Roger Ailes, inventor of the world

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Two bits about Roger Ailes — “Mike Douglas Show” producer, political consultant, Rush Limbaugh impresario, CNBC president, Fox News founder, now wilderness resident:

“Richard Nixon had been a guest on the show in the fall of 1967. While waiting to go on, he fell into conversation with Roger Ailes.

” ‘It’s a shame a man has to use gimmicks like this to get elected,’ Nixon said.

” ‘Television is not a gimmick,’ Ailes said.

“Richard Nixon liked that kind of thinking. He told Len Garment to hire the man.”

— Joe McGinniss, “The Selling of the President 1968”

. . .

“Before the arrival of Roger Ailes, television was thought to be a unifying medium — the ‘electronic hearth.’ Mr. Ailes knew better. Mr. Ailes knew that it was the fire itself. Mr. Ailes knew that the television screen in each American home was nothing less than a battleground, and he who controlled it controlled America, no matter what the message. He didn’t even have to be overtly political, because television was by definition a political medium. Roger Ailes could win … if the idea of a unified America lost. He could win … if his own subversive vision of America was realized. He could win … if American life became an endless, entrenched, and above all electronic argument. And you know what?

“He did win.”

— Tom Junod, “Why Does Roger Ailes Hate America?”


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