat Toomey, Tim Foley, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Tom Delay & David Vitter–just to name a “few” They also tend to get video of one event confused with that of another. Hannity had to admit it when called on it by Stewart but claimed it was an “honest mistake”. It’s one of the only times the name of Hannity and the word “honest” could possibly appear in the same sentence.

    Fox News appears to be intent on dividing this country in two, preaching hate and dishonesty on a daily basis. I’ve tried to watch it for an entire hour and have been unable to do so, it’s just too disgustingly partisan to bother with and I believe their tactics will end up turning around to bite them in the long run, ending their domination of RW propaganda. The end of FOX cannot come too soon for everyone in this country.

  • Lidia17:

    It’s one thing to disagree on limited issues… quite another to be friends with people whose entire life and world-view and reason for being is 180-degrees opposed to everything one stands for.

    Mr. Ailes could have taken his ‘generosity of spirit’ and done any number of things with it, but he chooses to make the country miserable with FOX News. He chooses to appeal to the worst of human instincts, and laughs all the way to the bank, at the same time he creates real victims of the intolerance he sells: the women who can no longer access Planned Parenthood services, the unemployed, the non-whites and non-Christians he demonizes.

    My mother, like millions of elderly, lives in constant fear, anxiety and consternation now, all because of FOX News.

    How is this ‘generosity of spirit’?

    Maybe you have been taken in by Ailes’ sociopathy, just as you were with MacDonald’s…

  • Lidia17:

    Mr. McGinniss, was Goebbles a psychopath?

    I’m sure within his circle of friends he was quite generous, funny and erudite.

    I think you’re taking a narrow view, expecting that sociopaths only bloody their victims with their own two hands.

    How many people died in the Iraq war (whose falsified motivations were promoted by FOX NEWS)?
    How many people have died as a result of right-wing domestic terrorism (abetted by FOX NEWS)?
    What would Mr.Ailes say to the families of the police officers shot and killed by the people influenced by Glenn Beck?
    What would he say to Gabby Giffords (who pleaded that the rhetoric on FOX NEWS be turned down)?

    At what point do Mr. Ailes’s hands go from clean to dirty?

    I think you should read more about propaganda and its cynical anti-social uses.

  • AKRNC:

    I’m really surprised at the level of the comments on here simply because Joe revealed he is an almost lifelong friend with a man who many of us despise based on what we know that has been written about him and his work at FOX. Would all of us drop our relatives if they were like Ailes? I absolutely detest the fact that approximately half of my extended family consider themselves to be Republicans, however, in all fairness, they said they voted for Obama after McCain picked Palin as his V.P. They are not your typical “Fox News” RW’ers but more the moderate conservative types. But I love and admire them because their political views do not make up their entire person. There is another side to them, loving and giving, those who would drop everything to help a family member or friend in a time of need, if it was within their power to do anything to help them.

    What I find to be comical, Joe, is the expression I am picturing on the faces of Sarah and her ‘bots finding out you and Ailes have been friends for many years. They will consider his friendship with you to be inexplicable in regards to the fact that they consider Ailes to be pro-Palin. Sarah will be having another one of her hissy fits over the fact that Ailes “let” you get away with moving in next door to her to write your book. She is one unhappy person this week and seeing things like this are just causing her to get closer and closer to her final meltdown. Palin doesn’t trust anyone as it is and now Ailes has joined her enemies list but at least he’s in the company of some decent people for a change.

  • Lidia17:

    Joe, you yourself said you could not imagine MacDonald’s guilt until you were face-to-face with the facts of what he had done, day after day, in the courtroom.

    Well, I don’t think you are truly face-to face with what Mr. Ailes has done.

    This is not just some guy with different opinions, some right-wing neighbor that you shoot the shit with at the HOA block party.

    Ailes has an amazing degree of power, and how he uses that power is not theoretical: it affects real people.

    As just a small sampling:

    FOX is instrumental in the push to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, meaning real suffering.

