When it comes to downward spirals in the media, few in history have taken falls as big and brash as the one that faced Roger Ailes, the man responsible for turning Fox News into a cable media powerhouse. Ailes will never get to rise out from beneath the shadow of his controversial ousting from the company, as the media juggernaut passed away this morning. He was 77 years old.
The rather shocking news of Roger Ailes' death came from his wife, Elizabeth Ailes. No cause of death was given at the time, though it seems to be related to health issues, rather than anything involving foul play. Below is the statement Elizabeth provided to The Drudge Report.
I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many. He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise---and to give back. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life..."
Born on May 15, 1940, Roger Ailes didn't have the most stable of childhoods, but it didn't hinder his path to working in television. Upon graduating from Ohio University with a bachelor's in television and radio, Ailes got into TV production in Cleveland and Philadelphia in the 1960s, and an interview with a pre-President Richard Nixon introduced him to the world of politics, where he has served as a media consultant for several Republican Presidents and others. In the early 1990s, he was named President of CNBC, which is the position he left to make his biggest impact on society with the founding of Fox News.
In 1996, Fox News was founded and it didn't take too long for it to become the prime destination for conservative conservative commentary and outlooks, and the network made stars out of on-air personalities like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. 20 years later, though, all that success came to a grinding halt when the never-underspoken Roger Ailes was accused of sexual harassment, at first by popular anchor Gretchen Carlson, and then by a host of other women who'd worked under Ailes over the years. The severity of the scandal was such that Ailes was fired from his position as CEO. (The buck didn't stop there, either, as more and more women came forward, bringing the now-fired O'Reilly and others into the harassment allegations.) The scandals, as well as the years of hard-nosed business that came before it, are planned to get covered in a TV miniseries.
We at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Roger Ailes in their time of mourning.