Yes, I know we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, and I never wished him dead, but I’m relieved he’s gone.
This is a man who lead the charge on the dismantling of our Democracy. Ever since he made Richard Nixon look pretty, he has led America down the path of fascism disguised as conservatism.
My father was a conservative, but he never denied science. He knew the dangers of pollution and climate change. He knew poor people needed a hand sometimes and that workers deserved a living wage.
My father didn’t want to know what went on behind people’s bedroom doors because it was none of his business, and the only marriage he worried about was his own. He was happy to pay into Social Security and Medicaid, even though he only lived to age 67.
My father was a newsman who never watched Fox News because, even though he was conservative, he could spot a lie a mile away, and Fox News was all about lies.
Roger Ailes built a “news” channel that peddled lies about climate change, about taxes, about immigrants, about the “need” for wars and about poor people.
In this most recent election, the lies were about Hillary Clinton. The e-mail server she used was the same kind of server used by Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State, but Fox never mentioned that.
Three Americans died in Benghazi, and that’s a tragedy, but more than 50 Americans died at embassies around the world under George W. Bush. and that was never mentioned on Fox. Some 250 US Marines died in Beirut in the early 1980s and Ronald Reagan took responsibility, although no one criticized him or called him a criminal because of it.
Ailes, himself a sexual predator, may not have supported the sexual predator in chief before the Republican National Convention, but once the nomination was secure, Ailes allowed the criminal who currently occupies the White House to slide on any number of issues so that Republicans could take power once again.
Ailes was never punished for his crimes. He was fired from Fox News, but he died a free — and wealthy — man.
The lies his network perpetuated allowed the current occupant of the White House to get there. Slowly, over the course of many years, Fox News has misinformed Americans and encouraged people to dismiss the truth as “the other side of the story.”
This is largely why I left the news business. I was being pressured to quote Tea Party lies as “the other side of the story,” when they were lies, pure and simple. If I quoted them, I also debunked them because sometimes “the other side of the story” is nothing more than a bald-faced lie.
He led Americans to deny science and to the view that a belief holds as much weight as a fact.
The Earth is billions of years old, not 6,000.
Evolution is real; creationism is a myth.
Climate change is real, so real that our planet could become uninhabitable from the changes in 100 years or so.
But Ailes’ followers continue to fight — and vote — against their own best interests.
When you cut taxes on the wealthy, nothing trickles down.
When workers don’t make a living wage, the economy suffers because nobody can afford to buy anything.
Poor people are not lazy.
Unions protected workers from the unfettered greed of the 1 percent.
These things are all true, even though Fox tells people every day that they are not, and people believe it.
One study showed that people who watch Fox News exclusively knew less than people who watch no news at all.
Ailes knew that if he could divide people, if he could make “ordinary” people hate the “elites,” he and his cronies could win. He was stunningly successful, and that’s why we have a mentally ill criminal in the White House, and a Speaker of the House who brags he wanted to kill Medicaid when he was a college frat boy getting trashed at keg parties.
The damage done by this one man is hard to measure. I never wished him dead, but I’m relieved he’s gone.