Roger Ailes

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Roger Ailes
Roger Ailes, June 2013.jpg
BornRoger Eugene Ailes
(1940-05-15) May 15, 1940 (age 74)
Warren, Ohio
Alma materOhio University, Athens, Ohio.
OccupationPresident of Fox News Channel
Chairman Fox Television Stations Group
Spouse(s)

Norma Ferrer (1980 - 1995 / divorced)

Elizabeth Tilson (1998 - )
ChildrenZachary Ailes
 
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Roger Ailes
Roger Ailes, June 2013.jpg
BornRoger Eugene Ailes
(1940-05-15) May 15, 1940 (age 74)
Warren, Ohio
Alma materOhio University, Athens, Ohio.
OccupationPresident of Fox News Channel
Chairman Fox Television Stations Group
Spouse(s)

Norma Ferrer (1980 - 1995 / divorced)

Elizabeth Tilson (1998 - )
ChildrenZachary Ailes

Roger Eugene Ailes (born May 15, 1940) is president of Fox News Channel, and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group. Ailes was a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush and for Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign (1989).

Early life[edit]

Ailes was born and grew up in the factory town of Warren, Ohio, the son of Donna Marie (née Cunningham) and Robert Eugene Ailes, a factory maintenance foreman.[1] Ailes suffers from hemophilia and was often hospitalized as a youth. He attended the Warren city schools, and later was inducted into Warren High School's Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.[2] His father was abusive, and his parents divorced in 1960.[3] In 1962, Ailes received a bachelor's degree from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.[4]

Career[edit]

Early television[edit]

Ailes' career in television began in Cleveland and Philadelphia, where he started as Property Assistant (1962), Producer (1965), and Executive Producer (1967–68) for KYW-TV,[5] for a then-locally produced talk-variety show, The Mike Douglas Show. He later became Executive Producer for the show, which was syndicated nationally. In 1968, he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for it.[6]

In 1967, Ailes had a spirited discussion about television in politics with one of the show's guests, Richard Nixon, who took the view that television was a gimmick.[7] Later, Nixon called on Ailes to serve as his Executive Producer for television. Nixon's election victory was Ailes's first venture into the political spotlight. His pioneering work in framing national campaign issues and making the stiff Nixon more likeable and accessible to voters[8] was later chronicled in The Selling of the President 1968 by Joe McGinniss.[9]

Other ventures[edit]

In 1969, Ailes founded Ailes Communications, Inc., in New York and consulted for various businesses and politicians, including WCBS-TV. He also tried his hand in theater production with the Broadway musical Mother Earth (1972) and the Off-Broadway hit play The Hot l Baltimore (1973–76). He was executive producer for the television special The Last Frontier (1974); and he produced and directed a television special, Fellini: Wizards, Clowns and Honest Liars.

Political consulting[edit]

Ailes served as a political consultant for many Republican candidates during the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. His first such job was as media advisor for the Nixon campaign in 1968. He returned to presidential campaigning as a consultant to Ronald Reagan in the latter stages of the 1984 campaign. He is widely credited with having helped coach Reagan to victory in the second presidential debate with Walter Mondale, after aides Richard Darman and David Stockman bungled preparations for the disastrous first debate.

In 1987 and 1988, Ailes was credited (along with Lee Atwater) with guiding George H. W. Bush to victory in the Republican primaries and the later come-from-behind[10] victory over Michael Dukakis. Ailes scripted and (with Sig Rogich) produced the "Revolving Door" ad, as well as all of Bush's broadcast spots in the primary and general-election campaigns.

Ailes is credited with the "Orchestra Pit Theory" regarding sensationalist political coverage in the news media, which originated with his quip:

If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, 'I have a solution to the Middle East problem,' and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?[11]

Ailes's last campaign was the unsuccessful effort of Richard Thornburgh for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania in November 1991. He announced his withdrawal from political consulting in 1992. Though he aided with behind-the-scenes speechwriting and coaching for both President and Mrs. Bush at the GOP Convention in Houston, Ailes did not work on the unsuccessful 1992 Bush campaign against Bill Clinton.

Ailes's TV ads for the 1988 Bush campaign were extensively examined in the award-winning documentary film Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.

Days after the 9/11 attacks, Ailes gave President George W. Bush political advice indicating that the American public would be patient as long as they were convinced that Bush was using the harshest measures possible.[12] The correspondence was revealed in Bob Woodward's book Bush At War. Ailes lashed out against Woodward, saying "Woodward got it all screwed up, as usual," and "The reason he's not as rich as Tom Clancy is that while he and Clancy both make stuff up, Clancy does his research first."[13] Ailes refused to release a copy of the memo he sent to Bush.[14]

Later television[edit]

In 1984, Ailes helped produce a television special, Television and the Presidency.[15] This documentary was later expanded into a multi-part series on Fox News Channel, first aired in 2000.

