NEW YORK -- Fox News still dominates the cable news ratings, but chairman Roger Ailes wants something more: to help elect the next president.
That's the takeaway from Gabriel Sherman's New York magazine cover story hitting newsstands Monday. Sherman, who's currently writing a book on Fox News for Random House, looks at how Ailes -- who built up a stable of possible presidential contenders after the 2008 election, including Sarah Palin -- isn't so pleased with their chances at beating President Barack Obama in 2012.
Ailes doesn't speak on the record in the article, but several Republicans close to the Fox News chief describe his concerns going into an election year.
"He thinks things are going in a bad direction," another Republican close to Ailes told [Sherman]. "Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she's stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven't elevated the conservative movement."
Ailes, a television titan, has schooled past presidential candidates on how to handle the media. Before helping Rupert Murdoch launch Fox News in 1996, Ailes worked as a strategist for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (whom he still talks to regularly).
But Palin, a former Alaska Governor and current Fox News contributor, hasn't always listened to Ailes' sage advice, as Sherman reported a couple months back. Although Ailes reportedly told Palin to lie low after the Tucson shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), she still went ahead with the infamous "blood libel" video.
So far, Ailes' other presidential hopefuls aren't exactly on the road to the White House.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee recently decided to continue hosting a Saturday night show on the network rather than run again for president. Fox contributor John Bolton, the U.N. ambassador under George W. Bush, hasn't ruled out running but also hasn't built any significant campaign infrastructure.
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