Forget Steele; Roger Ailes Runs the GOP

Fox chief is in it for the ratings, but he's the right's kingmaker
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2010 4:52 AM CST
Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News, speaks during the Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif, July 24, 2006.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, FILE)

(Newser) – The true leader of the Republican Party isn’t its loose-lipped chairman, Michael Steele, nor the dour Mitch McConnell, distracted John McCain, or disinterested Bushes; it’s Roger Ailes. “The president of Fox is, by default, the closest thing there is to a kingmaker in Anti-Obama America,” writes self-declared Ailes “frenemy” Howard Fineman for Newsweek. Which is a bit ironic, he says, because Ailes doesn’t really care about political power.

Ailes may be hiring presidential contenders left and right, and he put the "party" in "tea party" but it’s all just part of his “relentless (and spectacularly successful) hunt for cable ratings," writes Fineman. He can’t stand most politicians, not even the ones he employs, and never consults the party’s nominal leadership. This is about profits, not policy. “But if politics is a nonstop talk show, being the head booker means you are the boss.”

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