Roger Ailes of Fox News: 'Nazis' are running public radio [Updated]
Anyone who has watched Fox News personality Glenn Beck with any regularity has heard warnings of an end of life in America as we know it, specifically a Nazi-style takeover of the government. That could be the eventual endgame, according to Beck, if the big-government policies of the Obama administration go unchecked.
But in an interview this week, it was Beck's Fox News boss, Roger Ailes, embracing the Nazi rhetoric. And this time the target was National Public Radio. Speaking to the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, Ailes said NPR's bosses revealed their fascist stripes when they dismissed commentator Juan Williams.
"They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude," Ailes told Kurtz. "They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don't want any other point of view. They don't even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive."
The left-leaning media watchdog group, Media Matters, was first to note how Ailes seemed to be echoing Beck, or vice versa. Media Matters charged: "Fox's 'Nazi' rhetoric also comes straight from the top."
The group's online critique went on to cite the many times Beck has invoked the Nazis in taking on his liberal foes. In one instance last year, the report noted, Beck compared Obama's call for the expansion of the foreign service via a "civilian national security force" to Hitler's SS and brownshirts.
Although Beck and some other Fox hosts have leaned heavily on analogies to fascism lately, other media figures have invoked the same super-heated rhetoric in the past. Back in the 1990s, it was CNN founder Ted Turner who compared Rupert Murdoch to Hitler. Murdoch leads News Corp., which owns Fox News.
[For the record at 10 p.m.: A previous version of this post referred to the head of News Corp. as Roger Murdoch. It is Rupert Murdoch.]
After NPR chief Vivian Schiller spoke Thursday afternoon at the Annenberg School for Communication at USC, an audience member asked what Ailes might have meant to accomplish with his "Nazi" remark.
"I have no earthly idea," Schiller said. "I don't know what he was getting at. It was quite baffling to me to be perfectly honest. I think his words really speak for themselves."
Ailes apologized Thursday to the Anti-Defamation League, saying he had been "ad-libbing and should not have chosen that word."
He had not, however, apologized to NPR.
-- James Rainey
Photo: Roger Ailes, chief executive of Fox News. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press