    FOX has been instrumental in the push to eliminate Planned Parenthood. This will mean thousands of poor women dying from cervical cancer and suffering other treatable conditions.

    FOX is instrumental in the war on voting, ensuring that valid lower-income and non-white voters will be dis-enfranchised, and handing victories to Republicans.

    And most particularly, to a journalist:
    FOX has no qualms about LYING in proposing its “news” stories, and even WENT TO COURT IN CANADA trying to arrogate to itself a “right to lie” that Canada does not conscion.

    I mean, we can go on and on, here.

    Perhaps since you are not among the constituencies immediately, materially, harmed by FOX ‘NEWS’, you can let it slide, but I couldn’t. No. No. I am an unworthy person in many ways, but no person I’d call a friend of mine would do this.

  • cranberry:

    I agree, AKRNC. Half of my relatives and all of my husband’s family are die-hard Republicans. We don’t talk politics anymore. But they are fine, fine people who give much love and, believe it or not, I’ve learned a lot from them. I wouldn’t give them up for anything, even though their political leanings are wrong.

  • Older_Wiser:

    I can understand how you can be friends with Ailes on a personal level. Others on this thread have expressed well my dismay with his business tactics and the thrust of Fox News.

    Money is not everything. In fact, I’m a “loser” because there have been many occasions in my 70 years where I refused to sacrifice my principles for a buck even though it might have resulted in personal gain. What Fox News has done to this country is horrible and borders on fascistic propaganda. Compassion, charity and love of all humanity are ideals that I live by, even for rightwing fanatics, but they are also ideals that must be a two-way street to promote a healthy, thriving society, not just personal relationships.

    When I look at who and what Ailes promotes on Fox News, I wonder if all his wealth has made him a happy person without ever having a crisis of conscience.

  • I agree with you fully, I think we have to bring back the “Fairness Doctrine” to th United States, and there would no longer be a Fox News Station as we know it now. It was within the last year that Fox wanted to infiltrate Canada, but were not allowed because of their version of the “Fairness Doctrine”

  • B:

    Mr. McGinniss’s friendship with Ailes should blunt inevitable criticism that The Rogue is a left-wing hit piece.

  • SondraTompkins:

    I’m glad your friendship with Mr. Alies makes you laugh but from the looks of it many of your blog followers are not laughing with you. I’m not sure how admitting your friendship with him helps you. Sure, it’s honest, but Mr. Alies himself has been far from honest. If he were truly honest he would go ON RECORD with his opinion about Sarah. Perhaps he has a case of “buyers remorse.” That’s ok, we’ve all had that. I would respect him more if he came clean. But of course he hasn’t, and likely won’t. He’ll just “leak” it.

    He has simply USED Sarah like everyone else has–to the detriment of this country.

    I too learn a whole lot from friends who are of a differing political persuasion. I learn about racism, intolerance, bigotry, etc.; qualities I find unappealing. And so I probably consider them acquaintances more than friends. Or I call them “ex-friends.” I recently had to let go of a 30+ year friend whose love of Glenn Beck changed her–and NOT for the better. My truest friends share like-character and morals. I couldn’t stand next to a friend if she were about to steal something from a store, even if she was the funniest person I know.

    Mr. Alies personally may be the finest person you know, but to this country he’s toxic. And I feel sad having to say such negative things about a fellow Ohioan.

    I’m still a fan, but just have one question: Are there any other friends of yours we should know about? 😉

  • LisaB2595:

    *raises Joe’s stock a few notches*

    I think it speaks volumes about you as a person to see the *entire* person, not just bits and pieces. It’s become a depressing trend in America to dehumanize someone to a few character traits, denying them the fullness of their humanity. Disallow the inconvenient bits about someone, and one will never really have to step outside the comfort zone of one’s own dogma. I truly admire your ability to see Ailes as a person, a fellow being and call him friend despite your differences.

    I must say I’m looking forward to your book even more now. It’s easy for the web to distill Sarah to a few traits, jokes and memes, but I accept that she is still a person, a fellow being. I don’t want her anywhere near public office, nor do I want to be her friend, but I must acknowledge her humanity or deny my own.

