Monday, July 18, 2016

Good and Better: Why Roger Ailes' Fall from Grace Couldn't Happen at a More Appropriate Moment

by Nomad

Rarely has there been much good news to report of late. Here's one item I've found.

According to reports, CEO of FOX News, Roger Ailes, will soon be forced to resign after allegations of workplace sexual harassment. 
The former anchor Gretchen Carlson alleged that Ailes made it crystal clear that if she had sexual relations with him her problems (which included among other things "ostracizing, marginalizing and shunning") would magically disappear.  
Office hanky-panky was the suggested cure-all for what ailed Roger Ailes. 

In the court records, Carlson claimed that Ailes told her :
I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you'd be good and better and I'd be good and better.
That's about as logical as anything else presented on Fox News, I guess. Good and better was not a standard that Roger Ailes generally aimed for.
Bad and worse was closer to the truth. 

The documents (worth reading) also noted that at the time of the good and better remark, Ailes added (presumably with a smirk or a smug chuckle) that "sometimes problems are easier to solve" that way. 
For the women who worked at Fox, apparently, the message was:

If you value your career, just close your eyes and consider what happens next a problem-solving exercise. 

As tempting as the proposition must have been, Carlson managed to hold herself back and, for that self-control, she subsequently lost her job. 

After Carlson filed a lawsuit, other women (or, as Roger might have called them, "chicks") made similar claims.   
More than ten other women have come forth with accusations of systematic and widespread misogyny and harassment at FOX News. Promotions and career opportunities were offered in exchange for sexual favors – and that protests were met with marginalization, ostracizing, and ultimately termination.
We can assume that such predatory practices in the office have probably been going on for quite a few years. 

Mr. Ailes got his start as a media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, and for Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign
As a consultant to Giuliani, Ailes reportedly attempted to stir up divisions between the Jewish and African-American communities for political advantage.  

Fox News and Ailes have been inseparable since before the right wing news channel went on the air. According to one report by Gawker, an undated memo found in the Richard Nixon presidential library presented the idea for a Republican propaganda machine long before Rupert Murdoch tip-toed in from down under. 
The memo contains several handwritten notes from Ailes, then a media consultant to the Nixon White House, enthusiastically endorsing the idea and offering to run the project himself. As Gawker put it: "Aimed at sidelining the 'censorship' of the liberal mainstream media and delivering prepackaged pro-Nixon news to local television stations, [the memo] reads today like a detailed precis for a Fox News prototype."
He was a forceful advocate for the power of television to shape the political narrative, and he reveled in the minutiae constructing political spectacles—stage-managing, for instance, the lighting of the White House Christmas tree with painstaking care. He frequently floated ideas for creating staged events and strategies for manipulating the mainstream media into favorable coverage, and used his contacts at the networks to sniff out the emergence of threatening narratives and offer advice on how to snuff them out
(For a full catalog of the mischief that Roger got up to in his long career, try this site.)

In his glory days, Ailes was a heavyweight for Republicans. In fact. at one time an anonymous Republican aide was quoted as saying 
"you can't run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger."
The timing, therefore, could hardly be any better. Ailes' fall from grace comes at the same moment as the Republican Party nominates a man who cartoonishly reflects the pathetic path that Ailes has taken the GOP.

In honor of these predicted events, I offer Nina Simone's light-hearted song about what happens when one attempts to sample "Forbidden Fruit."