Fox News Honcho
In Jest At Dinner
OGER AILES, the eminence of Fox
News, has been coming to the annual benefit dinner of the Jewish
Community Relations Council (JCRC) ever since he was guest of
honor in 2005. In April he hobbled into New Yorkís Pierre Hotel
with the aid of a cane, which startled Michael Miller,
longtime JCRC executive vice president and CEO.
"Oy vay!" Miller gasped. "Itís his
last dinner. Not gonna make it."
"Itís just a sore leg, Michael," Ailes
assured him. "Itís not life-threatening. You probably missed my
recent appearance on Dancing with the Stars."
You can always depend on the Fox News
Channel chairman/CEO to cheer up a sober awards program. For
starters he depicted three things a woman can say to a man, but
no man can say to a woman:
"You need a haircut." (Definitely a
"You wearing that?" (A monthís
worth of trouble.)
"Youíre gaining a little weight."
Ailes introduced one of the three
honorees, Sharri A. Berg, senior vice president of news
operations at Fox News Channel and Fox Television Stations.
"But first," he said, "I want to
acknowledge a few friends here ó because I only have a few." By
the mirthful feedback from the audience of 700, you could tell
he had more than a few fans in the ballroom.
Berg proved to be one of his most
ardent friends. In order to receive a JCRC Corporate Leader
Award she must have done something right in her career. Eighteen
years ago, when Ailes invited her to join his launch team, she
was ecstatic. But instead of immediately accepting the offer,
she tried to talk him into giving her more responsibility.
"This is what I NEED you to do, Berg,"
he snapped. "You come here, work hard, do a good job and good
things will happen. But Iím a little busy. So I suggest you take
the job." Ever since then, Berg listened to the boss, whom she
calls a "courageous and inspiring leader."
One thing that inspires Berg to honor
and respect her heritage through JCRC is a memory from her
teenage years. She and her mother Hermine were cast in
the play The Diary of Anne Frank at their local community
theater, Antrim Playhouse, in Suffern, N.Y. She has never
forgotten how, at the end of the play when the stage turned
dark, she stood terrified as she heard the increasingly urgent
footsteps of the Nazis running up to the attic.
Elizabeth and Roger Ailes (seated)
with Jamie Colby (center)
"My mother and I both stared at each
other, bonded. We were frozen, tears in our eyes. We were
transported to another place in time, a terrible time, one we
must never allow to happen again."
New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio
dropped by and described his two trips to Israel. "It was
particularly challenging to see the childrenís center in Sderot
which resembled a war bunker." He praised Michael Miller as the
best guide you can have in Israel.
"We will use every effort to confront
any evidence of anti-Semitism," the mayor pledged. "We will not
accept any such incidents."
The two other honorees at the dinner
were Elizabeth L. Velez, president of the Velez
Organization construction firm, and Gary Jacob, executive
vice president of Glenwood Management Corp., owner/builder of
JCRC president Ronald G. Weiner
announced that the event raised $1.5 million. See what Roger
Ailesís sunny disposition and one-liners can achieve ó even with