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Roger Ailes, media guru and political strategist, dies at 77

Roger Ailes, media guru and political strategist, dies at 77

Roger Ailes, who transformed TV news by creating the Fox News Channel only to be ousted at the height of his reign for alleged sexual harassment, has died at the age of 77.

"Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many".

The death was announced by his family and reported on Fox News Channel. Former anchor Gretchen Carlson received a hefty settlement past year after filing a lawsuit against Ailes, and fellow former anchor Megyn Kelly also claimed that she was the target of unwanted sexual advances while working there.

Fox News quickly broke into "Fox & Friends" with an alert confirming the news and the co-hosts sounded emotional while reporting the death of their former boss. It's only fitting, then, that whenever Trump does leave office-and eventually when he too leaves this mortal coil-he will exit precisely as Ailes did: richer and with a trail of abused women and despondent sycophants behind him.

"Today, America lost one of its great patriotic warriors", Hannity tweeted.

Ailes revolutionized cable news - and arguably the entire American political landscape - when he founded Fox News in October 1986.

David Axelrod, a longtime political adviser to former President Barack Obama, is acknowledging the legacy of former Fox News chief Roger Ailes.

President Donald J. Trump - Long before Twitter, Ailes' Fox News Channel was the biggest platform in media for conservatives and Republicans to communicate with millions of people who were angry at a perceived leftward slant of the mainstream media. If Ailes was saddened by his departure from Fox, one would imagine the $40 million he received upon leaving lifted his spirits at least a little.

"Fox News often operates nearly as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party", Anita Dunn, communications director in the Obama White House, told CNN in 2009.

They kept the line of communication open ever after a feud erupted between Trump and Kelly, who, in a question at a Republican primary debate, had questioned Trump's treatment of women.

In 1970, as an aide to Nixon, he drew up a 300-page memo titled, "A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News" that spelled out how to harness a conservative media viewpoint on behalf of the party. "The thinking is done for you".

"The power of Fox News can not be overstated in Republican politics", said GOP strategist Alex Conant, who advised two presidential campaigns.

By the 1980s, Ailes was so influential in Republican politics that Ed Rollins, Ronald Reagan's former campaign manager, described him as "our Michelangelo".

Ailes also worked for George H.W. Bush, who won the presidency four years.