  • Flying Pig Ranch:

    Let’s go back to the title of Joe’s Blogg. “Roger Thinks Palin Is an Idiot. He Thinks She’s Stupid.” Y’Alls read something between the lines that I didn’t and got yourselves “all wee weed up” about Joe’s friendship with Roger Ailes. We’ve just had a conformation of something we believe to be true without it actually being said.

    Thanks Joe! It’s good enough for me.

  • eliminate hypocrisy:

    My sentiments exactly. Thanks.

  • mary b:


    I am looking forward to your book about $arah. I can’t wait for it to be released.
    But as far as Roger and you go, I don’t understand how you can excuse him for all the damage he has done to our Political discourse and our Country!!
    Here I thought W. was the lowest common denominator!!

    If you are truly baffled why so many people are upset with Ailes, here is another post I just came across. We all know that without Roger and all the attention and ass kissing Fox News gives to $arah, she would not have ANY influence in the public sphere.

  • tom:

    yea just avoid the point.

    the argument that you put forth about deploring a persons work but respecting him as a friend IS mental illness. so yes if the shoe fits.
    and that argument applys to everyone not just ailes . so i could use it to explain my friendship with anyone.

    and i dont argue macdonalds guilt or innosense i am just pointing out that others do and many use the same argument you use explaining ailes.

    but curiously you avoid my main points of the damage ailes and fox have done to innocent people with their lying and hate filled shows.

    rush the obvious racist is also a big ailes buddy.
    at what point do you accept people are who their friends are?

    you cant accept that truth and i dont expect any sociopath would.

    and finally you dont argue that you would NOT do anything or say anything to further your ambition, as your friend ailes would too.

    so like palin your critics must be the crazy ones!.

    no wonder you were attracted to her and have maintained ailes as a lifetime buddy.

    La Cage aux Folles.

  • FuppDukk:

    Thanks for responding to me. Yes I do have friend I disagree with. But they are not in any position of power. Our differences of opinion have no ability to affect my life.

    Again I want to say that you are entitled to your friends. I understand you were friends with Ailes before he became what he is. But now he is in a very real position to affect many lives (not yours maybe) in extremely negative ways and he does use his position that way. And you don’t discuss this with him? For someone as forthright and brave as you I find this hard to believe.

    You allude to Ailes thinking not highly of Palin. Yet he gives her a platform to spew her hatred. He did not fire her after her blood libel statement. She is still valuable to him so he keeps her no matter what he thinks of her and the dangerous crowd she attracts. He is dangerous too.

  • Tewise:

    Exactly the way I took the post also, he off the record confirmed the statement.

  • Sharon:

    Joe, Your points are taken and I may have used an inappropriate example so I apologize as well. When I said it depends on who you ask as far as MacDonald – I am not suggesting he could be innocent because his deranged followers choose to ignore the facts. I’m saying no matter what political beliefs any of us have, we all look at the same person and have seriously opposing views. I’d like to think I’m an educated person with an objective mind but there are times I find myself reacting defensively when the truth is so obvious and they cannot or will not see it. I don’t like Ailes and maybe I’ve grouped him in unfairly with the palin infection and that includes the crazies like beck and limbaugh and so many others with fox news. Your experience with Ailes is not the same as mine. I want you to see it MY way…because I’m angry and I don’t want to hear you humanize him but then that makes me as bad as people like palin I guess. So, I must respect your rights to choose your associates and have opinions without being attacked – as I would want my opinions to be heard without someone attacking me either. You’re still my favorite writer – always have been and still are. I enjoy the opportunity to discuss these issues and getting to know you on this blog has been very enjoyable. I’m even learning to be a bit more objective in the process. :-) so thanks…

  • brbr2424:

    This is a bit off topic but since you are still finalizing your book I hope you will include something that will give me insight into the Sarah Palin fans (and fox news viewers). I just had a dust up with a rabid Palin fan in the comment section of Lies of Sarah Palin on Amazon. I’ve also participated in back and forth in the comments section of America by Heart. These creatures are absolutely immune to negative information about the queen. When asked a direct question it’s as if the question takes a wrong turn and never makes it to the brain and they fire back with Obama and 57 states or that he is a Muslim, Nazi, socialist, communist.

