By Nicholas Stix
The charges [pdf] were made by longtime FNC star and 1989 Miss America, Gretchen Carlson, in her pending civil suit against Ailes. However, FNC’s current biggest female star, Megyn Kelly, has recently supported Carlson’s charges, saying that Ailes sexually harassed her, as well (though without getting into specifics), when she was starting out at the cable news giant about ten years ago.
Ailes’ high-powered, well-connected Democrat attorney and onetime babe, Susan Estrich responded to Kelly’s charge,
Roger Ailes has never sexually harassed Megyn Kelly. In fact, he has spent much of the last decade promoting and helping her to achieve the stardom she earned, for which she has repeatedly and publicly thanked him.
(In 1988, Estrich was campaign manager for Democrat presidential candidate, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.)
Using Rupert Murdoch’s capital, Roger Ailes founded the Fox News Channel out of nothing, in 1996. Back then, CNN, the Cable News Network (also known as the Communist News Network and the Clinton News Network, to its detractors) ruled the roost alone, but in a mere four years, FNC had surpassed it. Its leftwing detractors call it, “Faux News.”
Gross advertising revenue for 2016 at FNC is pegged at $1 billion, according to SNL Kagan, which forecasts that FNC will also bag some $1.5 billion in revenue from affiliate fees. Overall net operating revenue will be $2.5 billion in 2016.Ailes is scheduled to get a $40 million golden parachute and a one-year consulting gig, but that money is nothing, compared to the money he has made for Murdoch, and the money that will be lost with his departure. Compounding Murdoch’s loss, some of his biggest stars—Greta van Susteren, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly—have escape clauses in their contracts, allowing them to leave the network, if Ailes goes (idem).
The cable network’s programming unit, which includes FNC, contributed operating income — before depreciation and amortization — of $4.64 billion for the year ended June 2015. [“The End is Near for Roger Ailes,” by Claire Atkinson, New York Post, July 19, 2016, 8:28 p.m.]
While the sexual harassment lawsuit ruined Ailes’ place at Fox, because of the power of feminism in the media, he had actually had far greater ethical lapses. In 2008 and 2016, he was caught manipulating the Republican Presidential races, for which he was roundly criticized. In 2008, while claiming that berths in the Republican debates were based on candidates’ popularity, Ailes cut libertarian Texas Cong. Ron Paul out of debates FNC hosted, in favor of less popular candidates, and in 2016, he was caught trying to fix the primary race for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, though Ailes later stopped doing that.
Three suits have been mentioned as possible replacements, but there is no replacing Roger Ailes.
With Ailes leaving, and 85-year-old Fox Network founder Rupert Murdoch nearing the end of the line, the media empire’s future is in doubt.
Although Murdoch currently runs his empire with sons Lachlan and James, he is as irreplaceable as Ailes is.