MEDIA: Citizen Ailes


NEW YORK MAGAZINE: In the summer of 2008, to cement their ties to their new home, [Roger Ailes, the Vader-like overlord of Fox News and his wife Elizabeth] bought the local newspaper, the Putnam County News & Recorder. Founded in the mid-nineteenth century as the Cold Spring Recorder, the weekly newspaper was like the community itself: an artifact of a bygone age. The previous owner and publisher, Brian O’Donnell, kept production methods antique. In a one-room office, housed in a former barbershop on Main Street, staffers laid out the paper with scissors and glue. “It covered the 4-H Club and the kids’ activities at the school,” said Elizabeth Anderson, the founder and managing director of the investment firm Beekman Wealth Advisory and a part-time resident of Philipstown. […]

One morning in July 2008, Brian O’Donnell called the employees of the PCN&R to the newsroom to meet Roger Ailes and his wife. The staff was on edge. Although Beth was taking the title of publisher, Roger did most of the talking that day. They could keep their jobs, he said, but there would be “new” rules. “The first one was, ‘Don’t bad-mouth your employer,’?” reporter Michael Turton, an affable Canadian, recalled. “Roger’s second proviso was to ‘get both sides of the story.’ He was talking about the name the News & Recorder, and he said the Recording part was fine, but he didn’t think the News part was up to snuff.” […]

Another drama erupted after a reporter named Michael Turton was assigned to cover Haldane Middle School’s mock presidential election. After the event, Turton filed a report headlined “Mock Election Generated Excitement at Haldane; Obama Defeats McCain by 2–1 Margin.” He went on, “The 2008 U.S. presidential election is now history. And when the votes were tallied, Barack Obama had defeated John McCain by more than a two to one margin. The final vote count was 128 to 53.” Reading the published version a few days later, Turton was shocked. The headline had been changed: “Mock Presidential Election Held at Haldane; Middle School Students Vote to Learn Civic Responsibility.” So had the opening paragraph: “Haldane students in grades 6 through 8 were entitled to vote for president and they did so with great enthusiasm.” Obama’s margin of victory was struck from the article. His win was buried in the last paragraph.

Turton was upset, and wrote a questioning e-mail to Hunt, but never heard back. Instead, he received a series of accusatory e-mails from the Aileses. Turton had disregarded “specific instructions” for the piece, Beth wrote. “Do you anticipate this becoming an ongoing problem for you?” A short while later, Roger weighed in. Maureen Hunt’s instructions to focus on the school’s process for teaching about elections had been “very clear,” he wrote, and Turton’s “desire to change the story into a big Obama win” should have taken a backseat. Ailes described himself as “disappointed” by Turton’s failure “to follow the agreed upon direction.” Soon afterward, Turton learned that Maureen Hunt had resigned, and Ailes continued his quest to bring “fair and balanced” to Philipstown. MORE


I am a lifelong resident of Putnam County. I spend plenty of time in Cold Spring and Garrison and have many friends who live in Phillipstown. The Ailes are a cancer that has invaded our bucolic little county. They are paranoid, hateful bullies, with no respect whatsoever for the environment, completely arrogant and rude, and are loathed by most everyone I know. They are, plain and simply, horrible people to have as “neighbors.” They can’t leave town soon enough!
Liked By JackDaniels and dc10001
1 Hour Ago
This was an interesting article. Kudos to the townspeople who stood up to Ailes and his wife. Classic example of someone who wants things back to the way they where in the 40’s & 50’s. Not some of our proudest moments for people who weren’t white. The underlining bigotry at Fox News is something I would directly attribute to Ailes. His belief that the only correct point of view is what he tells people shows is evident with the likes of O’Reilly, Hannity, Megan Kelly and others. Thinking he could bring that same level of crap to a local town newspaper is the height of arrogance and is pathetic.
Liked By margoharris
11 Hours Ago
@twilson117 – I don’t think that going back to a kinder, gentler, time in history or for wanting that for our kids is a bad thing at all. I lose sleep over what is happening to our country, when young black males can wait on a line to purchase the newest release sneakers overnight, yet cannot go to a legal job to earn the money to buy these same shoes, something is terribly wrong. I waited on a line with my 13 year old son, against my better judgement as the powerful smell of reefer floated past us from 6:00 a.m. on. There is a huge problem when people are living on money made illegally or by milking the system, the system that me and my family have worked hard and honestly to support. I have never felt ashamed, until recently, of what my country has become. People have lost pride, and this is what Roger is saying. If the 40’s & 50’s were not some of the proudest moments for people who weren’t white, then I cannot imagine how being a welfare supported, waste of life is a poud moment in 2013. Go figure
5 Hours Ago
@fed_up_American – Go away.