Roger Ailes is gone from Fox News, and not a moment too soon. If you ever needed a reminder that good does overcome evil, this is it.
While delegates at the Democratic National convention in Philly shouted out “four more years!” when President Obama took to the stage Wednesday night, people are happy to see Ailes go. The media titan is a former Republican aide who later founded and lead Fox News. Ailes — who spent the last 8 years trying his best to orchestrate the political demise of America’s first black president — has gotten the boot while Obama gracefully completes his two terms in office with a positive approval rating.
The 76-year-old’s career is likely over after former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson made charges that he sexually harassed and retaliated against her, and numerous other women at the network began speaking up as well. Ailes reportedly created a toxic culture for women at Fox News, with sexism and misogyny, and using the sex appeal of female on-air personalities to boost ratings. Now there are new claims that he routinely used racial slurs and epithets around the office.
Donald Trump, who is not exactly known for his sensitivity to women, lauded Ailes, and who would expect any less. “Some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he’s helped them,” he said. “Now all of a sudden, they are saying these horrible things about him; it’s very sad because he’s a very good person.” As dozens more women have stepped forward to give their accounts of Ailes’ sexual misconduct stretching back for decades, Trump says he is thinking about hiring Ailes, whom he regards as a “very capable guy and he’s a friend of mine.”
It remains to be seen what impact Ailes’ departure will have, if any, on the tone and tenor of things at the network, in which a Republican operative took the hate of conservative hate radio and brought it to cable television. The sexism on that channel cannot be denied, as the racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia emanating from Fox News are palpable. Just this week, Bill O’Reilly tried to debunk Michelle Obama’s claim that slaves built the White House by saying they were “well-fed.”
As tasteless, classless and toxic as Fox has been over the years, it has been a powerful media arm of the Republican Party and the conservative movement, a mouthpiece for the racist Tea Party and birther movements. Media creates our reality, whether for good or for bad. That’s why, as they always say they, when there is a revolution, they seize the TV and radio stations first. And this cable station has served as the crucible for many a disagreeable idea turned into law. Fox News is putrid and offensive, and it is fitting that, as President Obama enjoys high levels of popularity, the GOP has foisted Trump on its own back, as Roger Ailes is shown the door at Fox News.
Meanwhile, just as the Republicans created Trump, so, too did Roger Ailes. Ailes brought to Fox News his skills in channeling white working class fear and hatred of black folks under Nixon. Ailes crafted the 1968 “law and order” campaign that propelled Nixon into office and led to the war on drugs, which was a political war against Nixon’s enemies, “the antiwar left and black people.” Similarly, Fox News has engaged in the criminalization and demonization of black people, empowered hate groups and entertained conspiracy theories questioning the president’s citizenship.
And when you give “clueless” Stacy Dash and crazy Sheriff David Clarke an audience of millions — as if they are legitimate experts at anything other than displaying self-hatred and wearing handkerchiefs — need we say more?
Roger Ailes is living proof that God don’t like ugly. It took a minute to happen, but we’ll take it.