June 28, 2017

Media Titan Roger Ailes, Dead At 77

21 May 2017, 10:55 | Kristin Schwartz

Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes dead at 77

Fox Founder and Ex-chairman Roger Ailes has died

Ailes, who died at age 77 on Thursday, created Fox News in 1996 and ruled there until he was forced out last summer due to sexual harassment allegations. And let's turn now to NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, who has reported on and written extensively about Ailes and Fox News. In his mordant humor, CNN stood for Clinton News Network and CBS for Communist Broadcasting System.

"Fox has really established itself as the dominating force in cable news", he said.

GREENE: So a celebrated figure among many conservatives, but just remind us about the headlines of the past year which were different.

Glenn Beck left Fox News in 2011 because he claimed he wanted to save his soul.

A snotty tone pervaded the piece. To play on Roger Ailes' mischievously brilliant slogan for Fox News, Google's search results are neither fair nor balanced.

"Deeply saddened by death of Roger Ailes". A Pew survey showed that Trump voters disproportionately relied on Fox for campaign news. But despite the degree to which Fox is still very much grappling with the corporate culture Ailes allegedly encouraged, some of their employees were deeply emotional on air. But they were passionate viewers.

Ailes received a severance package of about $40 million when he left Fox News, owned by Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, according to a source familiar with the situation.

While Ailes was forced out past year in a blaze of sexual harassment allegations, which he denied, Fox News today is the most watched cable news network in America, a powerhouse of the right and the bete noire of Democratic coastal elites. Women who worked with him paid it in humiliation and psychological anguish. That's a huge part of his legacy that conservatives are struggling to find words for as they attempt to honor the man's life. Unresolved lawsuits related to Ailes and fired prime-time host Bill O'Reilly contribute to uncertainty about future management.

A former GOP operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Ailes later turned his media savvy to running TV networks. Even more explosive anti-Dukakis commercials featured a black felon, Willie Horton. But he was also a man who changed the United States. The ad was widely attacked as blatantly racist, but it appeared to work as a vote magnet for Mr. Bush.

The story of Fox News was the story of Ailes. It has had a mixed relationship with US President Donald Trump, a longtime friend of Ailes, but was instrumental in his election victory in November. And he set out to change it.

But it will likely make things much harder for Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, lawyers say - one management-side attorney said the death of a key person in such a case is "a defendant's worst nightmare" - adding to the pressure for them to settle.

Hugely successful for the right-leaning network, that approach has been adopted by other media across the political spectrum. Former Fox News producer Joe Muto also pointed to the coverage of a non-politician. Benghazi just a right-wing conspiracy?

Throughout the book, Kelly expresses gratitude to Ailes for giving her so many chances to advance her career, and writes that she looked to him as a mentor. His strategic shaping of popular opinion got the Republican party on the news, which helped get them in the White House.

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