    When a normal person hears something bad about someone he admires, he processes the information, evaluates it and may say to himself, “well that’s not cool.” When a Palin fan hears a negative piece of information, he doesn’t process it and it makes him dig in deeper and get more emotional. I understand that Palin fans for the most part aren’t very intelligent or educated and maybe I haven’t had enough exposure to people like that. Do Palin fans approach everything in life like that or is the Palin reaction a unique, once in a lifetime thing?

  • GinaM:

    WOW….I’m stunned by the reaction to Joe’s friendship to Roger Ailes! There are 3 sides to every story…Joe’s, Roger’s and the Truth. Who are we to question Joe and Roger’s TRUTH!

  • MC3031:

    Yes. This. Exactly.

    If I had a friend who was hell bent on damaging this nation (or ANY nation) and had the power to do it (and then DID it), they’d be minus my friendhship.

    Bottom line: integrity matters.

  • mitch:

    What’s even more amazing, is the source of information the ‘bot’s claim is absolute truth, is non other than her facebook page or C4P. In their minds (or better, a beta version of a processing unit unevolved from C++ or Cobal) ALL of the media lies about her. Poor pitiful $arah. I understand she reads IM. That must get her going!
    This woman is toast. I’ve said it before but of she runs she won’t make it out of the primaries.

  • dmoreno:

    Hey Joe………

    Where are you going with that gun in your hand???? says Jimi. Like Sondra, I wonder what you have to gain by admitting your friendship with Mr. Ailes. I understand and agree with all she says and feel the same way. Somehow knowing this about you, regardless of the honesty you disclose, taints my idea about you. I hate to say that about myself, but I find NO evidence that Ailes has any of the qualities you claim he possesses. So then I have to wonder about your ability to make judgement about one’s character. Ailes is everything and more that you claim you hate about scara–how could you be friends with this man???? My only explanation is that in your world, as in all business associations, you have to be nice to cover your ass. That is the right thing to do. I understand that Ailes has stockholders and contracts to honor and please, but at some point a truly compassionate person, that you claim he is, has to say stop, enough. He does not do that, EVER. Maybe he just makes more money showing everybody what an asshole he is–this post is perplexing. I, too, admire your ability to see Ailes as a person, that would be a tough thing to do, but IMO, a “business associate” to describe your “friendship” makes MY idea of you more palatable. Ya know, like you should care about how I feel. I think it says a great deal about you if your followers/posters, feel OK to tell you we find this troubling and that we still want to come here and see what you have to say next. Love your blog, just stay away from Ailes, OK. Truth is the ONLY path to complete mental health and as hard as it is, I’m guessing, to admit you know this man personally, does take lots of courage–that is admirable.

  • Karen:

    I wanted to chime in on this, as I saw several commenters here and on IM saying how brutal the comments were on this topic. I am a blue stater suffering life in a very, very red bible-belt state. I am friendly with lots of people with whom I have absolutely nothing in common in terms of politics and general point of view. We talk about sports, weather, kids, local news and avoid the elephant in the room.
    That being said, if those acquaintances wielded the kind of power and had the capability to corrupt the American dialogue in such a damaging way and used that power to do exactly that, it would be another matter. I do respect Joe’s point of view and his personal decision to sustain a friendship with someone he admires on a personal level. But I, too, am somewhat shocked that he is able to overlook such a lack of integrity.

  • dmoreno:

    There is a movement. I believe it is called “Turn off Fox News.” I forgot, as I forget everything I do 10 minutes ago, but you can contribute to their cause with a donation and they will send a bumper sticker to you. My kids keep telling me I am going to get my car keyed with the sticker on my car since I live close to the south, but I don’t care. Look them up…….I think they may have had something to do with getting rid of Beck, as well.

