Fat asshole and Fox News president Roger Ailes just re-upped to run his network through the 2016 election, and he continues to maintain the grotesque fiction that he operates an independent news outlet and not a vital constituency in the Republican coalition. In case there was any doubt left, though—there isn’t, really—here’s a handwritten note he sent to George W. Bush’s secretary of state in 2005 offering “help off the record” any time.
Ailes sent the note, which I obtained from the State Department via the Freedom of Information Act, to Condoleezza Rice in March 2005, shortly after she was confirmed as Secretary of State in the Bush Administration. It reads in full:
Great first month. You handled hearing beautifully. If I can be of help off the record—just call.
So there you have it. (Here is the full note and Rice’s response, which was basically a form letter.) For the Bush White House, “help” from the nation’s most watched cable news outlet was just a phone call away. 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.
Not quite clear on what a “personal media-related” offer of assistance is—either it’s a personal note, which wouldn’t have anything to do with Fox News, or a “media-related” one, which would. In any event, I’m quite positive there are similar notes of encouragement from Ailes in the files of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder, both of whom are surely finding Fox News’ coverage to be a quite “helpful” right now.
It goes without saying, but: 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.”