November 18th, 2010
09:41 PM ET
12 years ago

Ailes apologizes for 'Nazi' comment

Washington (CNN) - Fox News chief Roger Ailes apologized to a Jewish group Thursday after he called National Public Radio (NPR) executives "Nazis" in an interview with "The Daily Beast."

In a letter addressed to Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman, Ailes said he should "not have used that word" to describe the executives.

Full letter (pdf)

"I was of course ad-libbing and should not have chosen that word, but I was angry at the time because of NPR's willingness to censor Juan Williams for not being liberal enough," Ailes wrote.

Williams, who serves as a Fox News analyst, was fired from NPR in October after he said he becomes "worried" and "nervous" when he sees someone in "Muslim garb" on an airplane.

In Wednesday's interview with Howard Kurtz, who also anchors CNN's "Reliable Sources," Ailes had some choice words for NPR.

"They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude," Ailes said. "They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don't want any other point of view. They don't even feel guilty using tax dollars to sprout their propaganda."

But in the letter Thursday, Ailes defended his views toward Israel and the Jewish people.

"Many IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) warriors know me as someone who is consistently strong in the defense of the Jewish people and the state of Israel," Ailes wrote. "Even if I'm occasionally politically incorrect I never leave any doubts about my loyalty."

–CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney contributed to this report

Filed under: Juan Williams
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Disgusted

    Ailes is, of course, a jerk. He has a kind of jerk attitude. He is the right wing of jerkiness. He doesn't want any other point of view. He doesn't even feel guilty using his Fox News platform to sprout his propaganda.

    November 18, 2010 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  2. johnrj08

    Roger Ailes has to be mentally ill. His comments are so over-the-top and ridiculous, it's difficult to accept that a sane person would make them. NPR is probably the gold standard for objective reporting in this business, while Ailes' network is the gold standard for right-wing propaganda and anti-government conspiracy theories. I don't think there's anything funny about Ailes' utterly preposterous comments. This man has manufactured a propaganda machine that millions of Americans perceive as a legitimate news source, to the exclusion of every other network. He's creating a population of grotesquely misinformed, angry people who believe that half of America is unAmerican. How long can this go on?

    November 18, 2010 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  3. ToGetherWeStand

    Ailes calling NPR a nazi network is analogous to Stalin calling Eisenhower a communist. Faux news has no shame to spew hate and rightwing gop propaganda. NPR offers quality and truly unbiased information.

    November 18, 2010 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  4. UrAverageJoe

    This guy does not give a damn about America – he does not believe in America, he believes in the Almighty dollar. If he could make 10 million dollars telling where Al Qaeda should bomb next, he would. He doesn't believe in God – he believes in the Almighty Dollar, but he will manipulate and abuse those who do believe in God to make a few extra bucks. He represents the worst of America and the worst of Capitalism. I would readily take 11 million illegal aliens who love and respect this country and it's ideals and deport scum like this that will destroy America if he can make a few bucks at it!

    November 18, 2010 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  5. nell

    This is just plain stupidity. Williams should have been fired, period. If this name calling is not contained somehow, America is going to be in for a bumpy ride in the next two years. First amendment rights my foot. Some people are using this amendment to justify their own agenda.

    November 19, 2010 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  6. kmp

    You know what he isn't sorry he is just sorry that it wasn't as well recieved as he thought it would be. He thought with the recent GOP win people were beginning to think like him, I don't think that is the case. I think people are just frustrated and are willing to try on another shoe to see if that one fits.

    Mr. Ailes what you said was disgusting and sully's the memory of those who lived and died under the Nazi reign of terror. If you want to continue your rants about Nazism and Socialism I recomend that you go back and read the dictionary and history books to see what those two terms mean.

    November 19, 2010 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  7. bobby

    what an idiot..way to go FOX

    November 19, 2010 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  8. Bensky

    Been listening to much of his own channel ... or feeding his lions.

    November 19, 2010 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  9. Another Reformed Republican

    Why should anyone accept an apology from this fat racist pig? He meant what he said when he said it; he is only sorry because he was called on it.

    Another example of fair and balanced reporting, ya betcha!

    November 19, 2010 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  10. Todd stevens

    Thanks for keeping it classy, Fox.

    November 19, 2010 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  11. Mike - Las Vegas

    Typical of the evilness on the right. They purposely throw out lies and distortions, letting fox news and the ignorant public spread them and then try to innocently walk them back once the lies and distortions have done their work. They are truly repugnant people only concerned with personal wealth and power and have no regard for average Americans.

    November 19, 2010 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  12. Shirley C.

