It’s been a year since former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was pushed out due to accusations of sexual harassment by former Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson. The Hollywood Reporter has a look-back at Ailes’ ouster that offers the startling revelation that Ailes’ support of Donald Trump had just as much to do with the Murdochs firing him as his multiple HR violations.
There have been rumors in recent months that Fox News was internally split in its support of Donald Trump, with anchors and hosts publicly criticizing each other over the network’s coverage of the President. The inter-company tensions appear to stem from Trump’s attacks on then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly during the election, which caught the attention of longtime News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch and found the conservative media mogul looking to throw his network’s power behind anyone instead of Trump.
It was Ailes’ tacit support of Trump that, in part, made his removal from Fox all the more urgent for the Murdochs. And it was not just the liberal sons who were agitated by Ailes’ regard for Trump, but also the father, whose tabloid, the New York Post, helped create Trump, but who found him now, with great snobbery, not of “our” conservative class. (“When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?” Murdoch senior tweeted the day after Trump officially declared himself a candidate.) Murdoch instructed Ailes to tilt to anyone but Trump, Ailes confided to me before he was fired, even Hillary. (Ailes, for his part, characterized Murdoch’s periodic efforts at interference as similar to Nixon’s instructions to bomb this or that country — best ignored.)
The story has a happy ending though, as a chastened Murdoch needed to reach out to his ex-wife Wendi Deng in order for her to ask her friends Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to get Donald to forgive Rupert after the former was elected President. “Now, to Trump’s great satisfaction, a humbled Murdoch is a constant caller.”
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)