Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes on Monday claimed that The Daily Show host Jon Stewart privately admitted to him that he was a socialist.
"Jon Stewart is a comedian. He wouldn't do well without Fox. And he basically has admitted to me, in a bar, that he's a socialist," Ailes said during a Ohio University speech, according to journalist and lawyer Jonathan W. Peters who live-tweeted the event. Ailes refused to allow the university to record audio or video of his speech.
Ailes made similar comments during a UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication lecture in April.
"I actually don’t think he can make a living without Fox , so he doesn’t hate us," he said. "There’s more Fox on his show than on our show. I know Jon reasonably well. Last time he was over at the building he came up to spend an hour with me, he and I debated for an hour. I like him very much. I think he’s a funny guy.
"I wish I had 12 guys walking around with me to tell me what to say. He’s got good writers," Ailes continued. "I sort of have to go in unarmed, but Jon’s a very talented guy. The problem is, young people actually think he’s doing a news show and he’s essentially doing a comedy show about the news. I respect him, I like him personally, and I have no problem with his point of view, that’s what America is all about. So, he’s good. He’s fine."
For the past 12 years, Stewart has mocked political theatrics in America and has frequently lampooned 24-hour news networks, giving special attention to Fox News. During a 2011 debate with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, Stewart described the network as a "selective outrage machine."
"There is a selective outrage machine here at Fox that pettifogs only when it suits the narrative that suits them," Stewart said.
Ailes worked as a media consultant for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush before being hired by Rupert Murdoch in 1996 to create the Fox News Channel.