Speed Reads

Fox News

Roger Ailes once reportedly bragged about creating a network for 'guys who just sit on their couch' and are aged '55 to dead'

Fox News founder Roger Ailes died Thursday at the age of 77. While he was ousted as CEO of the network last year over mounting sexual harassment allegations, the mark he left on cable news and the conservative movement as a whole are undeniable.

But Ailes reportedly looked down his nose at the people he catered to, Joan Walsh writes for The Nation, recalling her only meeting with Ailes in 2000:

"I created a TV network for people 55 to dead," Ailes boasted to us. "Nobody believed it could be done, but I did it. It's for guys who sit on their couch with the remote all day and night." That seemed a condescending way to talk about his audience — not to mention, much of the Republican base — but it was fascinating anyway.

"And they don't want to see anyone like you," he continued, looking directly at me. I wasn't sure whether he meant a liberal, or a brunette newswoman in a dark pantsuit. "They don't want to see you — they don't even want to know that you exist!" And he was obliging them: He'd created a world where women were blonde and wore short tight skirts, men were in charge, and articulate, principled, complicated liberals — especially women — didn't exist. [The Nation]

Read Walsh's full account at The Nation and read about Ailes' legacy and cable news revolution here at The Week.