What follows here is my analysis of the life and times of Roger Ailes and his Fox News. Most of what has been publicly reported about Roger Ailes is nonsense.
Roger Ailes is dead and so is his Fox News. Palm Beach authorities say the cause of death is a fall down the stairs.
But the Murdoch sons really killed Roger Ailes and his Fox News when it unceremoniously dumped him from the empire he had built for them with the wishes and hopes of a rising Middle America.
Those who plot coups often act when the sovereign is out of town and so it was when Lachlan and James Murdoch acted when their octogenarian father was on a yacht with his third wife.
Having weathered the News of the World fiasco in 2011 and still wanting to claim the profit center that is Sky the Murdochs acted hastily and removed the hemophiliac Roger Ailes from his perch as one of the most powerful men in America.
I’m told by Fox sources that the Murdoch heirs have traded the conservative nature of Fox News for access to the immensely profitable Sky. There’s no competition for the conservative audience in America, they reason, so why not move more to the center?
This drive to the center has led to several high level discussions about a Fox News rival among nationalist and right of center billionaires. Could something really replace a “Fair and Balanced” network that’s losing its competitive edge? And why is Fox moving so far from the right anyway?
In steps Gretchen Carlson who wants to renegotiate her contract.
Ageing Fox News hostess Gretchen Carlson implausibly claims Ailes said some mean things to her and that she was recording their conversations the whole time. I found this hard to believe. Why haven’t we heard the tapes? More likely the Murdochs paid off Carlson lest her implausible claims stop them from acquiring Skye. When you’re a billionaire and have billions in shareholder value $20 million isn’t that much money. Nor is it that much money to pay out if you’re going to get rid of Roger Ailes, a man who always loathed the entitled Murdoch sons and was in turn loathed by them.
Alas, Ailes’s misfortunes (and the trial lawyers circling) emboldened all the other thots at Fox News to stab Ailes when he was down. I simply don’t believe Andrea Tantaros’s tails of woe.
With Ailes no longer able to protect O’Reilly O’Reilly was quick to be shown the door. The left wing media enemy had found the few alpha males left cornered and slaughtered them. I think it’s only a matter of time before Sean Hannity moves on too. He ought to.
It’s hard to know what to believe in the media given how many anonymous sources are circling. We all know that New York Magazine’s Gabe Sherman will publish pretty much anything about Ailes. When Ailes was alive he was looking very seriously at suing Sherman for libel. Sherman did damage to Ailes’s reputation and Ailes was too slow to respond. Perhaps he figured it didn’t matter and he had already won.
When rogues become market leaders they tend to get lazy and that’s what’s happening with the empire that Ailes built. They’re taking their audience for granted. It’s hard to think Ailes would have made any of these mistakes.
I have known him since 2011 when I won an award from Fox News and Wall Street Journal. Once upon a time I turned down a job offer from FoxNews.com. I told Roger that I accepted a fellowship with the Journal rather than Fox. “You’re making a mistake,” he said.
He was right, of course. I wanted to work for Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, a man who I have since learned is a plagiarist and a careerist and a #NeverTrumper but I should have worked for Roger Ailes. In a way all of us in conservative media already do.