I bought Friday’s newspapers and found that both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times had articles on the new movie/TV series by Showtime, “The Loudest Voice,” about Roger Ailes and the founding of Fox News. I was a Fox News contributor for 21 years and survived, or I should say thrived, as a liberal.
I met Roger many, many times. I cannot comment on the women who said that they were sexually abused by him. As a four-foot, ten-inch, nothing-to-look-at liberal, I did not experience any harassment. Roger Ailes was always professional with me; and although he knew we disagreed (he said he was a conservative), he was always very respectful of my views.
When the Republican Convention took place in New York in 2004, I asked Ailes if he was going to attend. He looked at me and said he did not want to be considered in anyone’s pocket. We disagreed on the role of government, but he considered himself not beholden to the Republican Party.
I don’t know who author Gabriel Sherman talked to, but the New York Times article reported that actor Russell Crowe (who played Ailes) said, “The one thing that I learned about Roger from talking to people that loved him – and lots of people loved him – is how charming he was, how personable he was, how loyal he was.”
Liberals and Conservatives alike loved Roger. He would stand up for you no matter what your chosen ideology was. The New York Times article said: “In the end, both seemed satisfied with the result. Based on the four episodes made available to journalists, the series allows Ailes some complexity: the working-class upbringing, the hemophilia, the physically abusive father, the loving son and wife (played by Sienna Miller). But it doesn’t avoid the bullying and paranoia, the racism and misogyny.”
Ailes came by his conservatism because of his background, and he began in my home town of Cleveland at what was known as WKYC Channel 3. He was the producer of the “Mike Douglas Show” and is known for telling then-candidate Richard Nixon what he needed to do to win. That made his (Ailes’) career. Roger Ailes was a conservative, and promoted his ideas via what was then the “new” medium, television.
I recently wrote an article for Foxnews.com about Elizabeth Warren refusing to debate on Fox News Channel. I said “I covered the White House during both Democratic and Republican Presidents (Clinton, Bush, Obama) and the Fox News people asked challenging and good questions, not questions that could be seen pandering to their ‘base.’”
I said, “My opinions were respected, very respected. It is a fine place to work and to be thought of. One producer worked for a known ‘liberal’ network. When the producer was asked to interview at Fox the producer counted the number of black people at both network newsrooms. Fox won out. There were more black people at Fox. Sure, many of the programs are anchored by people that are thought of as right wing, but as I listen to other channels they also have a point of view. There is nothing wrong with a point of view, but a television channel should be known by the people that work there; and the people that work at Fox News are diverse both in color, gender and opinion.”
Roger Ailes respected people who had different opinions than he did. Although I have not seen the program, some reporters have; and that is why there was a piece in both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal on Friday (and the Washington Post a few days before that). The Washington Post said: “David Folkenflik, a correspondent for NPR and author of the book ‘Murdoch’s World,’ about media titan Rupert Murdoch, the man who hired Ailes to run Fox News.” He said: “The network wants to set a new course for themselves. They want everyone to think of Roger Ailes as a demon they’ve exorcised. And it’s not true.”
All of television (and talk radio) has a point of view, and there is nothing wrong with that. America is made up of different points of view. I am good friends with some people who are moving from New York State because of the requirement that children get vaccines. So, we have a different point of view.
Roger Ailes had a different point of view than me. So what?
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