  • dmoreno:

    Very good points, Lydia…….

  • Sharon:

    tom – I think attacking Joe and calling him a sociopath is below the belt. I agree with your points on Ailes but Joe never stated he agrees or supports the guy. The Macdonald name was brought into the conversation by me – not Joe. And I do not agree that his association with Ailes reflects who Joe is – I think we’re projecting anger onto to someone that doesn’t deserve it. Just wanted to clarify that – It was me that made the comparison – and wrongly I think.

  • ModerateMiss:

    Excellent point!

    If Roger is truly a friend to Joe, he would not allow the Fox commentators to broadcast the typical “outrage” and egg on the Palin-bots, which we know results in threats made against the perceived offending party (Joe). I can’t say that I know what was said on the network at that time, as I do not watch it. But others probably do know what was said and how much of it there was.

  • Jill:

    You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps.

    I have no respect for Ailes or any of his buddies. Now I know that includes you, Joe.

    Thanks for letting me know prior to buying your book. I won’t knowlingly put one dime of my money into the pocket of one of Ailes’s friends.

  • Ottoline:

    Joe — I still don’t understand why you got into this issue? I know it’s your blog, and you can say what you want to. And because it’s a public blog, we can respond as we want to. I have no right to fault you on your friendships, and it’s true that the more diverse the better (esp for a writer), but it’s also true that we inevitably judge people’s ethics, values, smarts, motives on who they call their friends.

    So why did you bring it up?
    –To make the point that you are privy to Ailes’s point of view and that broadens your perspective on SP?
    –To create the controversy that you see above?
    –To say Ailes might have enabled SP, but now he’s sorry and wants alternatives (like the Christie candidacy you mention)?
    –To tell us it’s not a black-and-white world?
    –To gather examples (for the last chapter of your book) of how polarizing SP and Ailes are?

    I sure wish you would clarify what the point of all this was? Or perhaps it was just stream-of-consciousness, and you just stumbled into it? Please: tell us what this is about.

  • deb:

    A heart?
    A soul?

    He’d have to have one first and that we know — he doesn’t. Neither does he have a conscience.

    He only has the want of the $$$ and ‘power’ and cares not what it takes to make/get more.

    He turns a blind eye to the threats on the lives of the President and other regular citizens like those who speak out against his ‘annointed’ ones.

  • Lidia17:

    AKRNC, how long would you feel that way about your relatives if they had the real material power—and the desire, and the will—to make millions of people’s lives miserable? And this was the core of who they were?

    As it is, our Republican friends and family members can spout off in the abstract and it ends there, unless they put on the white robes and go riding off at night, or something similar.

    But in promoting groups like Citizens United, Ailes is ensuring that even Republicans’ votes count less and less, by the way. He’s not on their side. Ailes has all but destroyed the Republican party, in case you haven’t noticed; the Democrats end up, paradoxically, in slightly better shape the more Ailes encourages extremist antics.

    He’s on his own side, just like Sarah Palin and like all sociopaths.

  • Sharon_Too_Also:

    Putting aside the fact of Joe’s friendship with Roger, this blog post contains the most articulate, comprehensive, and passionate depiction of the evils of Roger Ailes that I have ever seen in one place.

  • dicer:

    Except all our friends,people we know,with whom we differ on issues or policies, are not Roger Ailes,who runs the Fox network. Fox willfully incites hate/bigotry……without correction ,and has made it his mandate to vilify our President not on policy but as a person.

    Joe did the cop out here, by telling us that they speak mainly about family,but as members of this society we all have the responsibility for our actions and the kind of society we would like to live in.While joe has every right to choose his friends ,we also have the right to call out those who are destroying the good in society,be they friends of Joe or not.

  • This is a difficult topic and I’m happy to see such a wide range of comments allowed.

    Someone I respect immensely offered this advice: Seek out and spend time with those you wish to be like. Since Roger Ailes is not someone I wish to emulate, I would not cultivate nor continue a friendly relationship with him. But then, I’m not a reporter.

