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. Marie MD

    These people say whatever is REALLY on their minds and after the hate is out then they apologize.
    I don't know the background of the last name ailes but he looks like one of those nazis himself!

    November 19, 2010 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  2. Jerry

    Mr. Ailes, please DON'T apologize. You were correct all along! People that have no objectivity in their reporting should not be receiving a penny in public funding.

    Please don't be intimidated . Continue to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. My fellow Democrats sold out when they continued NPR's funding.

    What NPR did to Juan Williams is absolutely unacceptable. I am hoping he takes legal action. NPR should not be allowed to continue with their double standards. Particularly if they are using public funds. If they are going to continue doing "Zorro's" work; let "Zorro" fund them completely.

    My other question is: Where were the so called Black leaders ? Their silence is defeaning.

    November 19, 2010 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  3. Ain't life strange?

    How can the leader of the most conservative news organization in the world claim he was "angered" by NPR after they thought William's wasn't liberal enough? He said he was ad libing when he spoke the 'Nazi word.' Once is an ad lib... especially some word as inflamatory as 'Nazi'. Three times is intentional. But everyone will buy the lie. Hey... he represents Fox... Standard operating Procedures.

    November 19, 2010 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  4. Saxo Grammaticus

    Ailes speaks of "NPR's willingness to censor Juan Williams for not being liberal enough."

    NPR did overreact, but xenophobia (which is what Williams was confessing) has nothing whatever to do with conservatism or liberalism. Ailes is trying, Glenn Beck-style, to spin his own gaffe as patriotism.

    November 19, 2010 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  5. Daniel Shockley

    Ailes and Fox News influence millions of Americans and policy makers everyday. They really aren't a news organization but more of a political extension of the Republican Party. This is evidence that their approach guided by Ailes is to intimidate other broadcasters and say whatever comes to mind about them. It does make for interesting entertainment and ratings are high; however, I believe this Fox News "anti-journalism" approach will not survive.

    November 19, 2010 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  6. Darth Vadik, CA

    Let me see, which group during the 1930's and 40's blamed immigrants, Jews, minorities, homosexuals amongst others for the problems Germany was facing during those times...NAZIS

    Now lets move forward, which group of people (and on which channel) blames immigrants, homosexuals and minorities for the problems the US is having today???

    That is what I thought...who are today's NAZIS???
    Oh but we dont do that Darth, Germans actually killed those groups...

    ...well they didn't start by killing them, they started blaming them in the 1920's, they started killing them in the mid 30's, so it took a while to go from "GO HOME" to "GO TO THE CONCENTRATION CAMP"...

    Anyways, Ailes looks like something spawned if Dr. Megele and Himler had a child together.

    November 19, 2010 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  7. Harry

    When will all those democrats who have used "Nazi" to describe Republicans start apologizing?

    November 19, 2010 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  8. someoneelse

    I'm pretty anti-FOX and anti-conservative (because I don't believe in ignorance), but his quote had nothing to do with Jews at all and was using Nazi in its correct form (though he is wrong about what he is saying, he used the word correctly in his context) and blasting him for it almost backs up what he is saying.

    November 19, 2010 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  9. Timbo

    Shocking the FOX news chief is a bigot. Clearly he was the perfect man for the job at FOX!

    November 19, 2010 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  10. Terry - Indiana

    Why is everyone up in arms, it is only the Fox News Leadership that feels this way about NPR executives. Since they cannot swear without the censorship department going crazy, they call everyone they do not like, Nazis.

    November 19, 2010 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  11. AEK

    #1 He believes what he says about NPR is correct
    #2 He is lying when he apologizes
    #3 He's a pig and an example of everything that's currently wrong with the national right-wing media. Distort the facts, make up your own set of facts, or just lie. Don't worry, your sheep will not care.

    November 19, 2010 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  12. Peter

    All kinds of people throw around the word "Nazi" these days. My mother-in-law lived in Germany in the early 1940s. Why don't you ask her if she thinks any aspect of modern day America resembles actual Nazi behavior.