In 1988, Ailes wrote a book with long-time aide Jon Kraushar, called You Are the Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators,[16] in which he discusses some of his philosophies and strategies for successful performance in the public eye.

In 1991, Ailes convinced a syndicator to bring Rush Limbaugh from radio to television and became executive producer of the late-night show.[17] The show debuted in 1992 and was eventually discontinued in 1996. The pilot and series were produced with Richard Mincer, Maria Bianco (Dorfner), Kathleen Gleason and Nick Africano out of Unitel Studios on W. 57th Street in New York City.

In 1993, Ailes became president of the cable channel CNBC and began planning another NBC cable channel, America's Talking. The new channel debuted on July 4, 1994. Ailes also hosted his own nightly show, Straight Forward, an hour-long talk show.[18]

Fox News[edit]

After the announcement of Microsoft and NBC's partnership to create an online and cable news outlet, MSNBC, taking the place of America's Talking, Ailes left the network in February 1996 and was hired by Rupert Murdoch to create Fox News Channel for News Corporation. In addition, eighty-nine additional employees of the NBC networks left with Ailes to help with the new channel's creation for launch, on October 7, 1996.

Chairman of Fox Television Stations[edit]

After the departure of Lachlan Murdoch from News Corporation, Ailes was named Chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group on August 15, 2005. Following his newest assignment, one of his first acts was canceling A Current Affair in September 2005 and replacing it with a new Geraldo Rivera show titled Geraldo at Large, which debuted on Halloween, 2005. Rivera's show drew about the same ratings as A Current Affair[19] in January 2007. Ailes decided to cancel Geraldo at Large to move Rivera back on Fox News Channel.

Ailes also hired former CBS executive Dennis Swanson in October 2005 to be president of the Fox Television Stations Group. Additionally, there have been changes in affiliates' news programs with the standardization of Fox News Channel-like graphics, redesigned studios, news-format changes, and the announcement of a new morning television show called The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet to be produced by Fox News Channel.[citation needed]

He signed a new deal in October 2012 that keeps him at the network for another four years through until 2016, at which time he will have served as head of Fox News Channel for twenty years. Salary terms were not revealed although his earnings for the 2012 fiscal year were a reported $21 million inclusive of bonuses. In addition to heading Fox News and chairing Fox Television Stations, Ailes also chairs Twentieth Television, MyNetwork TV and Fox Business Network.[20]

Criticism[edit]

Semitic insensitivity allegations[edit]

In January 2011, an open letter printed in the Wall Street Journal on the UN-designated Holocaust Remembrance Day from 400 rabbis, including the leaders of all main branches of Judaism in the US, called on Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, to sanction Fox News commentator Glenn Beck for his use of the Holocaust to "discredit any individual or organization you disagree with."[21] An executive at Fox News rejected the letter, calling it the work of a "George Soros-backed leftwing political organization."[21] Ailes is also said to have once referred to Jewish critics of his as "left-wing rabbis."[22] Also in 2011, Ailes was criticized for referring to executives of the public radio network NPR as "Nazis" for sacking a news analyst, Juan Williams, after Williams had made remarks considered by NPR to be offensive. Ailes apologized to a Jewish group for using the expression, although not to NPR, writing to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL): "“I was of course ad-libbing and should not have chosen that word, but I was angry at the time because of NPR’s willingness to censor Juan Williams for not being liberal enough... My now considered opinion 'nasty, inflexible bigot' would have worked better.”.[23] The ADL accepted the apology through their National Director, Abraham Foxman, who said in a press release[24] "I welcome Roger Ailes apology, which is as sincere as it is heartfelt. Nazi comparisons of this nature are clearly inappropriate and offensive. While I wish Roger had never invoked that terminology, I appreciate his efforts to immediately reach out and to retract his words before they did any further harm." In a subsequent letter to the Wall Street Journal, Foxman credited both Ailes, and Beck, as "pro-Israel stalwarts."[25]

Personal life[edit]

Ailes left his first wife, who was his college sweetheart. Ailes met his second wife, Norma Ferrer, in 1976 while working on a campaign in Miami, Florida. She moved to New York City and they were married in 1980. Norma, who had been a television producer with Mission Media Ministries, became his right hand at Ailes Communications, working on most of the political campaigns that the company handled in the 1980s. Sharing residences in both NYC and Croton-on-Hudson, NY,[26] the two raised one child together, a daughter from Norma Ailes' earlier relationship, Shawn C. Ailes Visco (born July 1968), now a television producer. The two divorced in 1995.[27]

