Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes defended his network Sunday morning on ABC, saying he is in the ratings business not the politics business.
He was criticized for, among other comments, Fox host Glenn Beck’s reference to a “killing spree” conducted by Joseph Stalin while talking about President Barack Obama, in October of 2009.
“Aren’t you concerned about the language that Glenn Beck is using which is after all inciting the American people?” Arianna Huffington asked him on ABC.
Ailes said the reference was probably accurate because Beck “was talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people.”
“I think if we start going around as the word police in this business it will be,” he began.
Huffington cut him off. “It’s not about the word police, it’s about something deeper. There’s a tradition, as the historian Richard Hofstadter said, in American politics of the paranoid style. And the paranoid style is dangerous when there’s real pain out there.”
“I agree with you,” Ailes countered. “I read something on your blog that said I look like J. Edgar Hoover, I had a face like a fist, and I was essentially a malignant tumor… Then he really went nasty, and I thought gee, maybe Arianna ought to cut this out.”
Before running out of time, Barbara Walters asked Ailes if he thinks Sarah Palin will run for president in 2012.
“I have no idea whether she even wants to,” he responded. “I mean everybody hates her who’s ever written a book because they didn’t sell many. She wrote a book and it sold two million in two weeks, so now they have a new reason to hate her.”
According to Media Matters, Beck’s Stalin comment was in fact about Obama.
This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Jan. 31, 2010.