Life&Culture

Ailes' political legacy: GOP control in divided America

Ailes' political legacy: GOP control in divided America

Love him or hate him - and few consumers of media were uncertain - Roger Ailes was widely considered to be the most influential political-media figure of these times. "Not sure I would have been President w/o his great talent, loyal help". He created the Fox News Channel, branded it "Fair and Balanced", and it became a big hit with conservatives.

Under the leadership of Ailes, Fox became America's most widely watched cable news channel, home to key conservative political commentators and drawing an audience distinct from rivals CNN and MSNBC, AFP said.

The Fox co-founder, a consultant to Republican presidents and a central figure in the conservative United States political movement, was ousted from the network in July past year after a sexual harassment lawsuit from former news host Gretchen Carlson.

Ailes' widow, Elizabeth Ailes, announced his death in a statement posted on the Fox News website on Thursday.

His dismissal was a head-spinning downfall and a breathtaking defeat for Ailes, a man who all his life seemed to be spoiling for a fight and was used to winning them.

Brash, heavyset and bombastic, he was renowned for never giving in, for being ever confrontational with a chip on his shoulder and a blistering outburst at the ready.

That show was also the occasion for Ailes' first foray into politics-in 1967 he had an on-air debate about television in politics with Richard Nixon. It was a very warm and loving and comfortable place'.

"He really did as much as anyone to redefine the Republican Party as a party of cultural populism ... making resentment of the media, resentment of elites, resentment of liberals who were soft on crime and soft on national security central to what the Republican Party was about", David Greenberg, a Rutgers University political scientist, told AFP.

Born in Warren, Ohio, Ailes was afflicted with hemophilia.

"Just the contribution he made to politics and the contribution he made to television news its unparalled, both of those", Jarvis said.

He was also a longtime friend of President Trump, who defended Ailes against the accusations of sexual harassment, saying Ailes had helped "some of the women that are complaining".

"He wasn't flawless, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him", chimed in George H.W. Bush. It was a campaign widely seen as being no less nasty than it was successful.

"Today America lost one of its great patriotic warriors", Fox News host Sean Hannity said on the channel on Thursday. He abruptly resigned last July.

After his ouster, at least 20 other women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes. After starting his media consultancy in 1968, he also produced a handful of Broadway shows, including 1973's "The Hot L Baltimore", which ran for three years at the Circle in the Square.

Other GOP lawmakers praised Ailes for his transformative impact on news and politics and providing a platform for conservatives.

Ailes is survived by his third wife, Elizabeth, who had worked for him at CNBC as vice president of programming, and their son, Zachary.


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