Roger Ailes, media guru and political strategist, dies at 77

Danny Woods
May 19, 2017

Ailes, who founded Fox News in 1996, and continued as its CEO until he was sacked a year ago following allegations of sexual harassment at the network, was one of the most influential people shaping news - and politics - behind the scenes.

Under Ailes' leadership, Fox News elevated the conservative voice and railed against the "mainstream media", a strategy that made it the most-watched cable news channel in the country.

Ailes was a serial sexual predator who created a sexually predatory culture at Fox that is the cause of why the network is struggling today.

Ailes was arguably the most powerful man in American media when he suddenly lost his job last summer.

But Ailes vowed to stay on as an adviser after first getting Fox News onto America's airwaves in October 1996.

In a statement to Drudge Report, his wife Elizabeth Ailes said, "I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning".

Ailes had denied the claims.

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News of Ailes' death prompted widespread expressions of shock and grief from numerous political, entertainment and media figures.

Young people aren't watching Fox News, and they are fleeing the Republican Party in record numbers. He began advising Donald Trump at a private lunch days before he launched his presidential campaign in June 2015.

In a statement announcing Ailes' departure last year, Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, praised Ailes for his "remarkable contribution" to the company and said he "shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years".

Carlson alleged at least six conditions in which Ailes referred to her body, intimidated her or used demeaning language.

With a savvy mind for the power of television, Ailes released a 300-page memo on "A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News" while an aide for President Richard Nixon in 1970. With television you just sit - watch - listen. "And if you think it is, you'll lose again".

By the 1980s, Ailes was so influential in Republican politics that Ed Rollins, Ronald Reagan's former campaign manager, described him as "our Michelangelo". Ailes is also survived his son, Zachary.

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