Suit against Fox News’ Roger Ailes puts a spotlight on sexual harassment.
It’s been said that Roger Ailes runs the influential, highly rated Fox News Channel like a feisty political campaign, quick to respond in no-holds-barred fashion to real and perceived critics.
The 76-year-old executive will need to muster all his bluster and fight as he faces one of his greatest challenges since assuming the helm at the network as its founding CEO in 1996.
Gretchen Carlson, a former host of The Real Story and Fox & Friends, sued Ailes in a state court in New Jersey on Wednesday, alleging that Ailes sabotaged her career because she refused his sexual advances and that she was subjected to what her suit said was “severe and pervasive” sexual harassment at work. The lawsuit has a sole defendant, Ailes, Fox News’ CEO, but it also cites her former Fox & Friends colleague Steve Doocy for allegedly treating her in a "sexist and condescending" way. ...
For Fox critics and many liberals, it is a satisfying dose of comeuppance for an operation that has never been shy about sharply criticizing the Obama administrationand leftist politics in general. For defenders of Fox, the dominant force in cable news and a powerful player in Republican politics, the lawsuit is a play by a sour-grapes ex-employee who lost key assignments because she was no longer drawing the ratings needed to compete with rivals.
So what does it all mean for the future of AIles, the architect of the cable juggernaut? “It’s premature to jump to any conclusions,” says Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia and author of Dark Genius: The Influential Career of Legendary Political Operative and Fox News Founder Roger Ailes. “He’s a survivor. If anything, he proved that he can remake himself over and over in different contexts.” ...
Fox News is famous for its iconoclastic conservative take on US politics, while rival MSNBC is seen by some experts as becoming its liberal equivalent. But do cable news stations influence election campaigns?
For the best part of a decade Fox News has been the dominant US cable news network.
Its blend of jaunty news during the day, and colourful conservative pundits - like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck - during the evening has proved a popular formula.
Beck has gained notoriety. His eponymous show on Fox News, where he can weave together targets as diverse as Woodrow Wilson, the Black Panthers and Goebbels in a heady hour-long polemic, is watched by 2.5 million people, despite being hours before primetime. It beats its rivals on the other cable news networks more than 4-1. Fox News is for Americans who have felt for years that the media are dominated by the East Coast liberal elites that make decisions that don't reflect the rest of America”
Fox News's dominance has caused concern for some on the other side of the political divide. ...
For all of Fox News's alleged partisanship, there are some analysts who feel MSNBC is going the same way - turning into a liberal version of Fox News.
"It's definitely there," says Prof Kerwin Swint, author of Dark Genius: The Influential Career of Legendary Political Operative and Fox News Founder, Roger Ailes.
"You can see their progression of following the lead of Fox News."