Republicans may be divided on how to handle the crisis in Syria, but the president of their favorite news network has made it clear he's 100% in favor of toppling the Assad regime — though he has a somewhat unorthodox plan to get it done.
In Zev Chafets' 2012 book Roger Ailes Off Camera the president of Fox News is quoted saying if if he was in the Oval Office he would "open a new front" in Syria, and that he'd use use flattery and the promise of international prestige to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to join the intervention.
From Ailes' comments in the book:
"Putin is angry. He thinks the United States doesn't take him seriously or treat Russia as a major player. Okay, fine, that's how he feels. If I were president, I'd get in a room with him and say, 'Look at the slaughter going on in Syria. You can stop it. Do it, and I'll see to it that you can get all the credit. I'll tell the world it was you who saved the innocent children of Syria from slaughter. You'll be an international hero. You'll go down in history.' Hell, Putin would go to bed thinking, 'That's not a bad offer.' There will still be plenty of other issues I'd have with Russia. But instead of looking for one huge deal that settles everything, you take a piece of the problem and solve it. Give an incentive for good behavior. Show the other guy his self-interest. Everybody has an ego. Everybody needs dignity. And what does it cost? You get what you want you give up nothing."
Later in the book, Chafets describes a news meeting at Fox in which Ailes pushed for more coverage of the conflict, and considered giving coverage to Jesse Jackson if he went to Russia to protest the country's alliance with Assad:
"Jesse Jackson called me today. He wants to go to Moscow and protest the Russian government supporting Assad. I told him that we'd look into the possibility of coverage. We have to open a new front in Syria or a shitload more people will die. Assad's murdering journalists and silencing them. It's troubling when a country goes silent. Somebody talk to Walid Phares [a Fox Middle East commentator] and let's find out what the terrorists are up to over here these days. Somebody get in touch with Ray Kelly about it."
Conservatives disagree on whether to Congressional Republicans should authorize President Obama's desired military strike in Syria, and some of Fox's most prominent personalities, including Sean Hannity, have been deeply skeptical of getting involved in the conflict.
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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