November 19, 2002
ARE JOURNALISTS NOT AMERICANS?Roger Ailes-Bob Woodward Smackdown? (Lloyd Grove, November 19, 2002, Washington Post)
[W]oodward wrote that when presidential adviser Karl Rove received "an important-looking confidential communication" from the news executive, he promptly shared it with Bush. "Ailes was not supposed to be giving political advice," Woodward continues. "His back-channel message: The American public would tolerate waiting and would be patient, but only as long as they were convinced that Bush was using the harshest measures possible."
Yesterday, Ailes acknowledged writing Bush a letter -- a copy of which he declined to provide -- "nine days after 9/11. I had been working around the clock and sleeping on a couch in my office. I was expressing my outrage at the killing of Americans on American soil -- purely as an American citizen." As for Woodward's journalistic criticism, "I don't give a damn," Ailes said. "American citizenship is a big concept. If I had to give that up to be in journalism, I wouldn't do it. What I wrote was completely nonpartisan. I would have written the same letter to FDR after Pearl Harbor. If Bill Clinton had been president, I probably would have sent him the same memo."
Woodward responded: "What he's saying is a classic non-denial denial. Why would Rove take Ailes's personal message down to the president? Just to say that 'Roger Ailes is expressing his outrage'? Obviously, if it was significant enough for Rove to carry it to the Oval Office, it had some recommendations for policy. Why else is Roger being so furtive about it?"
I'm afraid I don't even understand the premise of Mr. Woodward's criticism--what would be wrong with Mr. Ailes making a policy recommendation? The editors of the Post make such recommendations ever day. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 19, 2002 3:29 PM