Big news in the media world Thursday: Fox News founder Roger Ailes has died at age 77, reports the BBC. His family confirmed it in a statement: “I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning," says his wife, Elizabeth. "Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many." No cause of death has been specified. Ailes resigned as president and chairman of Fox last year amid allegations of sexual harassment. Prior to that, however, Ailes is credited with turning Rupert Murdoch's Fox from its launch in 1996 into a media powerhouse and a cable ratings champion by purveying right-leaning news. As CNN notes, he was "arguably the most powerful man in media" while running Fox. Snippets from early coverage:
- Washington Post: "To Republicans and conservatives, he was an essential counterweight, a tough but fair partisan, a middle American from a blue-collar background who gleefully and effectively poked holes in the left-leaning biases of the news media establishment."
- NPR: "Ailes was famous for his shrewd leadership of Fox, including his focus on hiring on-air staff with big personalities. But he left Fox with a tarnished legacy, facing legal actions over allegations of sexual harassment."
- Sean Hannity: "He has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape singlehandedly for the better," tweeted the Fox News host.
- Variety: "A master of communication, Ailes represented the convergence of television and politics. With the determination of a pit bull, he helped shape public opinion, first as an adviser to presidential candidates Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush and, later, as a television news executive."
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