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Roger Ailes Dead at 77

The disgraced former head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, has died, aged 77.

CNN:

Roger Ailes, who transformed cable news and then American politics by building Fox News into a ratings powerhouse, died Thursday. He was 77.

The death was announced by his family and reported on Fox News Channel.

“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning,” his wife, Elizabeth, said in a statement. “Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise — and to give back.”

Ailes started Fox News almost from scratch in 1996 and built it into not just a cable news ratings leader but a profound influence on the right wing of American politics.

Ailes was arguably the most powerful man in media when he suddenly lost his job last summer. Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox anchor, sued him for sexual harassment, and other women came forward to support her claims. Ailes resigned July 21.

There will be many eulogies and remonstrances and I have little to add other than my immediate thought of the Joe Paterno parallel. To be sure, Paterno was much less a controversial figure than Ailes prior to the scandal that ended his career. But both were absolute titans in their field, felled by awful scandals, and died shortly thereafter in complete disgrace.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    Well I feel bad for his wife.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. Paul L. says:

    Paterno was much less a controversial figure

    However Joe Paterno’s scandal was much worst.
    He covered up for a gay pedophile.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11

  3. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:
    No, Paterno just ruined the lives of a number of kids; Ailes ruined politics in the US. Ailes was a pig, a professional liar, one of the most destructive figures in the history of American politics.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  4. Paul L. says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Translation: He successfully promoted views with Fox News that disagreed with yours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 16

  5. James Pearce says:

    Chris Cornell died too. I mourn one and the other not at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  6. Mark Ivey says:

    ^ Later, Paul L is gonna post on Reddit that Obama assassinated Roger Ailes..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. Cory says:

    Women are slightly safer from harassment today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I saw a good tweet this morning: “They’re flying the skirts at half-mast at Fox News today.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  9. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    One of the key figures behind the polarization and dysfunction in our politics today, and a serial abuser of women.
    The world is better with Roger Ailes dead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  10. Franklin says:

    @James Pearce: I considered mentioning that. One of them definitely had the more noteworthy positive contribution to society.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Gustopher says:

    I only wish that he could have lived in disgrace a bit longer — Long enough for more accusations to come to light, and some lawsuits to drag him through the mud.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul L.:

    He successfully promoted views with Fox News that disagreed with yours reality.

    FTFY

    Paul L is a perfectly normal Republican, though — he’s horrified and indignant at someone who harms 7 named people with a knife or a bomb, and perfectly OK with someone who harms 7 million with a policy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  13. Paul L. says:

    @DrDaveT:
    I know it is wrong to be outraged at poor downtrodden Social Justice Warriors Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky for showing their anger at the 1% Petit family.
    But being OK with the Government not paying for abortions is the ultimate hypocrisy.

    Remember how mad progressives were at “Rest in Chappaquiddick.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  14. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul L.:

    poor downtrodden Social Justice Warriors Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky for showing their anger at the 1% Petit family.

    Am I supposed to have heard of any of these people?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. An Interested Party says:

    He covered up for a gay pedophile.

    Nice homophobic smear there…funny how so many of these “gay” pedophilles are married to women and the only male physical contact they have is with underage boys…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @DrDaveT: I Googled them. It still doesn’t make any sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds:

    No, Paterno just ruined the lives of a number of kids; Ailes ruined politics in the US.

    Good to know you have priorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Paul L. says:

    @gVOR08:
    As the Occupy/Resist crowd sees the Cheshire, Connecticut, home invasion murders@An Interested Party: .
    So sex with underage boys is not gay?
    So boys are not male? They are asexual until they choose a gender.
    So it is not same sex (homosexual) sex. Bill Nye says so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  19. Lit3Bolt says:

    Now if Rupert Murdoch could just die, maybe the Right in this country can wake up from their collective fugue state.

    Conservatism can be so much more than simply hating the right people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  20. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party: Men who rape little girls are never called “straight pedophiles.” Funny how that works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. An Interested Party says:

    Men who rape little girls are never called “straight pedophiles.”

    Indeed, that’s the point I was making…some people are so bigoted in their thinking that they can’t seem to tell the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:
    When American politics goes wrong people die. Thousands, even tens of thousands, potentially more. So yes, I do have my priorities straight: the greatest good for the greatest number, consistent with individual liberty. Only in Hollywood does one life outweigh hundreds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  23. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party: What I think I’ve figured out is that people who resort to this way of thinking see all human sexuality as an entirely binary division between “traditional” and hence acceptable sex on the one hand, and taboo or “perverted” sex on the other. If they hear about a man who rapes little girls, that’s one “perversion.” But if the man rapes little boys, it’s two: the “perversion” of raping youngsters and the “perversion” of sexual activity between two males. The notion that the gender of the people involved is irrelevant as to why it’s a crime never even crosses their mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0