Ailes On Nixon's Sweaty Ways

Fox News boss once analyzed disgraced president's TV presence

Richard Nixon

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Ailes On Nixon's Sweaty Ways

JULY 11--Long before Fox News Channel boss Roger Ailes became one of the most powerful men in television, he was a Republican media consultant concerned with Richard Nixon's excessive perspiration, five o'clock shadow, upper lip makeup, and habit of not paying attention to wife Pat during public appearances.

In a May 1970 memo to Nixon aide Bob Haldeman, Ailes critiqued a series of Nixon TV appearances and detailed his efforts to stage manage the president's on-air look. The Ailes memo, a copy of which you'll find here, was released today by the Nixon presidential library.

In one passage, Ailes described how he was "walking a very fine" line when leaning on the TV networks, since he risked creating a situation where "they scream 'management of news.'" Though Ailes added that there were times he "pushed it just short of a major blow-up," he was unconcerned about being banned from one network's broadcast facilities.

"I'm not sure which network this is," wrote Ailes, "and really don't care." (5 pages)