    Granted, my ability to be objective is limited and I am not well practiced in associating with people who think I’m a pinko hippie commie marxist liberal scumbag. My sister thinks just that, and guess what, Fox is the only channel she’ll watch when she’s not listening to Rush on radio. I did try to find some common ground between us, but for her the political division is so weighty that she devalues anything and everything about my life. We’ve been on the earth at the same time for 60 years now.

  • curiouser:

    I imagine you could have fried a mooseburger on Sarah’s tongue after she read this post…or, perhaps, it would have been a yellow-backed spiny lizard for the new AZ native.

  • Dusty:

    Jeez Joe- sure sucks to try and sell a book these days doesn’t it?

    Hang in there Joe- most of the bots have short attention spans- they’ll be off to the next shiny object that attracts their attention.
    They’ll be patting themselves on the back for making sure they made their opinions known even when their opinions contributed absolutely nothing to the conversation.

  • KarenJ:

    Hmmm, “complicated people”…interesting euphemism.

    Is that the same as “people who are able to compartmentalize their worst personality defects”?

    Is that better, or worse, than that prime example of the Sybil known as Sarah Palin, who lets us see glimpses of her pathology peeking out from behind the “folksy, hockey mom” façade?

  • dlb44:

    I just read this article at motherjones.com called ‘The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science’ which sheds light on why conservatives will not accept facts when debating an argument. Don’t have the link, but you can search for it.

  • FrostyAK:

    I’m finding the comments here extremely strange. You people are so hell bent on taking down the Wicked Witch of Wasilla that you judge a person by his friendship (however minimal) with someone you don’t respect? Or that you loathe?

    I must be a criminal because I have had a couple of friends who did some jail time. I must personally be a “puppymill” because I was friends with a couple of people who had way too many kids, and had trouble supporting them. Etc, etc, etc….

    I find many of these comments as deranged as those made by $palin and her minions.

  • curiouser:

    Sorry. I didn’t intend my comment as a reply.

  • karenw729:

    Joe, I don’t judge you based on your “friendship” with Ailes. We all have “friends” we don’t really like sometimes, and most bad people have some good in them. Life is messy like that. I just hope that you learn from his mistakes!

  • Angiemomma:

    Same thing in my family. Many people no longer speaking to eachother.

  • Angiemomma:


  • kate:

    “Roger Ailes has been a friend of mine for 44 years.” – money quote. With these words, Joe has told Sarah to her face that she has been used. Sarah Palin is reeling and this makes me very, very happy.

  • Freesia:

    This is a surprise. Though it shouldn’t be really. You strike me as somebody who enjoys studying and experiencing human beings, flaws and all. You have a basic curiosity about people and an investigators temperament. Patience, you know?

    While I do not and never will forgive Roger Aisles for what he has done to this country, for I believe he’s used his media empire in such a way as to not only pollute our politics but has actually harmed people, some irrevocably, it’s entirely possible that he’s so eaten up with an ideology to the point where he actually believes he’s right. (Of course I also think he’s greedy. And more than a little paranoid.) There may be another side that it takes someone like you to see, or for him to trust enough to show.

    He’s good at what he does. Unfortunately. And he uses it for ill. But it can be nothing but good that you’re brave enough to enter his world to show him other things. It doesn’t sound like you tell him you think what he does is okay. And who knows, maybe he’d be worse if he didn’t know you. lol And maybe you might rub off on him. That would be nice.

  • sharon:

    FOX released a statement denying Ailes thinks palin is stupid.

  • JR:

    I am sure you have already seen this from The Caucus (NYT), – smart man that Ailes, not wanting to get on her bad side (I hear she’s vindictive). Then again, sounds like Roger and Sarah share that not-so-admiral trait.