    I don't agree with NPR's choice to fire this individual, mainly because it gave those with an agenda an opening. I understand WHY they fired him, Juan Williams made several less than stellar remarks. Right wingers keep repeating that he was fired because he admitted he was nervous when he gets on a plane and sees Muslims in full garb during his Fox appearance on the O'Reilly show. However, that is not why he was fired. He was fired for this comment he also made during the same interview:

    “The war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts,”

    Mr. Williams did not make a distinction between terrorists and Muslims. This was the last straw after a series of inappropriate remarks made by Williams in his previous appearances on Fox. (BTW, did you know since his firing, Williams was offered a 2 million dollar contract to go work for Fox News? Coincidence? I think not.)

    November 19, 2010 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  13. carl

    Have a back bone for once! If you meant it, don't come out acting like you were playing around with the audience. What happened to the big bad FOX? The CEO need to worry now, because Rush and Friends will come after him for caving in.

    November 19, 2010 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  14. Edmond Perkins Jr

    Its amazing how scared we have become,if we are not careful we will not have expression of speech. We have to be
    Able to call a spade a spade and a ace an ace

    November 19, 2010 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  15. Mike

    Gee. Someone on and/or associated with "Faux News" calling someone a nazi. I'm schocked. How unusual. Beck, O'Reilly and now Ailes. What a great news organization/network. Wonderful bunch of professionals. LMAO !

    November 19, 2010 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  16. ehwilson429

    ADL is a modern day Irgun gang like Rahn Emanuel's uncle Emanuel Auerbach well known Jewish terrorist kiiled in terrorism act.

    November 19, 2010 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  17. Ron

    Just another idiot trying to take back something he shouldn't have said. I'm surprised he didn't say his words were taken out of context. How do these people sleep at night knowing that it's really them that is destroying America one news bite at a time?

    November 19, 2010 12:54 am at 12:54 am |

    Hmmm... It's okay for Jerry Seinfeld to make fun of the Soup Nazi, and every one else to make fun of one kind of "nazi" or another, but ooooh not Fox! Political correctness run amuck by self-serving hypocritical libs. Obvioulsy there are two sets of rules at play here.

    Move on, you self-righteous and duplicitous Loony Lib Dem slime bags!

    November 19, 2010 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  19. killerd

    After Ailes' comments this week, I've given up on FOX all together...This guy is ridiculous and needs to either A) be held accountable for his comments or B) simply be phased out...CNN's 'stories' that he will (or wants to) run for president are ridiculous..he has less of a chance than Palin....

    November 19, 2010 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  20. Joshua Ludd

    Yet no apology for his actual statement... which was grossly inaccurate (big surprise).. oh, and nevermind that Williams had worked for NPR for YEARS... long before he started working for Fox. Nevermind that what he said was not "conservative", but racist... uh, unless Ailes means to conflate racism and conservatism. Also, its not simply "politically incorrect" to compare NPR to nazis... its grossly hyperbolic and using the term nazi to describe people or groups who aren't actually.. you know... putting people in ghettos and trying to exterminate entire races is not found to be acceptable by pretty much anyone outside of Fox News and perhaps a few of their viewers.

    November 19, 2010 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  21. MastaFunk

    Oopsie the good ol boys club knee-only member slipped. They are usually so good at hiding the arrogance.

    So Much For {"FAIR AND BALANCED"} Epic FAIL lol

    November 19, 2010 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  22. denny

    When Ailes has true liberal(s) on his network then he can be indignant about others not having a diverse point of view. Until then he should keep quiet about NPR.

    November 19, 2010 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  23. Tom Calif.

    Why is it that anyone who disagrees with the Fox motto is a Nazi?

    November 19, 2010 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  24. stevetall

    This dude has a lot more to be sorry for than the fact that he's a reactionary right-winger who thinks everyone else is a Nazi. For cryin' out loud, America. Fox News is all about promoting fear among the uneducated masses. We can best screw up their evil plan by improving our education system, thereby making smarter people who will know the difference between real news reporting and the pathetic crap you get from the pinheads masquerading as journalists on Fox.

    November 19, 2010 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  25. Roger Ailes is a Hate Merchant!

    Foxs News is a 24 hour ,7 days a week Hate Machine! Their propaganda mimic the Germans run up to the "Cleansing". This Hate Machine help spin an unecessary war that kill over 4000 soliders and spend trillions of dollars in Iraq. Be afraid, be very afraid. CNN and other networks must stand up against this hate." Foxs News evil will only thrive, if good media outlets stand by and be silent".

    November 19, 2010 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
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