Palmer Lake, CO
A Fox in the henhouse
Jim Sleeper’s commentary on Zev Chafets’s book about Roger Ailes (CJR, July/August) repeats the legend that the Fox News president “crafted” the notorious “Willie Horton” ad. However, as Martin Schram wrote in The New Republic (“The Making of Willie Horton,” May 28, 1990), the honors go to Larry McCarthy, a former Ailes Communications executive, who by then worked for a pac called Americans for Bush and who devised the media campaign that included the Horton ad. Not only was Ailes not involved, by law AFB could not contact or coordinate with the Bush campaign.
Schram’s article details how McCarthy conceived the ad, even selecting the mug shot, and worked his way around the network censors, then snookered the talk shows to pick up the story as well. Given that McCarthy’s role in negative campaigning during the Bush (and subsequent) presidential race has been discussed as recently as a 2012 New Yorker article (Jane Mayer, “Attack Dog,” February 13, 2012), one has to wonder about the accuracy of the rest of Chafets’s reporting.
In Sabra Ayres’ story “Future tense,” (CJR, July/August), we wrote that Afghanistan’s “illiteracy rates hover around 39 percent for men and 13 percent for women.” We meant “literacy rates.”