Roger Ailes’ latest comments about Sarah Palin will be further proof to many that the Fox News chairman is sexist, but he probably is too rich and too powerful to care.
In an interview celebrating the 15th anniversary of Fox News, Ailes told The Associated Press that he hired the former Republican vice presidential candidate “because she was hot and got ratings.”
According to one Republican who is close to the Fox News chairman, Palin certainly wasn’t hired because Ailes respected her intellect.
“He thinks Palin is an idiot,” the insider told New York magazine earlier this year. “He thinks she’s stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven’t elevated the conservative movement.”
Given Ailes’ history, many may find it difficult to believe the conservative network even if they bother to clarify what he meant.
In a 2008 prologue to his planned book, former Fox News executive Dan Cooper recalled that Ailes liked to “talk macho and compare the anatomies of women in the office.”
“I was too scared to make salacious comments about women in the office,” Cooper wrote. “Like everyone, I had taken classes in workplace behavior. Not Roger. ‘How about those bazookas on that Indian girl, or whatever the hell she is!’ Squirm squirm. ‘Pussy masala on the menu today?’”
Inside Cable News noted that Cooper’s claims were not verifiable — but it’s hard to dispute Ailes’ history of hiring leggy blondes.
In August, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly dodged a question about whether “Fox has cultivated a reputation as a stomping ground for news babes.”
“Roger is very good at finding attractive people who are also interesting and smart,” Kelly told Marie Claire. “But you have to be careful what you’re looking at. Some on-air talent have objected that some websites will Photoshop the skirts and make it seem like the women were wearing something more like a belt than a skirt. Don’t believe it unless you’ve seen it live.”
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