Roger Ailes, the bombastic and controversial founder and CEO of Fox News ousted past year in a sexual harassment scandal, has died.
Former Fox News head Roger Ailes' death on Thursday sparked a debate about his legacy overseeing the rise of a dominant right-leaning news network marred by accusations of harassment.
"I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning", Elizabeth Ailes said. "Roger was my best friend, the most wonderful loving husband and father to our son, Zachary". He held the position until 2016, when he resigned due to allegations of sexual harassment from Gretchen Carlson, a former news anchor.
He was also a longtime friend of President Trump, who defended Ailes against the accusations of sexual harassment, saying Ailes had helped "some of the women that are complaining".
Under Mr Ailes' leadership, Fox became US' most widely watched cable news channel, home to key conservative political commentators, and drew an audience distinct from rivals CNN and MSNBC.
Ailes, an OH native, began his television career in the early 1960s as a producer at The Mike Douglas Show in Cleveland, and went onto serve as media consultant for several Republican presidents, including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. "Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have", he said.More news: Why WannaCry ransomware took down so many businesses
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Fox News formally announced news of his passing in an on-air segment on Thursday morning. Ailes worked as an adviser to the presidential hopeful at the time.
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.
Fox News promoted Republican candidates and causes and relentlessly attacked what it perceived to be liberal bias in the mainstream media and the entertainment industry. "In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs".
A longtime confidant of media titan Rupert Murdoch, Ailes was a central figure in conservative USA politics for decades. Kudlow said that Ailes was "a communications genius".
Evangelical leader Reed, a regular Fox guest over the years, offered a more optimistic view: "Whatever one thinks of Fox News, and there are certainly people who don't like it for whatever reason, it is undeniable that it changed the media environment and ensured the conservative viewpoint was consistently and reliably represented".
"The power of Fox News can not be overstated in Republican politics", said GOP strategist Alex Conant, who advised two presidential campaigns. His death denies the rest of us the chance to hear his side of that particularly salacious story.