'The Loudest Voice': The true story of the rise and fall of Fox News creator and political landscaper Roger Ailes
Russell Crowe, who plays Ailes in 'The Loudest Voice' is of the opinion that the FOX chief was only colonizing the portion of the news which was available to him
If there ever lived a genius who manipulated and doctored information to make thousands of people believe what he wanted them to, he was Roger Ailes. The right-leaning journalist, on whose life Showtime has made the mini-series 'The Loudest Voice' scheduled to premiere on June 30, built Fox New from the ground up before getting fired in 2016. Ailes, who died in May 2017, is definitely an interesting case study of someone who knew exactly what masterplan to hatch to create a fertile ground for alternative facts and "fake news".
Over the many decades of his career, it became infinitely clear that he vehemently implemented the "Orchestra Pit Theory", which he is credited with inventing. The whole theory can be summed up in one of his famous quotes: "If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, 'I have a solution to the Middle East problem', and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?"
This is evident in the news he pumped out during former President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, in which he claimed: "Barack Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya." To date, Fox News, which was created by him, arguably implements the Orchestra Pit Theory.
Ailes even hired blond beauty queens to serve fear-mongering and blind jingoism on a silver platter as a production assistant at KYW-TV in 1961 Cleveland. After rising through the ranks quickly and donning different roles, he went on to produce the talk-variety show, 'The Mike Douglas Show', which won him a couple of Emmys. It was while working on this show that Ailes met the man who launched his political career — Richard Nixon. After a heated debate, the two earned the respect of each other, and Nixon asked Ailes to serve as his executive producer for television.
He spearheaded the Republican party's current strategy of capitalizing on race-based campaigning highlighting the South and came up with national issues that Nixon could focus on, making the presidential candidate more likable and relatable. His role in Nixon's campaign has been chronicled in the 1968 book 'The Selling of the President', penned by Joe McGinniss.
When the book was released, Ailes, who was at the time, the chairman and CEO of Fox News claimed that the book "changed political writing forever". Since working as a campaign manager for Nixon, Ailes worked on many Republican political campaigns, including the one to reelect Ronald Reagan in 1984 and most recently, President Donald Trump's campaign in 2016, even though he had publically announced his withdrawal from political consulting in 1991.
After his detour into political consulting, he made his way back to cable news by becoming the president of CNBC in 1993, where he created a channel called 'America's Talking'. He also hosted an interview program with the same name. This channel evolved into what we now know as MSNBC. It was during his stint in MSN that complaints started forming against him — some accusing him of being racist and others claiming that he was a sexual predator. One allegation surfaced that he called NBC executive David Zaslav "little f*cking Jew prick" which caused NBC to conduct an internal investigation against Ailes in 1995.
In 1996, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who was Ailes' close aide for many years, invited him to join Fox News as a CEO and later to take over as chairman. In addition to that, he was also chairing Fox Television Stations, 20th Television, MyNetworkTV and Fox Business Network. In short, he became untouchable. However, others who worked in the network — especially women, did not enjoy this luxury. In fact, at this point, it was widely known that he was the all-powerful being in a company that marginalized and demeaned women consistently.
He has been accused of sexual assault by "at least 20" women, including former Fox host Gretchen Carlson, who is a central character in 'The Loudest Voice' and portrayed by Naomi Watts. Fox News employees like Megyn Kelly, Laurie Luhn, Andrea Tantaros, and Rudi Bakhtiar, former Republican National Committee field adviser Kellie Boyle, former model Marsha Callahan, are among the others who have come forward with harassment and assault allegations against Ailes. When these were made public and Fox could no longer control the narrative, Ailes was unceremoniously kicked out, leading him right to the political campaign of Trump, where he successfully packed off yet another Republican candidate to the White House.
While he was there, though, he made the most of his time at Fox News. With an exceptionally good news sense and a notable hatred for liberals, he took Fox ratings right up to the top, along with his own stardom.
Russell Crowe, who plays Ailes in 'The Loudest Voice' is of the opinion that the FOX chief was only colonizing the portion of the news which was available to him. "He simply wanted to create. If he hadn't seen a certain bias in media then Fox News could've been the exact opposite. Outlets like CNN, NBC, etc. everyone had a left-leaning bent, so to him what was available was a conservative audience that was being underserved. And that proved to be very true because you now have one single news network that dominates half the available audience," Crowe elaborated during a recent appearance on Stephen Colbert's 'The Late Show'.
While Crowe, in a way, tries to defend Ailes, the official plot of 'The Loudest Voice' claims that the Showtime miniseries will focus "primarily on the past decade in which Ailes arguably became the Republican Party's de facto leader, while flashing back to defining events in Ailes' life, including an initial meeting with Richard Nixon on the set of 'The Mike Douglas Show' that gave birth to Ailes' political career and the sexual harassment accusations and settlements that brought his Fox News reign to an end."