In July 1997, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Ailes was engaged to Elizabeth Tilson (born December 1960), whom he married on February 14, 1998. Formerly a television executive, she is now a homemaker and titular publisher of The Putnam County News and Recorder.[28] They have one son named Zachary Ailes. They currently live in Garrison, New York on a hilltop parcel in a 9,000-square-foot mansion constructed of Adirondack river stone across the river from West Point military academy.[29]

Ailes is a longtime friend of journalist and media personality Barbara Walters.[30]

Ohio University[edit]

In October 2007, Ailes gave a sizeable donation to Ohio University for a renovated student newsroom.[31] The new facility will double the size of the university's existing newsroom - last upgraded in the 1960s - and allow more students to participate in the school's WOUB radio station and television programs.

Ailes majored in radio and television while at Ohio University and served two years as manager of the school's radio station.[32] Since 1994 he has funded scholarships for Ohio University students in the school's telecommunications programs.[33]

Ailes said, "Ohio University ignited my interest in broadcasting, which became my lifetime career. The education I received there gave me the opportunity to take on my first managerial responsibilities and provided early lessons in leadership. I'm happy to contribute to a great university."[31]

Biography[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Current biography yearbook. H.W. Wilson. 1989. p. 14. 
  2. ^ "Warren High Schools' Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame". Warren City Schools. Archived from the original on 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  3. ^ Sherman, Gabriel (2014). The Loudest Voice In The Room: How The Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — And Divided A Country.. Random House. p. 560. ISBN 978-0812992854. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  4. ^ "Roger Ailes's BA". museum of Broadcast communications. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  5. ^ "Roger Ailes's First Job". museum of Broadcast communications. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  6. ^ Roger Ailes - Awards, Nominated: Outstanding Achievement in Daytime Programming - Programs for: "The Mike Douglas Show"
  7. ^ McGinniss, Joe - The Selling of the President 1968, Trident Press/Simon & Schuster, New York - Oct. 6, 1969. ISBN 0-671-27043-5
  8. ^ McGinniss - The Selling of the President 1968.
  9. ^ Simon & Schuster - Oct. 6, 1969. ISBN 0-671-27043-5
  10. ^ "New Polls Show Bush Shaves Dukakis Lead". The New York Times. 1988-06-30. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  11. ^ Bogus, Carl T. (1997-03-17). "The Death of an Honorable Profession". Indiana University Law School. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  12. ^ Grove, Lloyd. Roger Ailes-Bob Woodward Smackdown? The Washington Post. 19 November 2002.
  13. ^ Fox chief too cozy with White House? CNN. 19 November 2002.
  14. ^ Colford, Paul D. DIDN'T HELP W, AILES SEZ Fox News boss disputes book. Daily News. 19 November 2002.
  15. ^ Television and the Presidency at the Internet Movie Database
  16. ^ You Are the Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators, ISBN 978-0-87094-976-0
  17. ^ The Rush Limbaugh Show at the Internet Movie Database
  18. ^ Straight Forward With Roger Ailes, hollywood.com
  19. ^ Angwin, Julia (October 3, 2006). "After Riding High With Fox News, Murdoch Aide Has Harder Slog". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  20. ^ "Roger Ailes Signs Deal To Stay At Fox News Through 2016". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-09-12. 
  21. ^ a b Pilkington, Ed (27 January 2011). "Rabbis warn Rupert Murdoch: Fox News and Glenn Beck 'using' Holocaust". The Guardian (London). 
  22. ^ Pinkas, Alon (2011-01-27). "US rabbis pen letter criticizing Beck's Holocaust usage". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  23. ^ http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/11/17/fox-news-chief-roger-ailes-blasts-national-public-radio-brass-as-nazis.html
  24. ^ http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/holocaust-nazis/adl-accepts-apology-from-fox.html
  25. ^ The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703956604576110392474830956 |url= missing title (help). 
  26. ^ "Mission Media: Delaware Valley - Strategy Team". 877ourhope.org. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  27. ^ "Mandy.com". Mandy.com. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  28. ^ "Pcnr.com". Pcnr.com. 2011-02-02. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  29. ^ http://nymag.com/news/features/roger-ailes-loudest-voice-in-the-room/
  30. ^ Fehrman, Craig (2011-01-21) When Roger Ailes was honest about what he does, Salon.com
  31. ^ a b "Ohio University Outlook". Ohio.edu. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  32. ^ Alumnus Roger Ailes helps fund newsroom, Ohio University Outlook, 2007-10-31
  33. ^ Updated 110 minutes ago 4/6/2011 10:35:22 PM +00:00 (2007-11-01). "Ailes chips in for alma mater's new newsroom - Giving - MSNBC.com". MSNBC. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 

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