Nixon Memo Reveals Ailes' Plan for Fox Prototype

TV great, memo said, because people don't like to think
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2011 7:35 AM CDT
Roger Ailes, right, testifies during a hearing on election night 2000 coverage by the networks before the House committee on energy and commerce February 14, 2001 on Capitol Hill.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Where did Roger Ailes get the idea for Fox News? Maybe from a Nixon-era memo aptly titled “A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV,” that envisioned a kind of proto-Fox News delivering “pro-administration” news to stations around the country. The 1970 memo, which Gawker found buried in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, wanted to avoid the “censorship, the priorities, and the prejudices” of network news by taping their own segments.

With cable then a smaller phenomenon, the plan was to tape segments and rush them to local newsrooms around the country, banking on them to accept the free content. The memo is anonymous, but has Ailes’ handwriting all over it. “Basically an excellent idea,” he commented, offering to run the program. But he warned that the administration “will get some flap about news management.” (Read more Richard Nixon stories.)

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