Now that there’s a rumour going around that FOX boss Roger Ailes is going to be indicted for telling underling Judith Regan to lie to federal investigators, it makes sense to take a closer look at what News Corp. has said about the matter.
When the New York Times broke the story last week that Judith Regan had accused Ailes of this–and had a recording of the telephone call to prove it–News Corp. did not deny that it was Ailes on the tape.
Instead, News Corp said the following:
[T]he spokeswoman, Teri Everett, said News Corporation had a letter from Ms. Regan “stating that Mr. Ailes did not intend to influence her with respect to a government investigation.” Ms. Everett added, “The matter is closed.”
Now, that’s a very interesting statement.
Note what it does NOT say: It does not say that Roger Ailes did NOT tell Judith Regan to lie to the feds.
Instead, it says that News Corp. now has a letter from Judith Regan saying that Roger Ailes “did not intend to [tell her to lie].“
In other words, News Corp itself did not take a public position on what Roger Ailes did or didn’t do. It is keeping its options open.
Photo: AP Images
And why might News Corp have a letter from Judith Regan stating that Roger Ailes didn’t intend to tell her to lie to the Feds? It might have such a letter because, back when Judith Regan was suing News Corp, Judith Regan told News Corp she had a tape of the telephone call.For obvious reasons, News Corp would have wanted to reduce the legal risk to Roger Ailes. And so News Corp. might have demanded that Judith Regan write such a letter as part of entering into a massive legal settlement with her–one that reportedly cost News Corp $11 million.
(Note the language the News Corp spokeswoman used to describe what Judith Regan’s letter said: “stating that Roger Ailes did not intend to influence her with respect to a government investigation.” Human beings don’t say things like “did not intend to influence [me] with respect to a government investigation” unless they are required to. If that’s a direct quote from Regan’s letter, therefore, it’s obvious that she wrote it because she was required to.)
So, given the circumstances under which the letter may have been written, one suspects that Judith Regan’s statement to News Corp that Roger Ailes did not intend for her to lie to the feds, may not carry much weight.
By the way, how would Judith Regan know what Roger Ailes intended?
ANSWER: She wouldn’t. She’s not inside his head.
So Judith Regan’s opinion at the time she wrote the letter–when she was trying to get as much money as possible out of News Corp–probably won’t save Roger Ailes. What matters is what is on the tape and what federal investigators think of what is on the tape–if they have in fact heard it, which, to our knowledge, no one has yet confirmed.
For obvious reasons, News Corp. hopes this matter is “closed.” And given the amount of time that has transpired since the Regan-News Corp spat, it may well be. (If the Feds have heard the tape and think Ailes told Regan to lie, why has it taken this long to charge him?)
But News Corp’s statements on the matter so far are very weak: The company has not yet even stated categorically that Roger Ailes did not tell Judith Regan to lie.
See Also: ROGER AILES TO BE INDICTED???
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