4 items from 2017
Even some of Roger Ailes’ closest friends and admirers admit that the man routinely described as “larger than life” has left a complicated legacy.
There’s no disputing that Ailes, who died May 18 at 77, turned Fox News Channel into a political and cultural force, generating outsize profits for Rupert Murdoch’s empire along the way. But his personal indiscretions and attitudes shaped in the “Mad Men” era of workplace culture proved to be his professional undoing. The state of Fox News today, 10 months after Ailes’ abrupt exit, reflects the essential conflict of its founder. He was undeniably one of the most influential, innovative and successful media mavens of the past 50 years. He was also the highest-ranking media executive to have been taken down by a sexual harassment lawsuit.
- Cynthia Littleton
The moment that would change American news and politics forever took place in a makeup room of “The Mike Douglas Show” in 1967. Richard Nixon was commenting on how ridiculous it was that he had to appear on daytime TV shows, and young Roger Ailes spoke up. “If you think that TV is ridiculous you’re never going to become president,'” Ailes told Nixon, according to Nixon biographer Rick Pearlstein. “Nixon said, ‘This is my guy,’ and pretty soon he was working for Nixon.” It took courage for Ailes, then a 26-year-old producer, to say something so bluntly harsh to a presidential candidate. »
- Brian Flood
He was the shrewd political operative who understood the powerful connection between television and populism, and went on to create a news network so successful many credit him with helping to elect the current president of the United States.
But in the end, a widespread sexual harassment scandal nearly overshadowed his legacy — and led to his removal from the cable news network that was nearly synonymous with the name Roger Ailes.
Ailes, who founded Fox News in 1996, died Thursday morning at age 77 after complications from a fall. He leaves behind his wife, Elizabeth, and son Zachary.
Born into blue collar roots in Ohio, »
- Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Born and raised in Ohio, Roger Ailes attended Ohio University as a young man, where he majored in radio and television. During his time there, he served as station manager for the university’s Woub radio station for two years. Ailes worked his way up to executive producer on the syndicated daytime talk show “The Mike Douglas Show,” which began as a local program in Cleveland before expanding nationwide. In 1968, Ailes was nominated for an Emmy when “The Mike Douglas Show” was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Daytime Programming, ultimately losing to NBC’s “Today” show. After first meeting Richard Nixon on the set. »
- Reid Nakamura
4 items from 2017
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