Why Does Roger Ailes Hate America?
By Tom Junod Esquire, February 2011
An exclusive and unbiased investigation into the highly paid operative of a foreign-born tycoon, a man who reengineered political and media culture and fomented a revolt that threatens the very stability of our country
Today, here at Esquire – and only at Esquire, because only Esquire has the guts to tell you this story – we’re going to tell you about a man you need to know a little better, maybe a lot better: a man named Roger Ailes. Maybe you’ve heard of Mr. Ailes. As the chairman and CEO of a well financed and admittedly antigovernment organization called Fox News, he made a reported $23 million in 2009, which, to do the math, was not just more money than you earned, it was more money than everyone related to you earned, combined, even if you count the sudden windfall that came your aunt Ida’s way after she got five out of six in Powerball. Nice work if you can get it, Mr. Ailes – especially when that “work” consisted of nothing but advancing your own agenda at the expense of the president of the United States of America during a time of war. But that $23 million, outrageous as it sounds, is chump change next to the almost $1 billion in profits that Fox News – and even Mr. Ailes’s most ardent defenders admit that he is Fox News – earned Ailes’s foreign-born boss, Rupert Murdoch, aka “Koala Kong,” in honor of the Australian heritage he long ago rejected in favor of more convenient American citizenship. So yes, you might have heard of Roger Eugene Ailes, because you read the newspapers, you read books, you stay informed (despite what members in good standing of the East Coast media elite like, well, oh, like Roger Ailes might say about you), but how much do you really know about him? For forty years, he has stood astride the intertwined worlds of media and politics like a veritable colossus, making sure the worlds of media and politics stay intertwined, the better to control them. He has used his considerable powers of persuasion to persuade us to elect presidents, and, if they’re not following the “Ailes Agenda,” to turn against them. At seventy years of age, when most hardworking American seniors have had enough of the rat race and are looking forward to spending some more quality time with the grandkids, Roger Ailes is at the height, perhaps the apogee, maybe even – some say – the very zenith of his power. Indeed, with most of the potential Republican candidates for president in 2012 on his payroll, he may be said to be just getting started. Hmmm. Maybe we don’t know this Roger Ailes as well as we think we do. Maybe we don’t know him very well at all, which is, of course, just the way he likes it.