Roger Ailes

From Wikispooks
Revision as of 12:05, 24 February 2021 by Terje (talk | contribs) (unstub)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Person.png Roger Ailes   SpartacusRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(media mogul)
Roger Ailes, June 2013.jpg
BornMay 15, 1940
Warren, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMay 18, 2017 (Age 77)
Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Alma materOhio University
Founder ofFox News
Established Fox Television in 1996 with Rupert Murdoch.

Roger Eugene Ailes was the chairman of Fox News Channel and the Chairman of Fox Television Stations, which he set up in 1996 with Rupert Murdoch. For many years he was also the principle of Ailes Communications which provided strategic political advice to the combined Task Force of the tobacco industry in its attack on the Environmental Protection Agency. He also worked at the top strategic advice level for three Republican presidents: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George HW Bush. He probably played a substantial part in the campaign of George 'Dubya' Bush.

Career In PR & Politics

Ailes began his career in television as a production assistant at Cleveland's KYW-TV, the station that launched the Mike Douglas Show, a popular daytime talk and variety show of the 1960s. At age 28, Ailes became the show's producer. He met Richard Nixon for the first time when Nixon appeared as a guest on the Douglas show, beginning the relationship that led to Ailes' hiring as a media consultant for Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign.[1]

Ailes founded Roger Ailes & Associates which later became Ailes Communications in New York which he owned between 1970 and 1992. The company is described in his biographical note accompanying tesimony to the Energy and Commerce Committee as "a diversified communications consulting company whose clients included three U.S. Presidents, several senators and governors, as well as Fortune 500 CEO's". It was, in fact, mainly a political strategy party for commercial interests. [1]

Ailes political work has included:

Working For Big Tobacco

When a coalition of tobacco-control groups, Coalition for a Healthy California promoted Proposition 99 which proposed a 25 cents a pack increase in tobacco tax, Ailes was called on in July 1988 to oversee what was to be a $20 million campaign for the tobacco industry. Californians Against Unfair Tax Increases (CAUTI) was overwhelmingly underwritten by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. [2]

The Ailes/tobacco industry strategy was to promote claims that the tax increase was unfair and unnecessary government interference; that rich doctors would be the beneficiaries; and that high taxes would encourage increased smuggling and place additional demands on police. Ailes Communications earned just over $1,000,000 in commission on this one campaign. [3]

Despite Ailes' best efforts, the tobacco industry was defeated. "Although we were not successful, the CAUTI campaign moved an extremely large number of voters to our position. While some television spots were more persuasive than others, the campaign never appeared to make much headway with the large number of people who are extremely anti-smoking," Ailes Communications final report stated. [4]

In the aftermath of anti-tobacco victories in California and other states, the following year politicians began unveiling proposals to further restrict tobacco industry promotion and costs. "The anti-smoking zealots tried first to throw water in everybody's face … now they're throwing legislation," Ailes told one reporter. [5]

Acoording to his biographical profile given to the Energy and Commerce Committee in 1992, Ailes "retired completely from political and corporate consulting to return full-time to television". [6]

Internal Philip Morris documents, however, reveal Ailes advised the company until at least 1994. A memo from PM's Washington office to head office providing an outline of supplementary monthly budget expenditures on consultants, listed "Roger Ailes contract" with a figure of $15,000 under the heading "general media strategy". [7]

In May 1993, Philip Morris's top disinformation executive Craig Fuller sent a memo, titled "Firing Line show on Sin Taxes", to his colleagues. "I think we should look into this. Roger Ailes and I have talked about running ads with a coalition we will form ... one name "Coalition for Fair Funding of Health Care." We might get the group … with whatever name … to help fund the show. It is definitely worth thinking about and looking at more closely". (PM is the 'we' referred to in the note). [8] (See Americans for Tax Reform and Defeating Clinton's Healthcare Plan for more details on the PM campaign to defeat proposals to fund an expanded health care plan with an increase in the tobacco excise rate.)

A few weeks later the Vice President of Philip Morris USA Corporate Affairs, Ellen Merlo, sent a letter to Ailes informing him of the results of some market research on smoking. "Suffice it to say the percentages of those embarrassed about smoking and the militant antis are shifting very rapidly, so that we are losing support," she glumly reported.[9]

Internal Philip Morris documents reveal that Ailes' work for Philip Morris continued until at least the end of June 1994. A June 1994 e-mail to Craig Fuller canvassing possible speakers for a meeting the following month, Thomas Collamore wrote suggesting "(some possibilities: Roger Ailes who we pay 5k a month to be available;" before suggesting other possibilities.[10]

Ailes role in the media industry includes:

  • in 1991 persuading "a syndicator to bring Rush Limbaugh from radio to television. He also became executive producer of the late-night show";
  • In 1993 was appointed President of NBC's cable channel CNBC;
  • introduced NBC cable channel, 'America's Talking' in 1994;
  • in January 1996 he was appointed as chief executive officer of Fox News and the FOX News Channel and, according to his biographical note, "also serves as a senior advisor to Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of the News Corporation Limited".


  1. Museum of Broadcast Communications Roger Ailes, accessed October 23, 2009