    In a statement to The New York Times, the Fox News Channel executive vice president of programming, Bill Shine, said:

    “I know for a fact that Roger Ailes admires and respects Sarah Palin and thinks she is smart. He also believes many members of the left-wing media are extremely terrified and threatened by her. Despite a massive effort to destroy Sarah Palin, she is still on her feet and making a difference in the political world. As for the ‘Republican close to Ailes’ for which the incorrect Palin quote is attributed, when Roger figures out who that is, I guarantee you he or she will no longer be ‘close to Ailes.’ ”

  • claire:

    Uh-oh…. Joe, you may not have to worry about that friendship of 44 years…. having indirectly confirmed Loose-Lips Larry at FoxNews, I fear you might be in deep doo-doo.


  • claire:

    It’s worse than that. The statement is that Ailes thinks Palin is actually smart.

  • Karen:

    What if Joe had said he had this kind of friendship with Rush Limbaugh? Would you have an opinion, whether or not you would share it? He put it out there. I think most people are trying to be respectful in expressing their strong surprise that he considers Ailes to be a close friend. We aren’t talking about EVERY person with differing opinions or viewpoints than ours. I’m sure many of us have friends who have plenty of flaws and we love them anyway without judging. But that isn’t this situation.
    We don’t have to stomp all over one another because fans of this blogger and those who are interested in preserving some civility and compassion in this country are uncomfortable with the fact that he is close friends with someone who has done so much harm for the sake of ratings and power. And that he avoids discussion on the very issues–politics, the ideologues and lack of dialogue on FOX, the damage of the tea party–that have everyone commenting so surprised and dismayed. I agree with Freesia above. Joe, no disrespect intended and thanks for letting me comment.

  • grammy97:

    This plethora of comments is dazzling. When I first read the post, yesterday, there weren’t many comments; and I winced at the tone of many of them. Now I’m consciously disappointed. Not in the author: in the commenters. A friendship is merely that. A friendship is not a marriage, or a treaty, or even an endorsement for president. And 44 years is a lifetime. Maybe it’s easier for people past 70 to plug this fact into the information matrix? Joe McGinniss and Roger Ailes were friends back in 1967. I suspect that some of the most torrid comments here came from people who weren’t even born yet. Everything we needed to know about the friendship is in the post. There is no excusing of Ailes’ damaging behaviors. There is a transparent reason for the post. And yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to decide that you don’t want to buy books by the author of the post/blog; but what was your intent in saying so? And the references to Hitler, Bundy and Goebbels?

    Mr. McGinniss, thank you for this charming description of an unusual friendship. Mr. Ailes, may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Tservo:

    No doubt her ‘bots and flying monkeys are taking wing right now, shouting ‘exonerated!’
    Like a lot of apologies after reports of what someone really thinks, this one in particular sounds rushed and disingenuous.

    I would expect nothing less from Fox news.
    However, the true Palin supporters claim to hate Fox these days, because St. Sarah gets interrupted by O’Reilly and Greta was a little rough on Palin.

    I find it telling how Palin true believers treat her as if she is a fragile flower who can only bloom if no one asks a follow up.

  • Karen:

    You’re right, born in 1968. I like your post, especially the last sentence.
    Also, I, like you, had read the comments yesterday and some at the end of the thread today when I posted. Unfortunately, I had not scrolled through all and didn’t see @Tom’s comments and others (Hitler, etal). I stand corrected and agree with the wincing sentiment you posted.
    The fact is, though, this site is a venue for sharing opinions. We are getting to know Joe through this blog and his post on his friendship with Mr. Ailes is very surprising to many posters due to the state of the media and incivility of political discourse encouraged by FOX News. Though it may be more polite to not comment on this friendship, well, there’s this “Leave a Reply” function and we just can’t help it. I am not expressing my opinion as a judgment.
    I also think, though, that journalists in general have a greater ability-and an actual reliance on this ability-to compartmentalize their relationships.

  • shandee:

    I don’t care who you are friends with but comparing these posts to the posts of fox lovers as you have on your fb page is a very unfair comparison. The fox lovers who post on Sarah Palin’s fb would never apologize as several posters at this blog have. The posters you seem to be referring to here (with the exception of a couple) are only questioning your friendship with someone who by all public accounts has supported everything Sarah Palin stands. I feel they may be concerned/wondering how that will affect how you treat the book that many are hoping will take her out of the political discourse. I’ve seen disgusting posts on Sarah’s fb about the 9 yo killed in Tucson and that Gabby Gifford’s is ONLY in critical condition….posts that call for physical harm to anyone who dares disagree with their far right rhetoric.

