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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The head of the Fox News Channel has apologized to a Jewish civil rights group for using the term Nazis to describe NPR executives. Here's NPR's David Folkenflik.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: You think that whole Juan Williams flap couldn't get any more contentious? It just did. Fox news chief Roger Ailes spoke to a reporter for The Daily Beast website. He ripped NPR for terminating Williams for remarks on Fox News about Muslims.

NPR said the termination followed a pattern of inappropriate remarks. Ailes rewarded Williams with a $2 million, three-year contract.

But in the piece published Thursday, Ailes spoke of NPR executives saying, quote, "They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don't want any other point of view."

In a letter Thursday to a top official of the Anti-Defamation League, Ailes apologized. He said he should have instead said nasty inflexible bigot.

But Ailes also wrote he was upset at two rabbis who complained about Fox host Glenn Beck for repeatedly comparing his own rhetorical targets to Nazis.

This spat came the same day as an effort by conservatives in the House of Representatives to force a vote on stripping federal funding for NPR. NPR receives a sliver of money from the federally financed Corporation for Public Broadcasting for its own operations each year, though public radio member stations rely on that money more heavily.

The effort to have a formal vote on the funding failed. But a new Congress takes over in January, and when it does, the House will be controlled by a resurgent Republican majority.

One final note, both NPR and Fox News say Ailes has not apologized to NPR executives themselves for calling them Nazis.

David Folkenflik, NPR News, New York.

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