In a recent interview, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes revealed that he was just as shocked as the rest of America on Election Night when Karl Rove challenged the veracity of President Barack Obama's victory in Ohio.
Speaking to media site TVNewser, the Fox News co-founder described how he had been watching election coverage in the News Corp. Sports Suite, just down the hall from his second-floor office, when he decided to head home once he realized that the President would be re-elected for a second term.
"It only took 15 minutes to get home," Ailes said on Thursday. "I turn on the TV and the first thing I see is Rove saying something like, 'You called Ohio too early.' And I thought, 'What the? What is this?'"
In order to avoid the illusion that Fox News was trying to cover something up, Ailes immediately called executive vice-president Michael Clemente and told him not to break for commercials. Instead, it was Ailes' idea to have news anchor Megyn Kelly leave the floor and directly question the decision team about their call for Ohio. He also instructed the team to confront Rove with the results, if necessary.
Refusing to conduct business off-camera, Ailes suggests that he wanted to achieve transparency on live television. "I didn't want the public or our competitors to say we somehow panicked and didn't confront the truth on camera," Ailes explained. "As it turned out, Rove was wrong. He backed down. Our guys were right. We stayed with it. Megyn did her famous walk down the hall. And it all worked out."
Although Fox News is widely considered to be a media mouthpiece for the Republican Party, Ailes claims that the accusation isn't true and promised to provide objective coverage of Obama's second term. "It's day to day for us," Ailes insisted. "We don't — I know no one believes it — we have no agenda. If he runs into a burning building tomorrow and saves four kids, he's gonna be the biggest goddamn hero Fox News ever saw. But if he leaves four guys behind on the battlefield but can't explain it, then he's gonna have a problem with Fox News."
How do you feel about Karl Rove's reaction on Election Night? Do you believe that Fox News is devoid of an agenda while reporting on Obama's presidency?