"We can't do the Rubio thing anymore." That's what Fox CEO Roger Ailes recently told a host at the network he leads, or so reports Gabriel Sherman for New York. Until now, according to Sherman, Marco Rubio has enjoyed support from Fox, including softball interviews, "enthusiastic boosters" among the network's pundits, and key bookings. (One example: the first prime-time response to President Obama's Oval Office address on ISIS.) All that is over, with Ailes saying he no longer has confidence in the Florida senator's ability to win—"We're finished with Rubio"—three Fox sources tell New York. (Rubio took just one state, Minnesota, on Super Tuesday.) But perhaps more importantly than that, sources say, Ailes is pretty ticked off about a Feb. 27 New York Times article that documented what was at that time a previously unreported 2013 dinner at News Corp.'s HQ.
During the meeting, Rubio and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer asked News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch and Ailes to keep Fox pundits from "savaging" bipartisan immigration legislation—legislation Rubio "ultimately abandoned." Ailes, a source tells Sherman, "hates seeing his name in print": "He was appalled the dinner was reported." Rubio, "and to a certain degree Fox News, are still paying for that dinner," in the February Times article's view. Fox News Executive VP Michael Clemente offered this strongly worded response to the New York piece: "Consistent with the golden standard of Shermanonymous' 'reporting' on FOX News and Roger Ailes, there is no credence to this narrative or the many other works of fiction he's repeatedly been proven wrong on. Lacking any on-the-record sources, and desperate for attention, his stories are full of made-up quotes, but New York magazine doesn’t seem to care about his overwhelming lack of credibility, journalistic integrity, and deeply partisan agenda."