David Zurawik

Roger Ailes on his way out at Fox, report says

Roger Ailes' tenure as the leader of Fox News may be coming to an end, according to a report by Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine.

According to Sherman, it is no longer a matter of if Ailes will be dismissed but rather when it will happen in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit by former Fox show host Gretchen Carlson.


21st Century Fox, the  parent company of Fox News, which has been investigating Ailes' conduct since the suit was filed, issued a statement to Politico Monday saying: "This matter is not yet resolved and the review is not concluded."

As has been widely noted, that is not exactly a hard denial.


Sherman writes that only two issues remain.

First, whether 21st Century Fox will let the 76-year-old Ailes, who founded the top-rated cable channel, resign or will fire him.

Second, there is also a discussion between 21st Century Fox Co-chairman Rupert Murdoch and his two sons, who help run the media company, on timing. The debate here: Should they do it now or after the Republican convention that started today?

No channel or network is so identified with its CEO as Fox is with Ailes. He took a laughingstock start-up and through his outsized ego built it into one of the highest-rated and most profitable channels in the cable TV universe.

It will be a Shakespearean fall if his swagger also included the kind of ugly bullying and harassment that Carlson charges.

Infused with Ailes' right-wing ideology, Fox News became one of the most potent political forces in American life.

Without Ailes at the helm, I am certain that Fox News will flounder. It will have a crushing crisis of nerve and direction.

And the fallout will be felt throughout conservative politics. The fall of Ailes could be bigger news this year than the impotence of the GOP establishment to stop Donald Trump.