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Divide And Conquer: The Story Of Roger Ailes

by Karin McKie
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Dec 7, 2018
'Divide And Conquer: The Story Of Roger Ailes'
'Divide And Conquer: The Story Of Roger Ailes'  

How did we get here? Turns out Trumpworld is the fevered wet dream of a small-town loser turned monster-maker, as spooled out in Alexis Bloom's documentary "Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes."

Born to an auto worker in Warren, OH, Ailes had hemophilia and an ax to grind. He hated "New York and Hollywood elites," a refrain still repeated today. He moved to Philly in 1965 to work for "The Mike Douglas Show," where he met Richard Nixon. He told the presidential candidate that, after his abysmal debate with Kennedy, he needed a media advisor.

The mud-slinging and the fall of democracy began.

Ailes studied Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of the Will" to copy the camera angles. He had a plan to put the GOP on TV, as found in archival notes, explained by a variety of interviewees, mostly former associates and anchors from the various pre-Fox iterations and consultancies as well as from Fox itself.

Ailes is described as a Citizen Kane-type with anger issues, on which he capitalized. In addition to Nixon, Ailes is responsible for electing many of today's ultra-conservative legislators, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Ailes is responsible for the Willie Horton ad that defeated Mike Dukakis. He reignited the "scary Black man" stereotype still being weaponized today. He pioneered the see-through news desks where he forced female reporters to sit, making them wear short skirts, lighting them from underneath.

Among stories about his ascendance as a sought-after TV producer, the film inserts interviews with various survivors of Ailes' brutal harassment, the way he ruined their careers when they refused his thuggish advances.

When America's Talking Network became Fox News — along with Ailes' promise of revenge on competition MSNBC and CNN — he hired Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and hung out with Rudy Giuliani and Geraldo Rivera.

Fox wasn't about the journalism, but drawing audiences, "riling up the crazies." If that sounds familiar, it's because Ailes created Donald Trump in his own image, since Trump has nary an original thought.

The script's litany of repugnant traits applies to Ailes and his Frankenpresident. Both insisted on loyalty above all and used division to frighten people into blind devotion. Both are friendless bullies and don't understand why nobody likes them. Both hate Muslims, gays, and the Clintons. They have daddy issues. They are serial sexual predators, narcissists who perpetrate a victim narrative nonetheless. They are encircled by enablers.

Watch this frank film to see how a paranoid white male created the machine to destroy democracy. Hopefully, a sequel will tell us how to fix it.

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes

Director Alexis Bloom charts the rise and fall of the late Republican Party booster and controversial Fox News mogul who went down in flames amid multiple sexual harassment allegations.


Runtime :: 107 mins
Release Date :: Dec 07, 2018
Language :: Silent
Country :: United States

Karin McKie is a writer, educator and activist at KarinMcKie.com

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