NEIL CAVUTO: The character of Roger Ailes

Richard Branson & Rudy Giuliani Visit 'Cavuto' On FOX Business NetworkRob Kim/Getty ImagesNeil Cavuto hosts ‘Cavuto’ on FOX Business Network at FOX Studios.

I was here from the beginning with Roger. That’s more than 20 years at Fox — years more when we were at CNBC together. That’s about a quarter-century getting to know a guy, so I think I’m a pretty good judge of character. And seeing as I’ve just had open heart surgery and deal with my share of illnesses, I’m free to speak my mind in a way and from a unique perspective others cannot.

In a way, my health challenges have been liberating. They allow me to speak my mind because I frankly have bigger personal worries. They free me to get past the clutter and nonsense. And all this stuff I’ve been reading about Roger is a lot of clutter and a lot of nonsense. None of it remotely matches the man I’ve come to know over these last decades.

In individual meetings, those with staff members, and groups large and small — at Fox, at CNBC, women and men, top executive producers to production assistants, all stripes, all colours, all personalities, Roger was and is ALL professional. He wants us to have fun, and he can be funny, but in ways that matter — not demeaning nonsense that does not.

Don’t get me wrong, he can be a huge pain in the arse. He’s relentlessly demanding and doesn’t exactly suffer fools gladly. But he is a fair and balanced taskmaster — one who doesn’t put up with excuses from anyone — from anchors to interns. He demands excellence, when frankly, on some Friday afternoons, some of us would prefer focusing on excellent weekends.

He reminds each and all never settle, never mail it in, never assume today’s success is tomorrow’s guarantee. It’s not so much that he made us fear for our jobs as much as appreciate those jobs and the responsibility that comes with them. He is stern, but fair. He is tough, but kind. He is disciplined, but discerning. He leads by example and his meetings, those large and small of which I’ve been a part over all these years, are dominated by issues that matter — not once, not ONCE — by issues that have suddenly come up out of the blue in the press.

I’ve never seen it. I’ve never witnessed it. Not even hints of it. Meetings with Roger aren’t about nonsense. He doesn’t have time for it, and God knows he wouldn’t countenance male or female staffers allowing it. That’s just not the Roger I know or any of my staff members know. It’s his demand for keeping focused on the things that matter that have typified these exchanges — nothing less. It’s why we are all still here — some staff members nearly as long as me. He brought us here. He is the reason we stay here.

Smart people don’t stick around for nonsense; they stick around for the professional challenges that make sense. They respect Roger. Trust me, any one of these folks could go anywhere else, but they STAY for Roger. That’s the Roger they know. That’s the only Roger they know.

I suspect over the years, such groups have grown to include hundreds of people. Maybe more. Take if from a guy with an illness, these accusations that don’t remotely resemble the Roger that I know…that WE know…are just…sick.

Neil Cavuto is SVP, Anchor and Managing Editor of FOX News Channel and FOX Business Network.

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