Fox analyst: In defense of Roger Ailes

Courtesy of Fox News

The Gretchen Carlson lawsuit against Roger Ailes for alleged sexual harassment and discrimination is sad for everyone.  

I have known, and known of, Roger Ailes for over 40 years, since the days when I was a young typist on Henry Kissinger’s West Wing staff in the Nixon Administration. I didn’t know Ailes well, more of a nodding acquaintance in the hallways when he came to the White House for meetings. Ailes was the media guru who helped Richard Nixon get elected president in 1968.

{mosads}The early 1970’s were a different era, before ‘women’s rights’, before sexual discrimination and harassment were even mentioned aloud, their existence rarely acknowledged. Women weren’t bosses — they were secretaries and waitresses and store clerks and had little power or recourse. If they claimed sexual harassment they were more likely to be fired than entitled to an attorney. It just came with the territory.

But women talked. You heard things on the grapevine. You knew who were the dirty old men you didn’t want to be caught alone in the office with after hours. You’d be warned off the charming love ‘em and leave ‘em Washington bachelors. You’d hear stories about the married bosses who took off their wedding rings and prowled the Georgetown bars on Saturday night and went to church with the family on Sundays.

I never heard anything like that about Roger Ailes. In the last few days I’ve contacted some of my Nixon and Reagan era colleagues. They agreed. There was never a whisper of Roger Ailes being ‘one of those men’. That’s why the ‘revelations’ about his allegedly predatory behavior supposedly stretching back decades just don’t ring true. In those days, the only ‘reputation’ Roger had was as a workaholic TV guy who managed to make Richard Nixon seem likeable.

Fast forward to today. I have been a FOX News national security analyst and contributor for six years. During that time I’ve been at the FOX New York studios several days every week. I interact with the executives, anchors, reporters, contributors, producers, bookers, interns, camera and sound team, floor managers, makeup artists, security guards and cleaning crews — both male and female.  

I have NEVER heard a thing to suggest Roger Ailes is what some now suddenly describe him as being.

In fact, just the opposite. Roger Ailes hired me when I was over fifty years old, to talk on-air about foreign policy and national security issues — in an industry where most only hire women who are young and beautiful. The security experts usually hired are retired (male) generals.  I do not fit that mold.  My gender and age have never once been discussed.

I have been afforded the opportunity to be a national voice on some of the most important issues of the day — and never once told what to say or how to say it.  

Roger Ailes has always treated me as a professional, with respect and even admiration.

KT McFarland is a Fox News national security analyst. She is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs under President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1985. McFarland also served as a speech writer to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. 


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