When Roger Ailes died on May 18, he left behind a complicated legacy. A titan of politics and media, Ailes was forced out of the network he built last year amid accusations of sexual harassment. However, he left behind Fox News, a living monument to the fact that media bias can be countered successfully.
If you ever need to know why Ailes and Fox News were so successful, you need just look at Ailes’ disdain for what he called the “New York-Hollywood elitists.”
In a 2014 interview with The New York Times (of all places), he laid out why he had built a network for the type of people he thought had been left behind by media bias.
The “New York-Hollywood elitists,” Ailes said, “just believe what they believe and they think their job is to drag the rest of the redneck morons toward the light.”
“They don’t understand that the so-called redneck morons — the people they don’t like — are the people that grew up with values — patriotism, all those things — and they hate all those words.”
Whether or not you agree with Ailes, that’s one of the most astute descriptions of why Fox News worked that I’ve ever heard.
The mainstream media holds that conservatives are a pantheon of lesser animals — zombies, perhaps — who just don’t get how great the Democrat Party would be for them. The media sees its mission as herding these wild beasts toward sensible positions — but goshdarnit, they keep on slipping away to places like Fox News!
This process happens ad infinitum. You would think the suzerains of media would have figured this out by now, but nope. Instead, they keep on loudly noting that those “redneck morons” just don’t listen to them anymore and wondering aloud how anyone could possibly distrust them.
Until the mainstream media learns, this New York City-area born-and-bred latte drinker will be proud to call himself a “redneck moron” just as much as millions of other Americans who have been left behind by a broken narrative from a failed media system. Ailes may leave behind a complicated legacy, but that part is as simple as anything.
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