LAMB: How would you define journalism?
AILES: Journalism is a collection of stories, editing them and presenting them to the people in some fair manner with as many facts as you can muster to get it through to people. Itís a pretty simple craft. Itís not brain surgery. Itís simple but itís not easy. And to do it right is hard work
LAMB: What do they teach in journalism school?
AILES: Well, I think they get too political
from time to time. I think they draw conclusions for students
, at least many of the ones that Iíve talked to. They donít necessarily teach them the simple things
of gather all the facts, present all the facts. I think in many cases they have agendas
I was asked by a university to give them some money, and I said -- I went to the university and I taught a couple of classes and I interviewed a bunch of students and I said, Iím not going to give you any money until you can graduate somebody who likes America
. Itís not a bad country, you know. And I said, As soon as you get me someone like that, Iíll give you some money.
Based on what theyíre learning, youíd think we live somewhere else
LAMB: What evidence did you have at that school that the teachers did not like America?
AILES: Everything is negative
. Everything is about -- look, 95 percent of our people are working, the other 5 percent are basically pretty well taken care of by the government
. Health care is not bad here. Bill Clinton did all right under it. Most people who want surgery donít go to Canada, they try to come here
. This is a country where everybody is trying to get in and nobody is trying get out.
So it just occurs to me that some of that ought to be taught in context
. Not that we donít have problems, not that we donít have deep problems in our cities, poverty and some other things, but this is the society that has cured and will continue to cure many of those problems
. And I think that the context of all that has to be taught. And I donít see it being taught very often
LAMB: If you were to start your own journalism school, how would you teach it?
AILES: I would just teach to do the facts, be fair, make sure that youíve got the same weigh if there is more than one point of view to every point of view. I always tell our journalists, reach out to a point of view you donít agree with and make sure itís in that story.
Itís simple stuff, but you have to do it. And I see the other networks -- I saw David Westin the other day take a shot at Fox News. Now David is the process of trying to turn himself into Fred Friendly, heís a corporate lawyer whoís trying to be a great journalist. But he has got some problems.
Heís the guy who wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to be a journalist for him
. Heís the guy who had his head of politics during the election basically come out and say they didn't have to be fair, they should support Kerry in the debates
. I find that odd. I think David's got a lot of work to do in house before he goes out taking a shot at us.
LAMB: Is there anything wrong with a news organization taking or having a point of view?
AILES: Well, I think there's a difference between news and analysis/opinion
. What I saw them do -- they recently did a news meeting up at Stanford, which -- you know, heads of news at Stanford is sort of redundant. But in any case, no. If -- as long as you label it as -- you know, you know this is an opinion show.
What they're trying to do is say that Fox News is mixing opinion and fact. That's just simply not true
. I mean, if you watch Shep Smith's show at 7:00, I have no idea what Shep thinks politically. I don't see any particular agenda. Bias can be a lot of different ways -- story selection, story placement, story emphasis
. There's a lot of ways you can create subtle bias.
But the networks for years have mixed these things, and now they're claiming we mix it, when, in fact, Bill O'Reilly is a news analysis show, or Greta or somebody else, and the hard news we do is not in question. We haven't retracted a story in eight years.
LAMB: Do you worry, now that you're on top?
AILES: Oh, sure. Look, I get up every day, you know, playing it like we're 20 miles behind. I'll never change. That's just my background. I grew up in Ohio. I dug ditches for a living. I wanted to get out of there. I always thought, you know, the only way to do it is hard work, and you got to be better and smarter than the next guy. There's no other magic to it. And when -- you know, we have probably a third of the personnel that CNN has
. We've always had that, from day one.