    Do you even remember the hounds of hell?

  • AKRNC:

    The person who formulated this reply about Palin should have left out the part about the “left-wing media being terrified of her” because anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows that is definitely not a true statement. As for the remainder of it, I don’t think Ailes is worried about Palin’s vindictive mean streak. There is nothing she can do to him but there is plenty he can do to hurt her. If Fox were to never mention her name again, how long would it take for the rest of the media to follow suit? Not because of Fox but because there would be nothing left to write about since she was not making any appearances on TV any longer. Without TV, her FB posts and Tweets would soon become inconsequential.

  • carollt:

    I am friends with many Republicans. And my little sister (she hates it when I say that) is a tea party type who absolutely adores Sarah Palin. All of my R friends have a good sense of humor and I rather enjoy the political banter. Little sis has no sense of humor however, so I don’t banter with her. For the sake of our 83-year-old mother, we don’t talk politics when little sis is around (she’s just like Sarah and cannot take any criticism of the Queen).

    So calm down commenters. Nothing wrong with being friends with people you do not agree with politically; there is more to life and people than politics. And of course, we cannot pick our relatives.

    I was rather hopeful when I read the Roger Ailes piece over the weekend. According to the article, Roger does not want FOX to be the propaganda arm of the Republican party. Of course, save for a couple of anchors, FOX is the propaganda arm of the Republican party. So, Roger has some work to do if what the article said is true. If Roger really wants FOX to be a news network and not a propaganda machine, I would suggest he ask you to come on the network when your book comes out. It would give me great pleasure to see you on FOX Joe; perhaps you could be interviewed by Sarah’s BFF Greta. Certainly, you would not be preaching to the choir over at FOX and that audience may learn that the Queen has some very ugly warts.

    But my hopes were dashed when I saw the NY Times piece where Bill Shine of FOX said that Roger thinks Sarah is very smart. Roger must have gotten a call from the Queen. I suspect it was from the Queen herself because the retraction was given to the NY Times; I am quite confident that the Queen insisted on the NY Times.

    By the way Sarah, it really doesn’t matter what anyone says about your intelligence; you are as dumb as a door nail and the majority of Americans know this. You can have plastic surgery and botox to make you look younger; you can get a PR firm to make you seem more sincere. I know of no procedure that makes anyone smarter than they are. But God made you dumb for a reason Sarah; I don’t know what that reason is, but it is God’s plan for you.

  • I watched a documentary on Ralph Nader and was a bit surprised to discover that Pat Buchanan was a friend of his. I’m more surprised that Joe McGinnis and Roger Ailes are friends. But no one is all good, or all bad, even Roger Ailes – even Rupert Murdoch – even Sarah Palin. Each traveler should have two pockets; in one is a note that says, “I am but dust and ashes”; in the other, “The world was created for my sake.”

  • lftismygame:

    How about this- because the friendship is probably not a deep secret and better to get it out front than to have it “leaked”? If I have a difficult story to tell, I’d rather do it myself than have it appear to be something I was trying to hide.

  • CougInPortland:

    I whole heartedly agree.

  • Jo:

    It is the same thing in my family. Now my book club has dissolved due to the same kind of venom.

  • Mary:

    I’m hoping that this bs statement means that Sarah went all “psycho girlfriend” on Ailes. If so, one more nail in her Fox coffin.

    OT, but I think that the only reason that Sarah called Ailes previous to her Blood Libel video was to see if Fox News would broadcast her rant. When Ailes told her to buzz off, she took to the internet instead and the rest is history. Just my theory.

  • Joe:

    Not a bad theory. Look for more about this in my book.


  • Star:

    Thanks Lidia 17…you said what i couldn’t…