So what if his network is drawing a larger audience than its combined competition? So what if one of his newest shows has drawn unprecedented numbers for a start-up that airs at 5 p.m.? According to Newsweek's Howard Fineman, Fox News President Roger Ailes is tarnishing his own personal reputation.
It could just be sour grapes for Fineman, who is affiliated with rival network MSNBC and was appearing on that network's "Countdown" with fill-in host David Shuster, but he attacked Fox host Glenn Beck and the 9/12 protestors he helped inspire.
"Well, he can - he can pretend to cry all he wants on the stage and call himself a televangelist," Fineman said of Beck on MSNBC's Sept. 14 "Countdown." "He is not into uniting the country, from everything I've seen. He is making a boatload of money dividing the country. When you say with no real evidence whatsoever that the president of the United States hates white people, you aren't behaving in the spirit of 9/12, you're behaving in a spirit that we thought we've gotten rid of at the end of the civil war and the end of the second civil rights movement. So, you know, he can cry the crocodile tears all he wants. That doesn't seem to be what he's actually doing."
Shuster asked Fineman if Beck was politicizing the 9/11 attacks, since in his estimation Beck had failed in his stated intention to unite the country in a manner that reflected the sentiment of the nation on Sept. 12, 2001. Fineman responded by taking a shot at the Sept. 12 march on Washington, D.C. participants.
"Well, I think that's the way it's ended up," Fineman said. "They're trying to wrap themselves in the flag that everybody was saluting on the day after 9/11."
Fineman then went after Fox News President Roger Ailes. He contended that despite Fox News overwhelming ratings success and the new Glenn Beck phenomenon, Ailes, who has faced his share of attacks from lefty pundits over the years, was hurting his reputation.
"And, you know, I got to say here, we're talking about Fox to some extent," Fineman continued. "I know a lot of people there. This is heresy to say on this network, I think Roger Ailes is a good guy who loves the country and who can be a very, very good news man. Some of the things that he's allowing on his network don't do justice to his reputation and, division it is."