Fox News Channel founder and former top executive Roger Ailes died Thursday at the age of 77 due to bleeding on the brain caused by a recent fall in which he hit his head, an injury made far worse due to his hemophilia, according to a news release from the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s office.
The New York Times noted a broad range of reactions to the news of Ailes death, with many voices in conservative media issuing praise for the man who indisputably changed the landscape of cable news by providing a platform for those conservative voices.
Some on the left, however, immediately seized upon the opportunity to begin dancing on Ailes’ grave, calling him the worst person in the world, insinuating that he had ruined the media by opening it up to competing voices and rehashing the recent allegations of sexual improprieties that led to his ousting from Fox — essentially expressing their palpable hate for the man, even in his death.
It was that utter hate for Ailes from those on that left that former Fox News star and personal friend Bill O’Reilly cited as a contributing factor in Ailes’ death, according to an op-ed he wrote for USA Today.
O’Reilly called Ailes a “force of nature with an agenda” and a “man on a mission” to level the playing field ideologically in the media, a quest in which he proved extremely successful, which of course meant that “enemies accumulated — some armed with a brutal hatred.”
O’Reilly proceeded to praise Ailes for his toughness and staunch public support of those who worked for him, as well as his quiet, behind-the-scenes support for Fox employees going through troubled times.
But it was the hatred of Ailes that O’Reilly circled back to, noting how it had bubbled up along with the recent scandalous allegations that led to his resigning from Fox after “Roger was convicted of bad behavior in the court of public opinion.”
O’Reilly noted, much like The Times, that, “Some in the press continued to demean him even on the day of his death.”
“We are living in a rough age, with technological advances changing behavior and perspective. The downside of that is turning us into a nation where hatred is almost celebrated in some quarters,” O’Reilly stated. “Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him. That is the truth.”
But Ailes shouldn’t be and wouldn’t want to be remembered as a man despised by the left, but as a man respected by friends and rivals alike for his incredible shifting of the mainstream media culture back toward the right from its increasingly leftward tilt.
For whatever flaws Ailes may have had — and every human being has flaws — he should be remembered for the profound effect he had on political media and society through his varied accomplishments.
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