by Sharon Rondeau

Roger Ailes in 2013 (Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

(May 16, 2023) — On Monday, Elizabeth Ailes, the widow of Fox News Channel developer Roger Ailes, wished her late husband a happy birthday and declared that the Murdoch family, which assumed management of the channel following Ailes’s death six years ago, has “wreaked havoc” on it.

Although media mogul and multi-billionaire Rupert Murdoch founded FNC, Ailes chaired it from 1996 to 2016.

“Happy Heavenly Birthday Roger Ailes,” Mrs. Ailes wrote. “It took you 20 years to build Fox News into the powerhouse that it was and only 6 years for the Murdochs to wreak havoc. Rupert thought he could do your job. What a joke. He has the checkbook but could never come close to your genius. RIP.”

Below the text is an undated photo of the two, while the “pinned tweet” at the top of her timeline features the couple at a 2015 New Year’s Eve celebration.

On July 22, 2016, Ailes resigned his position as FNC chairman, Fox Business and other Fox stations. As Mrs. Ailes referenced, Murdoch, who was chairman of 21st Century Fox, assumed her husband’s duties over FNC and Fox Business Network shortly thereafter.

Ailes’s resignation took place after several female employees claimed he had sexually harassed them and former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson filed suit against him. Ailes denied the allegations, which became the subject of an internal investigation culminating in his agreement to resign.

In May 2017, FNC senior executive vice president Bill Shine departed to work on the 2020 Trump campaign after he was accused of assisting in a “cover-up” of Ailes’s alleged behavior. Shine’s ouster promptly followed that of popular primetime host Bill O’Reilly after he was accused of sexual harassment and FNC allegedly settled five cases stemming from the allegations.

While O’Reilly and Shine denied the claims, two lawsuits with numerous plaintiffs were filed against FNC and 21st Century Fox alleging discrimination based on gender and race, respectively.

The cases were reportedly settled the following year for approximately $10 million.

Last month the highly-rated Saturday-night program, “Unfiltered with Dan Bongino” hosted the show’s namesake and former Secret Service agent was cancelled after Bongino and the network failed to agree on a new contract. Two days later, the channel’s highest performer, Tucker Carlson, was terminated for unspecified reasons prior to his contract expiration.

In the second of only two public statements since his abrupt cancellation from the network, Carlson announced he will be working with Twitter owner Elon Musk to create a program similar to that which he left at FNC, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

On Tuesday, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe III, who was ejected from his position in late February and recently founded the O’Keefe Media Group, claimed to know the reason for Carlson’s unexpected termination.

On June 14, 2021, Mrs. Ailes accused FNC of “Soviet-level netconning from The Murdoch’s [sic] and the once great Fox News” in response to an article published the day before titled, “Remembering Chet Collier: Westminster Kennel Dog Show leader, Fox News Channel pioneer.”

“no mention of Roger Ailes. shameful!!” [sic] she wrote.

On May 15, 2021, she claimed “most of what is written is made of lies” in regard to her late husband and recommended a 2020 documentary on his life, “Man in the Arena.”

Rupert Murdoch’s son Lachlan now runs FNC, while his father is executive chairman of News Corp, the 2013 successor to News Corporation and umbrella company to subsidiaries including HarperCollins, Wireless Group and Dow Jones & Company, among others.

Mrs. Ailes, too, is a highly-accomplished media professional in her own right. According to her website, she began at NBC News as a co-producer of two shows with The Wall Street Journal, working her way up to a company vice president.

She additionally was a newspaper publisher and herself launched a network, “America’s Talking,” which employed the future “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy prior to transitioning into MSNBC.

Mrs. Ailes is now involved in charitable causes and has spearheaded restorations of distressed buildings.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.