In case you were wondering how Roger Ailes would report on his new life as a social leper, a hilariously self-serving article in his wife’s newspaper says it all.
Here’s how Lohud.com, a USA Today publication reported on the story after the Ailes couple withdrew their offer to donate money to renovate a local senior center:
The Wednesday morning announcement came after the Putnam County Legislature tabled legislation that would have accepted the donation and put Ailes in control of the $1.5 million public project. The all-Republican Legislature heard from a long line of Philipstown and Putnam County residents, who told the lawmakers they didn’t want the former Fox News executive’s name on the facility, despite his pledge of $500,000 to help build it.
Ailes, who lives in Garrison, was booted from Fox News in July following a high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against him. Several more women have since stepped forward to allege sexual harassment by Ailes.
“This project has never passed the smell test,” said Cold Spring resident Kathleen Foley, who spearheaded a petition campaign by Putnam County Taxpayers for Transparency and Integrity. “He’s a bully and morally bankrupt sexual predator.”
The Tax Watch investigation revealed how Ailes’ nonprofit organization would have served as the project’s general contractor, hiring its construction manager and subcontractors from Putnam County without public bidding. Tradesmen would not have been required to be paid the state-mandated prevailing wage. And Ailes was to deliver the project to Putnam County with no warranty, and no obligation to pay subcontractors who disputed what they’d been paid.
Here’s how the newspaper published by Elizabeth Ailes reported on the moral objections to Ailes:
Ailes has been under vicious attack since [leaving Fox], though he has not yet been able to speak to defend himself. His attorney, Susan Estrich, is a nationally prominent expert on women’s issues and former campaign manager to Michael Dukakis for his presidential run. Estrich said there has been a rush to judgment.
In a statement that’s drawn little attention elsewhere, Estrich said, “I believe in the rule of law and based on my review, the law and facts in the Carlson case are a clear defense. I don’t start with the premise that Roger is guilty because I have known him well for 26 years and the man described by the media is simply not the man I know. I don’t think anyone in the business has done more to promote the careers of women than Roger. No one I know in my long tenure at Fox has ever seen Roger treat women with anything but respect. The surprise is not that I’m standing up for him: so are a noted judge, and prosecutors and a former defense attorney and almost every other woman at Fox News. Normally, a lawyer does not comment on her own cases, but where there is a smear campaign in full force going back decades, the individual gets defamed long before he or she has had an opportunity to defend himself. And that’s not fair, whether it is happening to a woman or a man.”
Besides the obvious slant, it's disingenuous to say that “almost every other woman” at Fox is “standing up for” Ailes, given that as Think Progress noted, many were reportedly afraid to come forward. Furthermore, several more women who worked for Ailes elsewhere have also accused him.
And then, of course, there’s last week’s bombshell from former Fox booker Laurie Luhn who alleged 20 years of sexual harassment by Ailes in great and lurid detail.
Fox loves to attack Hillary Clinton for standing by her husband in the wake of cheating scandals. I doubt there will be such criticism of Mrs. Ailes from the right wing, though. And, frankly, I think that’s how it should be.
But if you own a newspaper, you should report the news dispassionately no matter who you are.
Crossposted at Newshounds.us.