NEW YORK — Roger Ailes today aggressively defended Fox News Channel’s on-air support for the armed militia gathered in Nevada in protest of a federal cattle roundup.
“It’s complete bull,” Ailes remarked. “Any suggestion that our commentators somehow went off the reservation and thoughtlessly fanned the flames of violent insurrection is completely groundless,” he argued. “They knew exactly what they were doing.
“Shoveling shit and stirring the pot are a proud traditions at our network,” continued the president of Fox News Channel, ones that he “would proudly defend to the death.”
While the standoff between rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal Bureau of Land Management goes back over two decades, the dung hit the fan after armed protestors numbering in the hundreds threatened violence if the BLM did not release Bundy’s cattle and allow them to graze freely on the federal land.
Bundy claimed he would “do whatever it takes” to defend his animals and get his states’ rights message out to the public. Along with his loaded shotgun, 40 personal guards, and militiamen on horses and in a sniper position wielding semi-automatic firepower, Bundy suggested that the most “powerful weapon” he had at his ready was the Fox News microphone Sean Hannity was holding up to his face.
“First they came for Christmas and our health insurance,” Bundy told Hannity. “Now they’re coming for my cattle—your next hamburger. The time has come to tune in and join my fight. Tell your friends you’re gonna be on the news tonight.”
Andrew Napolitano, a Fox contributor, hailed the homegrown and cable news-fertilized resistance. “It shows you the resistance of patriotic Americans,” he told Bill O’Reilly.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid preferred to call the Americans in question “domestic terrorists,” a brand some at the ranch are now literally wearing proudly on nametags.
Reid’s comment incensed Rand Paul, who also weighed in on Fox News. “Nobody in Washington really knows anything about ranching or grazing of cattle or the long history that’s gone on with this,” the Kentucky Republican told viewers. “Bureaucrats in suits couldn’t possibly understand the nuances of the matter as well as you do, sitting on your couch watching TV with one finger on the trigger and another on the remote.”
Fearing for their safety, the BLM eventually backed off last week, avoiding bloodshed for now. Still, many in the civilian militia remain, waiting for the next hoof to drop.
“The federal government clearly bit off more than it could chew this time,” said Ailes. “Because of the action our viewers took, I’ve never been prouder to call myself an American—not that the American government has any ownership over me.”