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Fox News' Roger Ailes: "Tone it Down"

Producer Roger Ailes
Producer Roger Ailes attend a cocktail party hosted by Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Miramax Books to celebrate Peter Bart's new book ''BOFFO'' on June 26, 2006 in New York City. Getty Images/Peter Kramer

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Tuscon, Ariz. that left six dead and 14 injured, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Fox News President Roger Ailes is saying that his network and others in politics and the media need to "tone it down."

In an interview with Russell Simmons, published today by Simmons' website Global Grind, Ailes addressed the tragedy and the partisan rhetoric some say is to blame for the incident.

Ailes to some extent defended Sarah Palin's use of crosshairs imagery during the 2010 campaign, arguing that such rhetoric was not uncommon in politics. Palin has come under criticism in the wake of the shooting for having created a "target list" of lawmakers she hoped to unseat, including Giffords. Palin released a map featuring the 20 targeted House Democrats that used crosshairs to show their districts.

"They're using this thing... apparently there was a map from one of Palin's things that had [Giffords] targeted district," Ailes said. "So, we looked at the Internet and the first thing we found in 2007, the Democrat Party had a targeted map with targets on it for the Palin district. These maps have been used for for years that I know of."

But Ailes called the use of such imagery "bulls**t" and said "both sides are wrong, but they both do it."

"I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually," the Fox News president said. "You don't have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that."

Complete Coverage: Tragedy in Tucson

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