Gawker’s John Cook has learned that Fox News creator and chief Roger Ailes offered “help off the record” to Bush Administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005. The hand written note from Ailes was obtained by Gawker via a Freedom of Information Act request and published yesterday:
Great first month. You handled hearing beautifully. If I can be of help off the record—just call.
This is what real journalism is all about, not the faux journalism practiced by Ailes & Co.
“Please just imagine for a moment how Fox News would cover the publication of a private note from the editor of the New York Times to an Obama Administration official offering ‘help off the record’,” Cook writes at Gawker:
Off the record help. Help that no one needs to know about, and that presumably wouldn’t penetrate to the traditional adversarial relationship an ostensible news outlet maintains with the government it covers. The note of solidarity is in line with another private letter that Ailes sent to former Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2005, which I also obtained via the FOIA, telling Ashcroft “you did a great job for our country.”
I asked a Fox News spokesperson if Rice ever took Ailes up on his offer of help to the Bush White House. Here’s what she wrote in response:
Mr. Ailes provided no assistance whatsoever and there was no mention of the Bush administration. Secretary Rice never took him up on the offer which was a personal media-related one. As the head of a news organization, Roger speaks to powerful people from the left and the right all the time — if every other news chief wants to release their off the record correspondence and conversations, Roger will too.
Head over to Gawker for some enjoyable words we wouldn’t print here, and for Rice’s response, as well as a larger version of the note. And if you’re a handwriting expert, let us know your assessment.
Media Matters notes:
As the self-described “voice of the opposition,” Fox had an outsized influence on the 2010 midterm elections, giving GOP candidates and supporters both extensive airtime, free promotion, and a platform to raise money.
Ailes, who is 72, and make $21 million annually, “is president of Fox News Channel, and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group. Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon,Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign (1989),” according to Wikipedia.
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