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Ailes Speaks

C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb made a smart move on Dec. 12, recruiting Fox News CEO Roger Ailes as a guest to help launch Q&A, the interview show replacing Lamb’s Sunday fixture, Booknotes. A few nuggets from the ever-quotable Ailes:

On focus groups: “You go to a mall, you get 12 people who need $40 and somebody to talk to, and then you try to get them to explain how to do your job. That strikes me as pathetic.”

On Brian Williams: “He didn’t do great in cable. May have been the wrong show, wrong place, wrong time—maybe even the wrong medium. But Brian is a capable anchor for broadcast news, and a smart guy ... He’s polite, got a lot of nice shirts. He’s articulate, sincere … I mean, what’s not to like about Brian?”

On one of the 27 qualities he looks for in on-air talent: “Do I hate their agent? If I hate their agent, they have a little more trouble negotiating with me … If the agent’s an idiot, this is going to be a problem.”

On J-School: “I was asked by a university to give them some money. I went to the university, and I taught a couple of classes, and I interviewed a bunch of students, and I said, 'I’m not going to give you any money until you can graduate somebody who likes America.’”