Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

George HW Bush weighs in on Ailes' death

George HW Bush weighs in on Ailes' death

The co-founder and longtime CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, died Thursday morning at the age of 77.

Ailes' wife said in a statement she's "profoundly sad and heartbroken at her husband's passing".

"He wasn't ideal, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him", the 41st president tweeted Thursday.

Palm Beach police officials said this morning that Ailes didn't die in Palm Beach, though Palm Beach Fire-Rescue crews were summoned to his home last week, according to a dispatch report.

After a lifetime of toiling behind the scenes of political campaigns and news organizations, Roger Ailes' death has served as one last opportunity to divide opinions on the left and right.

It was unclear from the report who dialed 911 or whether the man was taken to the hospital.

Twenty-First Century Fox noted in a recent quarterly report that it paid $45 million in settlements related to sexual harassment allegations against Ailes. "Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs".

Before founding Fox, Ailes advised Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

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Ailes also reportedly clashed with James and Lachlan Murdoch, the sons of 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, sometimes over personal matters and sometimes over political coverage.

Right-wing radio host Alex Jones publicly credited Ailes for pioneering the ultra-conservative media space that allows people like him to thrive.

His ouster set off a chain of events that led to the departure of Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly earlier this year under similar circumstances, forcing Fox to bring in an independent law firm to investigate harassment at the network.

But in little more than two weeks, both his legacy and job unraveled following allegations by former anchor Gretchen Carlson that he had forced her out of Fox News after she spurned his sexual advances.

The Republican success can not be totally attributed to Ailes' network, of course, but there was broad agreement Thursday on both sides of the aisle that Ailes' conservative network was a major factor.

Fox News personality Sean Hannity, who hosts the eponymous show, wrote a tribute to late boss Roger Ailes, whom he referred to as a "second father". When it comes down to it though, whether you like him or not, you have to admit that he was a very powerful political figure - perhaps not exactly what you want in a CEO of a TV news station though.

Ailes' was also an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign in 2016, where he assisted him with debate preparation.

"Today, America lost one of its great patriotic warriors", Hannity tweeted.

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