    November 19, 2010 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  13. Darth Cheney

    I hereby apologize for my earlier statement, which reflected my honest opinion. Having later found out that my honest opinion, despite the fact that it is the basis of Fox News, may be bad for business, I now retract that statement in favor of one generated by my legal and marketing experts. I hope that you will continue to believe Fox News is "fair and balanced" and not a GOP campaign and propaganda machine. Love & kisses, Roger Ailes

    November 19, 2010 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  14. JOhn

    This is not the first time nor the last. Ailes is the poster child for all that is wrong with journalism today.

    November 19, 2010 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  15. karen from Charlottesville

    Just trying to divert attention from his high-stepping commandants over at FOX

    November 19, 2010 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  16. David

    Just another thoughtless Fox pig – OK the biggest pig.

    November 19, 2010 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  17. rdepontb

    Mr. Ailes, you know of course that "ad libbing" is subject to the Freudian Slip-you are prone to say what is just below the surface of your true, consciously-controlled mind-set. Your usual filters are temporarily busy, and the truth comes out for all to see. Everyone does it to some extent. Like the kinds of differences between a happy drunk who tells too many old jokes, and a mean drunk who throws too many slurs and punches-we see what is at the heart of the person.

    In this case, we have seen what is at the heart of the Fox Network. Mr. Murdoch, please take note; the rest of us already have.

    November 19, 2010 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  18. Roberto

    Wow, this jerk has the audacity to criticize NPR for propaganda when his network is the epicenter for same???

    Fox pays their talking heads to lie 24 x 7.

    November 19, 2010 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  19. Ullrich Remy

    That's the modus operandi we have seen from so many right-wingers time and time again: Make an outrageous statement, have it repeated by as many talk radio roosters as possible to make it stick. And then: apologize. It's cheap, and it does the trick.
    Obviously, Mr. Ailes doesn't know the first thing about Nazis. They used the same strategy on their way to power, and they appealed to the same kind of audience his network caters to: No brains, but a truck load of opinion.

    November 19, 2010 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  20. willie floyd

    When will some people learn that once some things are said, they can't be taken back?? Particularly when those words are so hurtful and disrespectful. Forgiven-maybe, forgotten-not likely.

    November 19, 2010 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  21. Piltdown Man

    Roger Ailes is exactly what's ailing the entire "news" industry. A blowhard millionaire with a political agenda - who has the gall to take on NPR, which consistently produces the best news in the nation. This dustup with Juan Williams is a tempest in a tea pot, and is simply being used as a way to attack NPR. You have to wonder; what are Ailes and his other right wing buddies so afraid of? Are they embarrassed that one news organization actually asks tough, direct questions and hews to journalistic standards which they long ago abandoned?

    November 19, 2010 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  22. Dennis

    When you can't think rationally, you resort to petty, 2 yr. old name calling. Think about it if you can.

    November 19, 2010 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  23. Matt

    I notice he didn't apologize to NPR though. He might as well apologize to the New York Knicks, since they also weren't at all affected by his stupid statement.

    November 19, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  24. Alina77

    Sorry, buy I cant take out of my mind imagination about what NPR did with that letter. Roger Ailes should not apologize, he wouldn't be himself if he would say things differently. Too bad that he and his Fox Lies took minds of more then half of Americans, they watching Fox passionately and with open hard. That's why you see people like this one bravely coming out of under the rock and telling people how they should treat each other . Sweet lies are more popular then bitter truth. Sick!

    November 19, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  25. Patrick

    NPR should not have fired Williams but it does not give this modern day Joseph Goebbels, of all people, to call them Nazi's. I can not deal with any main stream media, particularly the right wing propaganda of FOX news. Listening to this guy is like watching sales man work a crowd of willing suckers. I see right through it but I guess some people just aren't grown up enough to find him the joke he is. Anyway, I hate commercials, spin, and sound bites so I listen to NPR. I'm just fine with that decision.

    November 19, 2010 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
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