NBC Smears Roger Ailes as Someone Who Diminished American Politics

Many conservatives were in mourning Thursday after news broke of the death of Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes. In a statement, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell stated that “the Left would command a monopoly control of the so-called "news" media but for the Fox News Channel, and FNC would not exist but for him.” But for NBC, it was a time to tear down what he did for conservative media and politics in general.

“The coroner says Ailes died from complications related to a head injury that he suffered after a fall in his home in Florida,” announced Anchor Lester Holt during NBC Nightly News. “His death at 77 comes less than a year after he was ousted from the empire he built following a sexual harassment scandal.”

The segment on Ailes’ death was put together by Ann Thompson, who wasted little time before ripping into him. “A polarizing figure to the end, Roger Ailes combined his two passions, politics and television to build Fox News. Allegedly abusing his power for his own pleasure,” she chided.

She seemed to paint him as a political villain while noting his first attraction to politics. “Until a meeting with guest Richard Nixon led him to a career in Republican politics. Ailes was said to have two speeds, attack and destroy,” quipped Thompson, completely ignoring a more caring side that others had come to know.

“He would make his indelible mark creating Fox News, a platform for conservative voices,” she noted and ignoring the liberals on Fox News. She then asked Ailes-hater, Gabe Sherman, what his legacy was. “I think it's really transforming American politics into a contact sport where there’s no rules and anything goes,” Sherman lamented. Earlier in the day, Sherman attacked Ailes, saying he was a “terrorizing figure” who was “consumed” by the power he coveted.

Sherman doesn’t seem to be a student of history because American politics has been a rough and tumble endeavor almost since its creation. There have instances of fistfights and canings in the U.S. Senate dating back to the 1800s. That’s not to mention the vile (for time period) things they would say about each other on the campaign trail and in political cartoons.

In contrast, CBS Evening News surprisingly aired a rather balanced report on Ailes’ life and death. Reporter Anna Werner noted Ailes’ reason for starting Fox News and why he felt it was doing so well. “They think perhaps points of view are being eliminated and some stories are being eliminated on other channels, and that's why we're winning,” Ailes told CBS’s Charlie Rose in a clip she played.

Werner also balanced comments from both Ailes’ supporters and detractors:

H.W. Bush said Ailes “wasn't perfect” by called him “my friend.” Fox host Sean Hannity called him “a second father,” but critics like Dr. Jeffrey Jones, director of journalism's Peabody Awards, said “no one had done more harm to American democracy in the last generation.”

In closing out the NBC segment, Thompson attacked Ailes two more times. “Ailes’ biographer, Gabe Sherman, calls it a world wrestling style of politics that led to the election of Donald Trump,” she appeared to whine. “A controversial Republican kingmaker, undone by scandal.”

Meanwhile, on CBS, Werner closed her report with the comments from Ailes’ widow: “Ailes' wife said is a statement, she’s ‘profoundly sad and heartbroken’ at her husband's passing, calling him ‘a loving husband and father’ to their son and a patriot.”

Transcripts below:

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NBC Nightly News
May 18, 2017
7:13:11 PM Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Late word this evening about what caused the sudden death of Fox News Founder Roger Ailes. The coroner says Ailes died from complications related to a head injury that he suffered after a fall in his home in Florida. His death at 77 comes less than a year after he was ousted from the empire he built following a sexual harassment scandal. NBC's Ann Thompson has more.

[Cuts to video]

ANN THOMPSON: The news traveled on the ticker outside headquarters and from the studios within.

STEVE DOOCY: Roger Ailes, one of the founders of the Fox News channel has died.

THOMPSON: A polarizing figure to the end, Roger Ailes combined his two passions, politics and television to build Fox News. Allegedly abusing his power for his own pleasure.

GABE SHERMAN: Women who worked for Ailes told me over and over again in interviews they felt pressured to succumb to his sexual advances.

THOMPSON: Ailes always denied the charges that now overshadow his career. It began on the Mike Douglas Show, going from prop-boy to executive producer. Until a meeting with guest Richard Nixon led him to a career in Republican politics. Ailes was said to have two speeds, attack and destroy.

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ROGER AILES: I predicted in 1968 that nobody would be elected in high office again without learning how to communicate effectively on television.

THOMPSON: His media savvy helped elect Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Today former President Bush tweeting “not sure I would have been president without his great talent, loyal help.”

AILES: Politics is American’s favorite indoor sport.

THOMPSON: He would make his indelible mark creating Fox News, a platform for conservative voices. What is Ailes' legacy?

SHERMAN: I think it's really transforming American politics into a contact sport where there’s no rules and anything goes.

THOMPSON: Ailes’ biographer, Gabe Sherman, calls it a world wrestling style of politics that led to the election of Donald Trump. A controversial Republican king maker, undone by scandal. Ann Thompson, NBC News, New York.

...

CBS Evening News
May 18, 2017
6:42:42 PM Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Roger Ailes, the architect of the Fox News Channel, died today. Doctors say he had a brain hemorrhage after falling last week. Ailes was 77. Anna Werner has more on the man who was once called "The loudest voice in the room."

[Cuts to video]

ANNA WERNER: Roger Ailes went from a 27-year-old TV producer to successfully selling Richard Nixon to the American people in 1968. He helped elect Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, too. By 1992, Ailes had retired from politics and soured on the news media, as he told Charlie Rose then...

ROGER AILES: If you want to have tremendous political influence and still be a womanizer, drug abuser or an alcoholic, you only have one choice of career, and that's journalism.

WERNER: But four years later, Ailes would become founder and CEO of the Fox News Channel.

BILL O’REILLY: Caution…

WERNER: With conservative commentators like Bill O'Reilly, why did viewers watch? He told Rose in 2001...

AILES: They think perhaps points of view are being eliminated and some stories are being eliminated on other channels, and that's why we're winning.

WERNER: H.W. Bush said Ailes “wasn't perfect” by called him “my friend.” Fox host Sean Hannity called him “a second father,” but critics like Dr. Jeffrey Jones, director of journalism's Peabody Awards, said “no one had done more harm to American democracy in the last generation.”

DONALD TRUMP: I mean, the stock market is very enthused.

WERNER: Many believe Fox News' support for President Trump helped get him elected. In a 2014 autobiography, Ailes is quoted in 2010 telling Fox News executives, "I want to elect the next president." But Ailes' reign would not make it to Election Day. Numerous women at Fox News, including former anchor Gretchen Carlson, alleged he sexually harassed them. Facing a lawsuit, Ailes resigned last July.

[Cuts back to live]

Ailes' wife said is a statement, she’s “profoundly sad and heartbroken” at her husband's passing, calling him “a loving husband and father” to their son and a patriot, Scott.

PELLEY: Anna Werner, thank you. 

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