The vicious attacks on Roger Ailes were over-the-top given none of us know what happened. Even if he did the things reported, the hatred was intense.
On this evening’s podcast, Bill O’Reilly said that Ailes died with a broken heart. “The hatred ultimately brought him down.”
So it’s a sad day for my staff and I because Roger Ailes, the founder of the Fox News Channel died today at age 77. He was in Florida. I knew he had been in poor health. I was in touch with his widow, Beth and it was a very, very sad situation as you remember last July. There were charges that he treated some women at Fox News in an unseemly way.
Anyway he treated some women poorly and he had to leave the company. So there are very few human beings on this planet who are visionaries. Roger was one of them. He died in a way that was heartbreaking. You know, his departure from Fox News broke his heart. And none of us really know what happened. We weren’t there.
There were accusations and he denied them and ultimately he walked away. And he was never the same. So I knew Roger Ailes for 25 years and 20 years plus he allowed me to create The O’Reilly Factor and it was Roger who drove the whole network to unprecedented success. I had a hand in it but he was the guy. And what impressed me… and I knew him very well. I mean, obviously I was, you know, the tent pole and he and I had a lot of discussions about not only news but also life, and he had a teenage son, has a teenaged son, who loved him very much, his wife loved him very much. And that meant more to him.
And it was it was very interesting to watch that because he was a tough, gruff guy. And over the years I saw him do privately, always privately, very kind things that few other TV executives or any executives would ever do.
He saved people routinely when they got into trouble and he didn’t do it, didn’t have to do it, there was no benefit for him, but he did it. And I mean, the list of names are legion. and if you were straight with him he had your back and he would help you. And I admired that greatly.
He was a tough guy, settled scores and that made him a big target. He Didn’t take any guff from the left or the right. He alienated a lot of people. He was very tough and a lot of people hated him. And that hatred ultimately brought him down.
I mean the difference between a Roger Ailes and a Bill Clinton…. Whereas Clinton was able to overcome what he brought upon himself in the White House, because of a largely sympathetic media. That’s a real interesting comparison between him and Roger Ailes.
So Roger’s legacy is going to live on through the Fox News Channel. There’s no doubt about it. It’s a good thing. He made a big difference in this country. If you know his background, he helped Ronald Reagan, he helped Bush the elder, President Bush the elder, Rush Limbaugh, on and on.
He made a difference. And no hater will ever be able to obscure that. But it’s a very, very sad day.