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.

FILED UNDER: Media, Obituaries, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    Well I feel bad for his wife.




    0



    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.




    0



    0
  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.




    0



    0
  4. Paul L. says:

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




    0



    0
  5. James Pearce says:

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




    0



    0
  6. Mark Ivey says:

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




    0



    0
  7. Cory says:

    Women are slightly safer from harassment today.




    0



    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.”




    0



    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.




    0



    0
  10. Franklin says:

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




    0



    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.




    0



    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.




    0



    0
  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.”




    0



    0
  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?




    0



    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…




    0



    0
  16. gVOR08 says:

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




    0



    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.




    0



    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.




    0



    0
  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.




    0



    0
  20. Kylopod says:

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




    0



    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…




    0



    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.




    0



    0
  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.




    0



    0