21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch will take the helm of Fox News in the absence of Roger Ailes, who resigned from his post in the backlash of a sexual harassment scandal on Thursday.
The legacy of Roger Ailes was permanently stained after former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson alleged the former CEO made unwanted sexual advances. The scandal is set to have a powerful impact on the conservative movement in America. Fox News was the most important contribution to the Republican Party's message since the federal government scrapped the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, allowing broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to spread their propaganda at a more effective pace than ever before. Roger Ailes provided a credible platform for conservative politicians and pundits alike to drive their message home. The American right will survive the fall of Ailes, but will become more skeptical of rising stars within its ranks as a result.
Rupert Murdoch Charges Ahead Without Roger Ailes
21st Century Fox confirmed Roger Ailes was stepping down as CEO of Fox News in a statement released on Thursday afternoon. Rupert Murdoch acknowledged the fallen media mogul's contribution to his vision while announcing he will temporarily fill his role.
"Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country. Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years," Murdoch said. "Fox News has given voice to those who were ignored by the traditional networks and has been one of the great commercial success stories of modern media."
He added: "I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice. Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country."
Murdoch and Ailes launched Fox News in 1996 with the stated mission of providing a unique voice in the American media landscape. The network has been credited for giving political conservatives an edge in national discourse, a privilege critics say is denied by more mainstream outlets.
Roger Ailes was implicated in a sexual harassment scandal when former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against him for making unwanted advances on July 6. Broadcaster Megyn Kelly supported the accusation, adding she received the same treatment along with several other women. The suit prompted an internal investigation of the network by 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News.
The former Fox News chief walked away from his post with a $40 million severance package, but is forbidden from starting a competitor to the cable network. Under the settlement agreement, he will stay on as an advisor to Murdoch in the interim.
New York Times describes the world Ailes created
Fox News did not invent political polarization in Congress and the country. But it has abetted and amplified it, creating an ideologically bifurcated cable-news landscape. I know, because I had an up-close view of this, as a media commentator on Fox from the late 1990s until 2009.
Washington Post says Ailes exit is good for the GOP
Republicans certainly have seemed incapable of fighting off the Trump infection, but it might be worth considering where the virus came from. I'd like to nominate Fox News. This Ailement may be unique in modern political discourse in producing a steady stream of inaccurate information available to nourish and reinforce a group of voters and policy ideas that drifted further and further into delirium.
NPR says Ailes made an unparalleled impact
No contemporary figure has done more to shape the intersection of American media and politics than Ailes, who, until Thursday, had been the Fox News chief since its very first day on the air in 1996. In his long career, Ailes advised a succession of Republican presidents on how to gain power and maintain it -- both on their payrolls and off the books.