Almost unrecognisable under layer upon layer of latex and silicone, Russell Crowe’s astounding portrayal of the notorious founding CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes is one of the reasons why The Loudest Voice, which is streaming now on Stan, is essential viewing.
The other reason is the man himself: A reprehensible right-wing bigot who blustered and harassed his way through a career that defined what we now know as (fake) news coverage. Ailes’ life, nevertheless, makes for unmissable television – as long as you can stomach his often disgraceful actions. Here are five of his dizzying low points.
All The President’s Men
It was back in 1967, while working as producer on the talk-variety show The Mike Douglas Show that Ailes had a conversation that would change everything.
One of the show’s guests, Richard Nixon, was of the opinion that television was a gimmick, a fad that would never have any consequence. After a heated discussion with Ailes, Nixon asked him to serve as his Executive Producer for television.
He made the stiff and unlikeable politician more palatable to voters and went on to prove himself equally indispensable to Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush on their campaigns, and for Rudy Giuliani on his efforts to become the mayor of New York.
It was the departure of Rupert Murdoch from News Corporation that kickstarted a chain of events that changed the way we absorbed the news from television.
As newly appointed Chairman of the Fox Network, one of Roger Ailes’ first acts was cancelling the news institution A Current Affair and replacing it with Geraldo at Large, hosted controversial daytime TV host Geraldo Rivera.
With news rapidly becoming tabloid entertainment, Ailes constantly ruffled feathers, offended, and made provocative comments that shouldn’t be repeated in a public forum.
He left the company in a storm of controversy when former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him in 2016. Six more women spoke out against Ailes followed her allegations. And some say this was just the tip of the iceberg. Following an internal review into is business practices, Ailes resigned, receiving a $40million golden handshake in the process.
In 2016, Ailes became an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, where he assisted the entrepreneur turned reality TV show host turned presidential candidate with debate preparation. The rest, as they say, is the lowest point in US political history.
In fact, it was Roger Ailes who coined the phrase “Make America Great Again” that became the POTUS’s crowd whipping mantra.
This Is The End
Roger Ailes died on May 18, 2017 at the age of 77 due to a fall in his Florida home causing a subdural hematoma that was aggravated by his haemophilia.
Many, including Real Time host Bill Maher were happy. “When someone dies, you’re supposed to not say bad things about them. So let me just say, when it came to making old white Americans more frightened and more ill-informed, nobody did it better.”