Monday, July 18, 2016


Gabriel Sherman, who's been writing about Fox News and Roger Ailes for years, has what seems to be a bombshell today:
Roger Ailes's tenure as the head of Fox News may be coming to an end. Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James -- co-chairmen and CEO, respectively, of parent company 21st Century Fox -- have settled on removing the 76-year-old executive, say two sources briefed on a sexual-harassment investigation of Ailes being conducted by New York law firm Paul, Weiss. After reviewing the initial findings of the probe, James Murdoch is said to be arguing that Ailes should be presented with a choice this week to resign or face being fired. Lachlan is more aligned with their father, who thinks that no action should be taken until after the GOP convention this week. Another source confirms that all three are in agreement that Ailes needs to go.
I want to believe this. You have no idea how much I want to believe it. I hate what Ailes has done to this country.

But I don't believe it, because Sherman's reporting on Fox, remarkable as it's been, previously led us to expect a comeuppance for Ailes that never materialized.

Back in June 2015, Sherman wrote this:
Roger Ailes’s Demotion Signals Power Shift Within Murdoch Empire

... Yesterday, 21st Century Fox announced that Ailes would be reporting to Lachlan and James Murdoch. For Ailes, it was a stinging smack-down and effectively a demotion.

Just five days earlier, Ailes released what now appears to be a rogue statement to his own Fox Business channel declaring that he would be unaffected by the announcement that Lachlan and James will take control of Fox as part of Rupert's succession plan. "Roger Ailes will continue to run the news network, reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch," Fox Business reported. According to a well-placed source, Ailes directed Fox Business executive Bill Shine to tell anchor Stuart Varney to read the statement on air. "Ailes told Shine to write the announcement of the move for Varney to say," the source said. "In it, Ailes inserted language that he would report to Rupert."

This was, apparently, news to Rupert. And now the Murdochs are correcting the record. "Roger will report to Lachlan and James," a 21st Century Fox spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.
As I wrote a few weeks later:
... that was supposed to be a huge problem for Ailes because he'd feuded with both Lachlan and James, and because James is reportedly much more liberal than his father.

The takeover happened on July 1 -- but six days earlier, Ailes signed a new contract that will keep him as head of Fox News into 2018. A press release said he'd "jointly report" to Rupert, James, and Lachlan Murdoch -- and, as a CNNMoney story noted, "in practice, that may mean Rupert will continue to call the shots when it comes to Fox."
The result was that nothing really changed at Fox -- Ailes kept running the place exactly the way he always had.

My guess is that Sherman gets all this from James, Lachlan, or both, or allies of theirs, and that these are attempts to use the media to let Ailes know he's not wanted. The younger Murdochs may actually believe Ailes will quit to avoid the humiliation of being fired -- but they may have thought he'd quit after last summer's humiliation, and that didn't happen. Instead, he fought back and won.

I think Big Daddy Rupert still wants Ailes around. So maybe this story is true, but I think it's more likely that Ailes will hang on for now, after his inevitable pushback and a round or two of official denials of Sherman's story from Fox.

But I really, really hope I'm wrong.


IanEye said...

Ailes is the only individual named in the suit filed by Gretchen Carlson.

Is the Murdoch family working in tandem with Carlson, or just using her suit for their own ends?

I ask this because if she had named a bunch of Fox News employees in her suit, then any future bridge to her return would be burned.

By focusing on Ailes, Carlson could return to Fox News in the future, regardless of whether she wins the suit or not.

Feud Turgidson said...

I want him to stay. He's 76, and facing the worst attacks on his reputation in his entire life. That's exactly who I want running Fox News: a sexual terrorist, every on screeen female personality having to answer questions about what it is SHE does for jolly ol' Ailes' roger to get and keep her job, and every male having to turn into Sgt Schultz day after day. I want Fox and the Murdochs supporting him publicly, at his side the entire time as Gretchen Carlson does the one and only publicly redemptive act of her entire career on Bullshit Mountain. I want them to stand by him during the entire appeal process, as all who wish can pant and salivate over the depositions and trial testimony. I want this case to drag on until Vice President Tom Perez announces he's standing for the Dem nomination for POTUS. I want Gretchen Carlson to go on MSNBC and experience sensitive supportive interviews from Joy Reid and Laurence O'Donnell (not Maddow: Carlson's not totally dumb and naive; Maddow would ask at least one question that would reduce Carlson to a cartoon character). I want Carlson on 60 Minutes being interviewed about her new NFP to reduce sex harassment in the workplace. I want Gretchen Carlson to agree that Cecile Richard is a goddamn American hero, FCOL. I want Fox to double down and double down again on the sexism, with hiring one of those icky Trump boys - or better yet, hiring Ewoka or WTF her name is and having O'Reilly act like a pig around here.

Don't do it, Murdochs! Fight for the right to keep on being big fat white flaccid swinging dicks!

Victor said...

@Feud is heading into @aimai territory!

What he just said!

FOX and Ailes need to slowly die by what made them:
All around bigotry.
Endless racism.
Religious intolerance.

They need to choke to death on their own bullshit!

M. Bouffant said...

Two words: "Health" reasons.