Roger Ailes has been a brilliant TV man who has turned Fox News into a right-wing ratings winner on cable TV. However, some of the choices he's made haven't panned out in the long run for the GOP and he's been turning on the people he helped create. First Glenn Beck, and now, Momma Bear Palin.
Or so we're told in a great piece in the NY Mag:
All the 2012 candidates know that Ailes is a crucial constituency. “You can’t run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger,” one GOPer told me. “Every single candidate has consulted with Roger.” But he hasn’t found any of them, including the adults in the room—Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney—compelling. “He finds flaws in every one,” says a person familiar with his thinking.
“He thinks things are going in a bad direction,” another Republican close to Ailes told me. “Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she’s stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven’t elevated the conservative movement.”
In the aftermath of the Tucson rampage, the national mood seemed to pivot. Ailes recognized that a Fox brand defined by Palin could be politically vulnerable. Two days after the shooting, he gave an interview to Russell Simmons and told him both sides needed to lower the temperature. “I told all of our guys, ‘Shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually.’ ”
“Roger thinks Palin is an idiot. People like her haven’t elevated the conservative movement.”
For Ailes, Tucson was a turning point, suggesting an end to the silly season that had lasted most of Obama’s term as president and that Ailes had promoted and profited from. While Sean Hannity and other Fox pundits continue to hammer away at Obama, Ailes is hedging his bets. The network is pushing to make news anchor Bret Baier a bigger star. Shepard Smith’s newscast has flashes of outright liberalism. And last month, Ailes encouraged Bill O’Reilly—who seemed to be fading at the height of Beck’s power but now has been recast as the right’s reasonable man, Jon Stewart’s comic foil—to shoot down the “birther” conspiracy and other assorted right-wing myths that have dogged Obama since his election.
It's a long piece and well worth the read. Ailes was successful in reigniting the right-wing base and helping them to take back the House, so I'm not celebrating this story as much as some people are. One one hand, Ailes was responsible for transmitting John Birch Society and Ayn Rand beliefs on a massive scale which has only damaged America and the working class. Workers in states like Ohio and Wisconsin were the first to suffer at the hands of the Tea Party and unless we turn out to vote that will only get worse. On the other hand, Roger Ailes lunatic recruitment of the extreme from his party, (highlighted by Paul Ryan's budget) has exposed movement Conservatism as the radical righties that they are and it could cost them big the second time around.