Fox News Boss Ailes Blasts ‘Patently, Provably False’ Stories in Jonathan Alter Book

It’s hard to pity someone as smarmy and self-righteous as Jonathan Alter. Still, with all the bad luck that the left-wing pundit has faced lately, it almost makes you want to consider it. Well, ok, not really.

May has been a tough month for the MSNBC contributor. First, an anecdote from his latest book was proven beyond doubt to be an outright fabrication. Yesterday, he was revealed by radio host Don Imus as a conniving, two-faced jerk. Now his reporting is being denounced as “patently, provably false” by Fox News president Roger Ailes.

It should perhaps come as no surprise that Ailes would challenge Alter given that the author devoted a significant number of passages to FNC in his ridiculously titled book on the Obama 2012 victory, The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. Ailes responded to a number of Alter’s allegations in a point-by-point email to Politico which includes some of the following:

Allegation: “[O]ne Monday, Murdoch snickered to senior staff that Alies was convinced that the whole News Corp. building was bugged: ‘Roger came in over the weekend to work in the only room that he thought was secure — a supply closet.’ ”

Ailes: “He claims I once worked out of a supply closet because I was convinced the building was bugged. It’s completely false and silly. In fact, I had no idea we have a supply closet.”

Allegation: “Ailes had a television monitor on his desk that showed video of the empty hall outside his office so that he would have warning if terrorists were coming to kill him.”

Ailes: “After the last NYC blackout our chief engineer asked if I wanted a monitor in my office to see the exits of the building. We had people piled up in the stairwells and the front lobby was jammed. Since I’m part of the team that volunteered to stay behind in an emergency, that would be my responsibility to help evacuate the building safely. So yes, I can see exits and that would be helpful assisting during evacuations. Alter claims the monitor shoots the hall outside my office to see if terrorists are coming to kill me. No such monitor exists and no such fear exists.”

The takedown needs to be read in its entirety so do yourself a favor and enjoy it by clicking the link above.

Ailes was also likely behind the takedown of Alter alluded to above where the leftist writer was revealed to have printed an obviously false claim that liberal Fox News pundit Geraldo Rivera’s microphone was cut during a heated debate he had with conservative host Eric Bolling on the Benghazi scandal. Alter claimed that Ailes himself intervened directly in the argument, demanding that Rivera be silenced.

Unfortunately for Alter’s credibility, neither of the two events he claimed to have happened actually occurred. For more details, see our earlier coverage of the controversy.

Contacted by Politico about Ailes's email, Alter responded with his usual huff-and-puff:

Alter, during a break between interviews on his book tour, told us: “The question is, do you believe me or Roger Ailes?”

Alter said his scoops “came from current or former News Corp. employees.” Saying how surprised he was that Ailes would engage “at this level,” Alter added: “Roger is a bully. And like a lot of bullies, he can dish it out but he can’t take it.”

Even if Alter did not fabricate his sources for his allegations, it seems not even to have entered into his mind that perhaps his sources might have been mistaken in their own beliefs. Given that he got it so obviously wrong on the Rivera incident, Alter might consider reacting with a little less knee jerking.

Of course, that would be utterly out of character for him. It’s no wonder the guy can’t catch a break.

Update 15:09. A source at Fox News tells Breitbart.com that perhaps there is some personal bitterness at work on Alter's part:

If there’s any diagnosis to be made here, it’s Alter suffering from a bad case of sour grapes: A while back, Jon was fishing around for a Fox Contributor gig, and he didn’t get one--not because he’s a liberal, but because he’s boring. There have plenty of liberals on the payroll here at Fox, but they have to be interesting. Jon’s a snooze.

Apparently Alter wanted to work for the man he now portrays as deranged.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013