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