Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes Discusses How He Coordinated Coverage of the 1969 Moon Landing
Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes sat down with Bill Hemmer to talk about coordinating the coverage of Neil Armstrong's moon landing. “I was watching the feed from the moon and I realized we could have the first interplanetary split screen,” Ailes said.
He also described one of the challenges he faced, saying that there was no way to predict which way Armstrong would be standing and facing on the moon. “So I had the monitor on each side of Nixon’s desk and I said to him,
‘I’m gonna see that moon feed just before you see it, and I will cue you – if Armstrong’s that way, I’ll cue you that way, if he’s not, we’ll go that way. And that way you end up with them sort of looking at each other.”
On the question of what the historic moment with President Nixon contributed to that story at the time, Ailes said, “I believe there was a lot confidence in the government in those days, which doesn’t exist today. Also, Jack Kennedy had inspired an entire generation by saying we should go to the moon ... I think that’s why people are so disturbed that we’ve now given away our space program after all that work.”
Though Ailes remained professional while getting his job done, he said that he felt "enormous pride about the United States" that day. "I thought, the United States is essentially an idea, that as long as we believe in it, it will go on and we will be free. If we don’t believe in it, or we lose faith in it, it will collapse -- that was just a reinforcing moment to me that America’s a great country."
Ailes concluded with what Nixon said right after it was over: "He stopped and looked at the feed because the feed was continuing and he said ‘Those guys have a lot of guts.’"
Watch the full interview below: