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Paul Giorgio: Roger Ailes, A Bully with a Bully Pulpit

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


In the end the tiger that Roger Ailes created may swallow him whole, believes Paul Giorgio.

A new book was recently released titled The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman, which chronicles the rise of Roger Ailes and his network Fox News. Sherman interviewed over 600 people for his tome.

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.


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