As I told earlier in the week, the Murdoch mafiosi had decided that they had to part company with Roger Ailes, head man at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), and the only question was not if he would go, but when. Ailes was the subject of several historical complaints of sexual harassment, notably by former Fox And Friends presenter Gretchen Carlson, who left the network recently.
Push came to shove as the week progressed and it was revealed that Fox News’ rising star Megyn Kelly, who is still very much part of the channel’s current roster of hosts, had told an internal inquiry that Ailes had tried it on with her too. Don Rupioni and the rest of the Cosa Rupra did not even wait for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH to end before they made their move. Ailes has now left the building.
But Fox News endures, and Ailes built the network in his own image: brash, right-wing, intolerant of dissent, dishonest, paranoid and deeply misogynistic. Ailes was so paranoid about being attacked that he was delivered to his office in an armoured SUV, with a security detail to escort him from there into the building. He has a concealed carry permit for a handgun (as does Fox’ top rating host Bill O’Reilly).
This persona carried through into the channel’s output. Fox News has, all by itself, coarsened political discourse in the USA in the same way as Murdoch’s papers have done in the UK and especially in his native Australia. For Ailes, there is no such thing as polite disagreement, only blind rage at those who dissent. His legacy is all the delegates at the RNC screaming for Hillary Clinton to be jailed - or even killed.
Despite his behavioural problems, Rupert Murdoch clearly likes what Ailes did for him, eulogising “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 … 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”. The Murdochs have no problem with what Fox has become.
That is because they don’t have to suffer the consequences of that coarsened debate: all they see is the billions of US Dollars in earnings from Fox News. The Murdochs all have their own security details, their own armoured SUVs, their own secure office accommodation, their own residences in secure towers or gated compounds. They do not have to face the world except on their own terms.
Think about that. Rupert Murdoch is more than happy to preside over Fox News, see the money flow in, and watch the inexorable rise of its ratings. The hatred, fear, prejudice, bigotry, paranoia and worse that comes in its wake is someone else’s problem.
And the mess in which the Republican Party finds itself in, saddled with the ultimate joke Presidential candidate in Donald Trump, is down to Ailes and Murdoch. For them it is all a game, one where they make money and that is all that matters.
So democracy is bought, sold and subverted? They should care. But they don’t.