Spin Cycle

02.11.13

Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes Accuses Obama of Fomenting Hate

The Fox News chairman says the president pits blacks against whites, middle class against rich. Howard Kurtz on how Ailes undercut his largely positive message in a New Republic interview.

Roger Ailes says President Obama is whipping up hate.

The Fox News chairman has never been a fan of the president, but even by his standards, those are strikingly harsh words.

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Former New York City mayor David Dinkins (left); Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Business; and the Rev. Jesse Jackson attend the 2012 Ailes Apprentice Class graduation ceremony in November at Fox Studios in New York. (Rob Kim/Getty, Rob Kim)

“The president likes to divide people into groups,” Ailes tells The New Republic in an interview. “He’s too busy getting the middle class to hate rich people, blacks to hate whites. He is busy trying to get everybody to hate each other.”

He then added: “We need to get along.”

Ailes has a fondness for blunt language, and his point about Obama turning the middle class against the rich, albeit with the H word, echoes the standard conservative gripe about Democratic class warfare.

But getting “blacks to hate whites”?

What in Obama’s record casts him as a racially divisive leader?

Ailes didn’t say.

The context is about positioning his network for the future among the fast-growing demographic group.

“The contributions being made by Latinos are extraordinary, and we need to talk about them,” Ailes told the magazine. He says Republicans have more to offer Hispanics, and “I think Fox News will articulate that.” Ailes also talked about the website Fox News Latino, which, he said, “has a mission to point out the positives of the Latino population.”

Ailes even says that “Republicans haven’t used the right language. They keep talking about illegal immigration.”

At a time when he has dropped Sarah Palin and Dick Morris as commentators and is about to add Scott Brown, and Fox veteran Sean Hannity says he’s “evolved” on immigration, Ailes appears to be trying to moderate the network’s image.

But what’s certain to make headlines is not Ailes’s positive message, but his blast at Obama for turning Americans against each other.