Roger Ailes, that jowly old leftover from the Cantina scene in Star Wars, turns out to be exactly the sort of high-minded gentleman that you might expect, assuming his mind is located a few inches south of his belt buckle. We have another batch of pre-release ugly bits from that new biography from Gabriel Sherman, this time courtesy of the intrepid muck-sorters at Media Matters, who found the icky stuff so people who eagerly buy the book can plausibly say they never read it. Turns out that one of the longest categories in the book’s index is “Legs, Ailes’s fixation on.”
As we already knew from Gretchen Carlson, ladies on Fox and Friends were forbidden to wear the pantaloons; now we find that no matter what was going on in the world, Ailes knew what mattered for Fair And Balanced News: gams, drumsticks, pins, alabaster pillars, stems, getaway sticks, Legs. We knew that he was kind of an extremist, but had no idea how obsessed he was with extremities.
Among the charming anecdotes, we find these delights:
- According to anchor Bob Sellers, Ailes once phoned the control booth to complain during a weekend news broadcast (haha!) that he was upset with the camera’s view of former Fox reporter Kiran Chetry: “Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!”
- Ailes had some very important advice for former Fox host Catherine Crier, too:
“He had admiration for her legs,” a senior executive said. In one meeting, Ailes barked, “Tell Catherine I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.”
- When Karl Rove insisted that it was way too early to call Ohio, and hence the election, for Barack Obama on election night 2012, Megyn Kelly was sent on an epic march through the studio to the “Decision Desk”:
On her trek, Kelly said that the Decisioneers used to be on the same set as the election anchors, but “then for some reason, they moved them down the hall.” But there were two excellent reasons, according to a Fox employee who told Sherman, “This is Fox News, so anytime there’s a chance to show off Megyn Kelly’s legs they’ll go for it.”
- Sherman also has this story about the brain-storming that went into the creation of afternoon chat show The Five. It’s because the man is a lover of the legitimate theatre:
“Whenever he can, he gets into the conversation that he produced Hot l Baltimore,” a senior Fox executive said. Creating the Fox News afternoon show The Five, Ailes found his inspiration on the stage. “He said, ‘I’ve always wanted to do an ensemble concept,'” a close friend said. “He said, ‘I wanted a Falstaff, and that’s Bob Beckel. I need a leading man, and it’s Eric Bolling. I need a serious lead and that’s Dana Perino. I need a court jester and it’s Greg [Gutfeld], and I need the leg. That’s Andrea Tantaros.”
We just want to know if “The Leg” is stenciled on the back of her chair.
And then there’s the job interview where Ailes kept reminding the woman who was applying to be a producer that he was single and awfully easy on the eyes, or the time when he told Don Imus he’d have to be pretty drunk to find a couple of his female anchors attractive (though they’d “get to be tens around closing time”), and his bitchy put-down of Gretchen Carlson:
Ailes pointed out she was once Miss America, then added, “It must not have been a good year.”
So, yes. It’s just the kind of professionalism we’d expect from the man who became a conservative media expert once he suggested to Richard Nixon that he’d do better on TV with a little makeup, and maybe some fuck-me high heels.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He isn’t wearing pants, either.