Fox News CEO Roger Ailes fired back at Daily Show host Jon Stewart, accusing him of holding a “bitter view of the world” and claiming that Stewart was disappointed that he could not take him down.
“He’s feeling unrewarded because Fox News beats him on the amount of money we make, on ratings and on popularity,” Ailes told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Wednesday. “I’m sure it’s very depressing when he sits home at night and worries about it. We never did.”
The interview was published two days after Stewart lambasted Fox’s reporting on his meetings with President Barack Obama.
Ailes did not dispute Stewart’s statement last week that they had met alone in the past. However, he did not confirm the allegation that he asked Stewart not to discuss the meeting in public.
“I talked to him for an hour once in my office. I think he’s really smart and he’s got a great future,” Ailes said, while adding, “He can’t come over here. He would depress everyone. I could get him a job. Not on air. As a stage-hand.”
Ailes claimed that his network never took Stewart’s attacks very seriously, saying they did not “make a dent” in their ratings. He also argued that Stewart’s “bitter view of the world” was reflected in his views of the network.
“As he faces the end of his career, he’s beginning to wonder: ‘Is this as popular as I’m ever going to get? Is this as much power as I’ll ever have? The one person I could never get rid of was Roger Ailes. I tried. I did everything I could,'” Ailes said of the comedian. “This was all a plea to his lefty friends. I think he’s disappointed that he didn’t accomplish that goal, and we, of course, supplied him with half of his comedy. It’s just a matter of disappointment.”