Paul Giorgio: Roger Ailes, A Bully with a Bully Pulpit
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Why is a biography of Ailes important? Because, I believe, that he is the William Randolph Hearst of our generation. Hearst personally brought us the Spanish American War. He is reported to have said, “Give me an incident and I will give you a war.” That statement came true when the USS Maine blew up in Havana Harbor. The Hearst Newspapers gave us the battle cry-“Remember the Maine”.
While no one has accused Ailes and Fox of starting a war, they did weigh in heavily on Iraq.
Sherman’s conclusion is that Fox is a “political operation that hires reporters.” In addition he has referred to it as a “Political Machine.”
From prop boy to media titan
Ailes is an interesting character. He rose from a $68 a week prop boy to the producer of the Mike Douglas Show. It was there that he bumped into Richard Nixon, who hired him away to be his media advisor.
Ailes has been involved in Republican politics on a national level from that point on. That is until Rupert Murdoch hired him to build the Fox brand. Today, Fox is the most watched network and under Ailes they generate a billion dollars a year in profits for Murdoch’s Media Empire. How important is Ailes to Murdoch. It is reported that Murdoch sided with Ailes against his own son Lachlan, who was forced to move to Australia.
Ailes through sheer force of personality and bulling has been able to get the Fox News reporters to carry out his agenda. Jeff Zucker, the President of competitor CNN, once said of Ailes, “that he is more extreme than Glenn Beck”. Now that is saying something.
Advancing a personal agenda
According to observers, Ailes greatest legacy may be that news is no longer used to inform, but it is now used to advance ones agenda.
Where would the TEA Party and the Wacky Right be without Roger Ailes, who has given them a voice and some heroes to worship along the way? Fox created the Sarah Palin brand after the 2008 Presidential election. You Betcha she knows she owes Ailes for her $1 million a year deal.
When I was growing up politics was different from the news. We had respected journalists such as Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley. But that was not always the case in American. That is why we have newspapers with the word Republican or Democrat in their titles. Ailes has brought us back to partisan journalism. Now, news and politics are fused as one.
Ailes formula is simple for attracting his particular viewership. First, as sexist as it sounds, he puts plenty of blond women on the air. He also creates these false or manufactured stories, which attract the middle age white male, who has become disaffected by politics and blames the poor for his poor plight. Examples of this are, The War on Christmas, the Ground Zero Mosque and their relentless attacks on President Obama. But Obama isn’t the first Democratic President Fox went after. Fox came into prominence during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Much like CNN with the Iran Hostage Crises, the Lewinsky scandal saw Fox’s rating shoot through the roof.
John F. Kennedy in a speech once said that “The man who rides the back of the Tiger must be careful not to end up inside”.
That is what could happen to the GOP and the TEA Party. Ailes and Fox may ultimately hurt them His embrace of the Sarah Palin’s Rick Santorum’s and Herbert Cain’s of America will ultimately hurt in the end, because they may be even to extreme for some Fox viewers. But Ailes has also created a backlash to Fox. The MSNBC network is thriving on being counter to Fox. Also where Fox dominates with white men, all the other groups in the American melting pot are being pushed together by Ailes and his crew. Blacks and gays, Immigrants and the unemployed, the young and the really disenfranchised will never watch Fox.
In the end the tiger that Ailes created may swallow him whole.
Paul Giorgio is a longtime Democratic Party Activist who has worked on numerous campaigns. He was a Lead Advance Person for President Clinton & Vice President Gore. He was Deputy Director of Special Events for President Clinton’s first Inauguration. He has been elected a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions and recently served as one of President Obama’s representatives on the Platform Committee. In 2013 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector. He is the President of Pagio, Inc., publishers of Pulse Magazine, Vitality Magazine and Worcester Medicine.
Related Slideshow: Infamous Talk Radio Controversies
Arbitron Ratings Scandal
In 2008, radio host John DePetro found himself in the midst of a ratings controversy. The Boston Herald reported,
The briefly stellar ratings of controversy-dogged-talkmeister John DePetro’s Providence radio show tanked yesterday after a whiff of scandal forced Arbitron to reissue its spring survey of listener-dial habits.
Sexual Harassment Claim
In 2012, DePetro was sued by a WPRO colleague for sexual harassment.
Producer Dee DeQuatro said DePetro invited her to lunch before driving to a house and making sexual advances.
DePetro denied the allegations.
Buddy's Return - to Radio
After five years in prison for racketeering conspiracy from 2002 to 2007, former Mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci returned to the public eye with a radio show on WPRO.
While controversial, Cianci's continued popularity has people wondering if Buddy might just make another run for Mayor in 2014.
Chafee's Talk Radio Ban
Upon taking office in 2011, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that he would not appear on talk radio shows and barred state employees in agencies and departments that report to him from doing the same during work hours.
Dennis and Callahan
WEEI sports radio hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan were suspended in 2003 when they referred to an escaped gorilla as a "Metco gorilla" waiting for a bus to Lexington -- with Metco being bus program that buses inner-city students to suburban schools.
Boston's WCVB reported that advertisers Dunkin' Donuts and Blue Cross pulled back station support in light of the incident.
WTKK's Jay Severin was fired for making comments about sleeping with female employees over the years.
Radio Ink reported on Greater Media's reaction to the incident.
"Greater Media today ended its relationship with Jay Severin. Our company has always encouraged a free and open dialogue on a variety of issues and topics, and we will continue to be guided by that principle. But we also demand that our on-air talent maintain an appropriate level of civility, and adhere to a standard that respects our listeners and the public at large.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is no stranger to controversy; his latest remarks prompted the Democratic National Committee to call on Republican leaders to boycott the Daily Caller, which defended Limbaugh's remarks in an article entitled, "Liberals want to stop men from checking out women."
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