Who makes your news?
That question is at the center of “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes,” a new documentary out Dec. 7 (in theaters in select cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Washington, and streaming on Amazon Prime and iTunes) that studies the life of the Fox News founder and CEO. Ailes, who died in 2017 at age 77 after resigning in disgrace amid sexual harassment allegations the year prior, spent most of his life as a Republican power broker.
He cannily transitioned from daytime talk show producer to political operative, advising presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In 1996, he masterminded the launch of Fox News, with the backing of Rupert Murdoch. From there, conservative stars like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren and Glenn Beck were born.
“I don’t think people fully understand the breadth and the depth of his influence. He knew all the Republican candidates from the ’60s, from the Nixon era,” says director Alexis Bloom (“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”). “So he had this enormous institutional knowledge. He then parlayed that by giving candidates a forum to speak through Fox, and he could make or break candidates.”
Even if you’re a Fox News junkie, you may not know these five things about the network’s chief architect.
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