Media guru who founded Fox News is dead, aged 77

Death of Ailes reveals Fox News at a crossroads

FOLKENFLIK: Well, he - a towering and twisty figure, influential very much in the spheres of politics and media and very much in their intersection and collision at Fox News. The increasingly tribal nature of discussion in America, where common ground is nearly impossible to discern, in everything from health care to the weather, where voices with counter-arguments are nearly never allowed to interrupt the chorus of affirmation for the shared views of each tribe, owes significant debt to the emergence of Fox News.

But if Fox was reluctant to embrace Trump during the antagonistic Republican presidential primary, the channel jumped on board after he clinched the nomination. Ailes's vast footprint on our culture obsessed me. "What I do see changing is that some of the smaller online outlets, maybe they'll have more influence". Would the media have made him the subject of so many stories? "His quest for power consumed him". Yet there's a startling repetition to his message - on both Tuesday and Wednesday's shows, Hannity ran the same old clip of Ann Coulter being laughed at by an audience when she predicted early in the Republican nomination process that Trump would win.

"When a blackmailer entered my life and the lives of my family, he held my hand and saw me to the other side", Smith said.

Mr O'Reilly was sacked from his top-rated show at Fox in April after reports surfaced that the network had settled lawsuits with five women who alleged he sexually harassed them.

His dismissal was a headspinning 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. In a nation where the national press is generally sympathetic to the left, Fox gives voice to a more traditional point of view that other TV news operations historically ignored.

Ailes spent much of the winter in Florida, McLean said. "This man I so admired despite our differences". He implored friends and Fox News employees not to speak with me, hired private investigators to track my movements, and set up a "Black Room" surveillance operation inside Fox News to dig up dirt on me. The latter was nearly certainly never true; as part of Ailes's $US40 million ($54 million) severance package, he was bound by a non-compete clause.

Ailes and I developed a unusual and intense connection. Ailes fired executives he thought were my sources. He accepted that the news was whatever people wanted to watch, even if his audience craved conspiracy theories and thinly sourced rumors. While on book leave, I was a fellow at the nonpartisan foundation New America, which received a minuscule amount of funding from a Soros charity. In addition, Ailes owns four other properties in Cresskill, New Jersey and Garrison, New York. The allegations of sexual predation did not surprise me. Hell, yes. Do I care?

Unfortunately, the twenty years Mr. Ailes spend in charge came to an end last years after speculations provoked over Fox news anchor being subjected to sexual harassment.

He is survived by his third wife, Elizabeth, who had worked for him at CNBC as vice president of programming, and their son, Zachary. When it comes to the lawsuits targeting Ailes personally, however, his estate will take his place.

Ailes was, per more than a dozen women who've come forward, a serial sexual harasser and enabler of it in his company. Yes, he was polarizing and controversial, but liberals courted him. "Viewers don't want to be informed", opines Chet Collier, one of the founders of Fox News, as quoted in Gabriel Sherman's new biography of Ailes.

Ailes denied everything, but within three weeks of Carlson's suit, Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch had tossed Ailes aside.

By mid-2016 Ailes still ruled supreme as he prepared to celebrate Fox News' 20th anniversary.

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