Top Republican politicians are working to forge strong relationships with Fox News President Roger Ailes to maximize their positive exposure on the network.
For example, House Speaker John Boehner met with Ailes on the same day that he took to the Fox airwaves to say Republicans have a one-in-three chance of losing control of the House, Politico
reports. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been friends with Ailes for more than 20 years and chats with him regularly, McConnell’s aides told the news service.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Arizona Sen. John McCain also have been in touch with Ailes this year.
A Fox News spokesperson played down Ailes’ role in Republican politics, noting that he interacts with prominent Democrats too. “Roger meets with celebrities, business leaders, newsmakers, and political leaders at their request, and he meets with as many Democrats as he does Republicans,” the spokesperson told Politico. “If Roger had any influence on the Republican Party, they might be doing better than they are.”
And it’s not exactly news for a network news chief to meet with prominent politicians. That’s a common occurrence among all major networks. But Ailes carries a lot of cachet in Republican circles, having worked for Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.
At least one prominent Republican appears a bit miffed with Ailes’ style. Feisty Florida freshman Rep. Allen West told Politico that when he met recently with Ailes, “I’m kind of like a new shiny toy he could play with for a little while . . . And that was it, and he could throw me back in the corner.”
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