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The Milton Measure

Roger Ailes: “He Was the Worst of Us”

by Ned Sheehan on Friday, June 9th, 2017

Generally, when a public figure dies, even one with whom we ideologically disagree, we try to say at least something nice about them. I loathed Justice Antonin Scalia’s politics and think he left a negative impact on this country, but, by all accounts, he was cultured, witty, and generally a pleasure to be around (just ask liberal icon and good friend of Scalia’s Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg). However, last week, we lost a man so loathsome, with such a completely toxic impact, that I can say nothing good about him. I speak, of course, of Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News.

The biography of Roger Ailes is a sordid one. He began his career as a local TV producer but talked his way into becoming Nixon’s main TV strategist, becoming one of dozens of the dishonest young creeps and lunatics that the Nixon administration turned loose on the world (another shining star includes Pat Buchanan). He then bounced around the GOP for 20-odd years, helping run the dishonest, race-baiting campaign that helped George H. W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis. Finally, he created his most diabolical creation, Fox News.

Now, there is nothing unique about right-wing propaganda. Just about every country with a free press has some sort of conservative paper, and that is fine. However, Fox News is a uniquely vile invention. Firstly, it deals in paranoia in a way that no other outlet does. Say what you will about the Daily Mail, but they would never stoop to pretending ACORN, a liberal, primarily black advocacy group, was some shadowy organization involved in voter fraud and Marxism-Leninism.

Like any con man, Ailes (and Fox News) targeted the elderly, bragging that he had created a network for people aged “55 to dead.” He brought many old people to a state of miserable paranoia. A ton of people who should have been enjoying their later years instead spent them terrified of Obama taking their guns or the New Black Panther Party (a tiny fringe group with only a few dozen members and zero political cachet whatsoever) starting a race war against them. Many more found themselves wiped out by the shameless gold bullion and nutritional supplement scams that ran during the advertising. Many people ended up fearing family reunions because they expected an elderly relative to start spewing conservative bile, and some even ended up estranged from segments of their family.

Ailes was a consummate opportunist, drawing in old people getting soft between the ears and terrifying them with insane rhetoric. During the Bush administration, those at Fox News worked to attack anyone who opposed Iraq. During the Obama administration, they pumped up the Tea Party. Of course, beyond the dreadful garbage he pushed out during his career, it seems that Roger Ailes was also an unpleasant human being. It has been revealed in recent years that he sexually harassed dozens of female employees; in fact, he had to step down from his job due to these revelations. In short, Roger Ailes had an entirely negative effect on the politics of the United States and seemed to have been equally awful in his personal and managerial life. I certainly will not miss him.

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Posted by Ned Sheehan on Jun 9 2017. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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