Roger Ailes, founder and CEO of Fox News, passed away Thursday morning at age 77.
“The secret to life,” Roger once said, “is to find something you love to do and find somebody that’ll pay you to do it.”
Roger’s passion was television. He landed his first TV job (with “The Mike Douglas Show”) in 1962, shortly after graduating from Ohio University. He was an executive producer by age 25.
Roger went on to become president of CNBC, where he more than quintupled the network’s profits and found stars like Maria Bartiromo and Chris Matthews.
Three years later, he was selected by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch to launch Fox News – a channel they saw as a necessary alternative to a media dominated by liberals. Roger launched the channel in 1996 and built it into the most-watched US cable news network.
“Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs,” said Murdoch. “A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America’s media over the last 30 years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera he discovered, nurtured, and promoted.”
Data from 2014 shows Fox News as the most profitable division of its parent company (21st Century Fox), earning $1.1 billion in profits that year.
“Long before Fox News, Ailes was a Republican operative who saw long before most what television could do for the party,” reports CNN.
Roger worked as executive TV producer for President Richard Nixon, worked on Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign, and was a key player in George HW Bush’s presidential campaign. He spoke regularly with Donald Trump during his presidential campaign and attended prep sessions before Trump’s debates with Hillary Clinton.
Roger’s career in entertainment, politics, and news spanned more than five decades and affected millions. He left Fox News last summer amid charges of sexual harassment, which he denied.
“Today, America lost one of its great patriotic warriors,” tweeted Sean Hannity on Thursday. “He has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape, single-handedly for the better.”
Editor’s note: It’s a shame Mr. Ailes died without being able to defend himself against the sexual harrassment allegations. His impact on America was profound, and in my opinion profoundly good.