raj khan / Flickr How Roger Ailes and Fox News...
raj khan / Flickr

Roger Ailes was chairman and CEO of Fox News from 1996 to 2016, when he was forced to resign after several women, including Gretchen Carlson, accused him of sexual harassment and assault.

WaPo today has an article headlined:

Trump might survive firing Rosenstein or even Mueller. The reason: Fox News.

For Richard Nixon, the “Saturday Night Massacre” was the beginning of the end.

The nation finally turned against the embattled president after he forced out — on Oct. 20, 1973 — the attorney general and his deputy who refused to get rid of the special prosecutor investigating him.

A week later, for the first time, a plurality of Americans favored impeachment. And 10 months later, he resigned.

But Nixon didn’t have Fox News in his corner.

President Trump does — and that might make all the difference if he were to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein or even special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. — www.washingtonpost.com/…

The columnist fails to mention the fact that Roger Ailes, the man who built Fox News into what it is today, was a Nixon aide and knew exactly how favorable media coverage might have saved Nixon.

The funny thing is, a few months ago, WaPo pointed out exactly when Ailes had this idea, back when Nixon was in the White House.

A memo entitled “A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News,” buried in the the Nixon library details a plan between Ailes and the White House to bring pro-administration stories to television networks around the country. It reads: “Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any other form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit—watch—listen. The thinking is done for you.” — www.washingtonpost.com/…

What better description of Fox News could there be? “The thinking is done for you”.

Ever since Nixon was impeached, Ailes kept trying to find a way to get crooks and charlatans elected, and working to build a compliant media-scape that would protect them when Americans began to recognize them for the crooks they were.

So who is this … Roger Ailes, […] What kind of man gives his country, in roughly this order, Mike Douglas, Richard Nixon, Tom Snyder, Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America,” the Willie Horton ad, the ad in which Michael Dukakis rides around in a tank and looks like a chipmunk, the presidency of George H. W. Bush, CNBC, Fox News (upstart-insurgent edition), Fox News (airwaves-of-the-empire edition), Fox News (“Obama sux” edition), and Fox News (Tea Party edition)? More pointedly, what kind of man figures out at age twenty-seven how to use television to legitimize Richard Nixon and then at age seventy to legitimize Sarah Palin?

Wait. You didn’t know that it was Roger Ailes who gave us Richard Nixon? Well, he did. And, more important, Richard Nixon gave America Roger Ailes. Put it this way: When Richard Nixon met Roger Ailes in 1967, Nixon was still the sweaty, shifty-eyed, self-pitying, petulant, paranoid perpetual candidate whom Americans instinctively mistrusted. And Roger Ailes was still the prodigy who’d started with The Mike Douglas Show—the first nationally syndicated daytime television talk show—when he was right out of Ohio University and was executive producer by the time he was twenty-five. […] Well, as Mr. Ailes tells it, even admitted pornographers have some scruples, so instead of making Richard Nixon wait in the same greenroom as Little Egypt, he asked the candidate back to his office. “It’s a shame a man has to use gimmicks like this to get elected,” Mr. Nixon is supposed to have remarked to Mr. Ailes. “Television is not a gimmick, and if you think it is, you’ll lose again,” Mr. Ailes is supposed to have remarked to Mr. Nixon. And there the modern conservative movement—not the ideological entity but the telegenic one—was born.

And so that’s the challenge which confronts us today. When the country had to come together to remove Richard Nixon from power because he used criminals to try to win an election by stealing DNC strategic documents, we did. Today, we have a similar task, and Donald Trump’s various crimes are Nixonian in nature, including trying to use illegal means to win an election. But we have the added burden of confronting the hate carefully nurtured by Roger Ailes’ creation, Fox News. I have no doubt we’ll be able to counter it and that our long national nightmare will end.

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