America's Best Leaders: Q&A with Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News channel
What's the primary thing you look for when you're hiring?
I can't stand negative people. Negative people will bring you down. Life's tough and then you die, and the first 100 years in the ground is just the beginning. I mean, it's just not a good time to get depressedit's gonna, it could get worse later. And if you can't manage to be positive in a job interview, chances are not great that it's going to get better anytime soon. If you run into people who are negative, and always telling you that the cat got ran over, and you couldn't get the car started and you've got a cold, the suits are idiots and life isn't fair, you know, you need to get away from those people because they will suck you under and hold you down and drown you.
What are your deficiencies, and how do you address them?
[laughing] I don't want my competitors to know! If they can't find my weaknesses, good. That will be useful in the next fight. But I have plenty. I'm human, I make dumb moves and do stupid things. I'm too sentimental.
That's surprising. I've got a long list of adjectives people have used to describe you, and sentimental is not one of them.
Well, that's true, but usually they're people who've already gotten their ass kicked by me, so you have to take that into account as to why they're using these words. Let's hear what they are?
- ProsperousWell, that was never my goal
- PugnaciousI'll fight if encouraged
- CombativeYeah, that's justified in some circumstances
- BlusteringI don't like that word. It sounds as if it's somebody who doesn't intend to follow through. I never threaten and I never don't intend to follow through. Guys who use that word, they wish. If my voice goes up, it doesn't mean I'm blustering, it means we need to come to some accommodation soon, because I will follow through.
- ConservativeDoes that mean politically or personally? I've taken a lot of risks in my life that would argue that I'm not conservative. But nobody in 40 years has ever asked my position on a specific issue, so they have no way of knowing what my political position is.
Nobody has ever asked?
They assume because I work for certain people that I must be conservative.
So, I'll ask. What do you think of gay marriage?
I think the word "marriage" is already taken. I don't think you can have a gay table . . . that word's taken. And marriage is taken too. It means a union between a man and a woman. I have no problem with gays coming up with another word and do what they want, that is not my business, but that word is taken.
What about evolution versus intelligent design?
I'm not an expert in this area. But, what I believe is, people say the whole idea of God up in heaven, the Holy Spirit, the virgin birth and all that, is too fantastic to believe. I'll tell you what's too fantastic to believe. That two rocks exploded in the sky and I have an ATM card and an automobile. Whatever you call it, there's something pretty far beyond me that created all of this. And I tend to call it God, and that's it, I'm comfortable with that.
- ControversialWell, yeah, but I don't get up in the morning and try to be. They think I am because I say things they don't like. You know, "controversial" means people who will actually say things you don't like. That's what makes you controversial. It's ascribed to you by somebody who obviously thinks he knows better than you do, that immediately makes you controversial.