Under the Dome

Holshouser, Roger Ailes, and busing

In a postscript to the passing of former Gov. Jim Holshouser, there is a story that Roger Ailes tells of the 1972 campaign.

Ailes, who is now head of Fox News, was then working as a media political consultant and Holshouser was one of his first political clients. (Ailes was also working for President Richard Nixon that year.)

Holshouser was one of Ailes' first clients. Court-ordered school busing was a hot topic, and according to Zev Chafets' biography, "Roger Ailes: Off Camera," he had convince Holshouser to oppose busing.

"Holshouser's Democratic opponent was opposed to busing, so it didn't seem like a problem until the candidate told Ailes that it was," Chafets writes. 'We are going to support busing,' he told his consultant.'''

"When a candidate begins saying, 'we', it usually means that his wife is involved,'' Ailes says Sure enough, Mrs. Holshouser turned out to be a staunch supporter of school busing, and she convinced her husband that he should be too.

"Ailes had a heart-to-heart with Holshouser. 'I have no (freaking) idea if busing will work or not ,' he said. "I haven't seen any data on it, I don't know if it is a good thing, or a bad one. But here is what I do know. If you don't do an antibusing spot on you will lose the election. Now, if I were you I'd do the (freaking) spot, win the election, and then, once you're in office, do whatever you think is right. Or you can not do the (freaking) spot, make your wife feel better, and not be governor, in which case yo won't be able to do anything about the issue one way or the other. But that's not my problem. I'm going to cash my check before Election Day and be back on a plane for New York before the votes are counted. You have to do live here. It's your life and your decision.''

"I asked Ailes what happened," Chafets writes.

"He did the spot and won.''

While Ailes story may be mostly true, the chronology doesn't seem to quite fit. Holshouser announced his opposition to busing in April and Ailes was not hired until late May.


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