Fox News president Roger Ailes was on ABC’s This Week today, where he was confronted by Arianna Huffington about the inflammatory rhetoric that Glenn Beck uses on his show. Ailes replied, “He’s talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people so I think he was probably accurate.”
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
Arianna Huffington confronted Ailes, “But Roger it’s not a question of picking a fight and aren’t you concerned about the language that Glenn Beck is using which is after all, inciting the American people. Three’s a lot of suffering out there as you know and when he talks about people being slaughtered, about who is going to be on the next killing spree.”
Ailes said, “He’s talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people so I think he was probably accurate, also I think he speaks English, so I don’t misinterpret any of his words. He did say one of unfortunate thing, which he apologized for, but that happens in live television, so I think if we start going around as the word police in this business it would be.
Huffington fired back by bringing up Hofstadter’s concept of the danger in tapping into the paranoid style of American politics, and Ailes came back with having read a piece on her blog that was a personal attack on him. Huffington replied that it wasn’t written by someone that her site employed.
Notice how Ailes tried to direct the discussion away from Beck’s conspiracy theories and the Obama administration. Ailes wants you to believe that Beck is about historical accuracy, not the fact that he called President Obama a racist. To put this into context Ailes was saying that Beck, who on Friday, called for the rewriting of The Federalist Papers is historically accurate.
By the way, Arianna’s point that the attack on Ailes did not come from one of her employees is pretty weak. If I put something on my website, I stand behind it. If it made it on to her website, then she needs to stop parsing and either admit a mistake in putting it on the site or defend running it.
Beck is not politically, or historically accurate. I know what Ailes was trying to sell, but the point is that when Beck talks about Stalin and Hitler, he always compares the Obama administration to them. Beck’s program is not on the History Channel for a reason. It is a political show, and this sleight of hand defense of Beck does hold up beyond superficial inspection.