Roger Ailes, the pioneering head of Fox News, threatened to quit the network in 2008 after hearing that his boss, News Corporation founder Rupert Murdoch, was thinking about endorsing Barack Obama for president in The New York Post, according to a story in The New York Times.
Ailes also was fuming over an article that ran in Vanity Fair – an excerpt of a biography of Murdoch – that suggested the Australian media baron was sometimes embarrassed by Fox News’ conservative leanings.
Ailes is the subject of an ongoing feud within the Murdoch family, according to the article. Some members of the family believe he has compromised the company’s journalistic standards.
“I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to,” Matthew Freud, who is married to [Elisabeth] Murdoch, told the Times. The article describes Freud as the most influential public relations executive in London.
But Murdoch convinced Ailes to stay and rewarded him with a contract that gave him $23 million last year in salary, bonuses and other compensation, according to the article. The New York Post ended up endorsing John McCain.
Ailes confirmed some of the account to the Times in an interview, but said he didn’t tell Murdoch who to endorse and did not threaten to quit.
“If you’re making money and you’ve hit your targets for five years, you don’t need to demand a new contract,” he said.
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