Roger Ailes, the chairman and chief executive officer of Fox News Channel, has told his TV personalities to “shut up, tone it down” in light of the sudden attention on harsh political rhetoric in the media.
Ailes spoke to Russell Simmons for an interview on GlobalGrind.com, which the music executive and businessman founded. Liberals have condemned extreme rhetoric as a factor in a shooting Saturday in Arizona that killed six people and wounded 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Conservatives have accused Democrats of exploiting the tragedy.
“I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually,” Ailes said in the interview, which was posted Monday. “You don’t have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that.”
He emphasized that liberals and conservatives have been guilty of violent language. “Both sides are wrong, but they both do it,” he said.
Ailes also accused Fox’s critics of using the shooting as a “way to use the death of a little girl to get Fox News in an argument.” Nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green was among those killed.
Media Matters for America challenged News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch in a letter Monday to “rein in Fox News personalities Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, both of whom frequently use violent and revolutionary rhetoric.” News Corp. owns Fox News Channel.
Christina Bellantoni and Steve Peoples contributed to this report.