Fox's flame wars

Roger Ailes mixes it up with the MediaWhores; Plus: Michigan boots a state senator: He says it's because he's a maverick; his opponents say it's because of the porn on his computer. The online community weighs in.

Published May 29, 2001 7:06PM (EDT)

Anger management

Democratic anger is still smoldering from the General Accounting Office's report on alleged White House vandalism that essentially exonerated outgoing Clinton staffers, who were accused by Republicans of trashing the place.

The leftist gadflies at MediaWhores Online urged readers to e-mail Fox CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes, blasting the Fox News Channel's reporters who they say fanned the flames of the White House vandalism story.

"Demand an apology to the Clintons, the Gores, and the American people for his network's careless and irresponsible lies," MWO requested.

Several readers did just that, including a reader named Anne who uses the online moniker "Dogfolks":

From: Dogfolks
To: Roger Alias
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 3:03 PM

Mr. Ailes,

I'm just another one of the "crazies" out here. You've reported, and I've decided that calling what you report the "news" is really just another pile of steaming right-wing propaganda.

Any organization who has to begin and end every news report with "Fair and balanced, as always" must be trying to convince themselves more than anyone else. Besides, just listening to the drek you put out, anyone with more than a modicum of intelligence can tell that it's not fair, and in no way balanced. Your guys at a "roundtable" discussion sound more like a bunch of teen-aged high school football fans on public access, extolling the virtues of their team, and mocking the other - as well as the other team's female relatives. It's as plain as that big fat nose on your face!

Crazy for ever,

That earned this response from Ailes himself:

From: Cirrincione, Brigette
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 10:24 AM
Subject: e-mail from Roger Ailes


You never even saw the report. You are simply a robot reacting to a "hit advisory" from a left wing website. Get a life a job or a television set before making incorrect and moronic criticism.

Roger Ailes (dictated but not read)

Other letter writers say they, too, have received responses from Ailes, dictated but not read.

One sent his response, but not his original letter. "As for what I wrote, well I cannot quite remember. I admit to have a couple of drinks before I wrote the letter ... I believe I used the word 'whore' and possibly something along the lines of 'you piece of shit,'" he writes.

Whatever it was reportedly earned this response:

You obviously have a gift for language as well as a fair and unbiased mind. We did correct the story but that won't matter to you. Your tiny little bigoted mind appears to be made up. Thanks for you letter. Keep watching.

Roger Ailes

(dictated but not read)

An e-mailer under the name Thunderbol666 earned only a trite reply, after essentially calling Ailes a Nazi and demanding an apology for Fox News' anti-Clinton coverage.

Your letter is sick. See a psychiatrist.

Roger Ailes

(dictated but not read)

Big Buzz

Republican David Jaye became the first state senator in Michigan history to be thrown out of office. Eleven Democrats joined Jaye's 22 fellow Republicans in voting for his ouster.

"He's a man who hits women, drives drunk, puts extreme pornography on his computer, repeatedly swears at staff, and by the way, in the end, lies," said Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow, a Republican.

Jaye implied he was kicked out for being a political maverick, saying "I never sold out to the political bosses and the special interest groups."

The full story of Jaye's ouster, reported by the Detroit News, can be read here.

The folks at wanted to know more. "The line in the linked story that reads "puts extreme pornography on his computer" got me curious as to how far out on the fringe this guy might be. But it turns outs that Jaye is a conservative Republican, and the 'extreme pornography' consisted of six photos showing his own fiancée topless, that were found when he sent his official notebook PC in for repair (sound familiar?).This story (by the same author) is an update that includes the expulsion. Aparently other than the photos, the other thing that prompted him being kicked out at this time was an alleged attack against the same fiance, that the fiancé denies, and that a security video indicates never occurred. Though perhaps his Third drunk driving arrest (the only one to occur since his election) a year ago was a contributing factor.

"Of course, if we sent every asshole home, what's Jesse Helms still doing in the US Senate?" asks another Plastic poster. "It sounds like the Jaye Rule could be implemented on a national scale."

A Free Republic member posting under the name "Hillary's Lovely Legs" chimes in with this deep thought. "Too bad this guy isn't black. They'd never even think of expelling a black guy no matter what he did. Hell, they'd burn down Detroit."

For more Red vs. Blue, click here.

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By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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