Opinion: Fox News helped polarize a nation. The reaction to Roger Ailes’ death reflects that.

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in 2006.
Then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in 2006.
(Jim Cooper / Associated Press)

No single person is arguably more responsible for creating the political environment that gave us President Trump than longtime Fox News chief Roger Ailes. And arguably because of the Trump administration’s historically chaotic two weeks, Ailes’ death on Thursday is not generating the chatter one might otherwise expect.

As of this writing, fewer than 10 readers have written letters on the controversial Fox News creator who was ousted last year amid a sexual harassment scandal. But the letters that have been received reflect the polarization in this country that many people blame his former cable news network for helping to create. Readers remember Ailes as either an American hero or a villain, and not as anything in between.

Woodland Hills resident Brian J. Goldenfeld places Ailes alongside other late conservative heavyweights:

Ailes belongs right up there with William F. Buckley Jr. as a key force in adapting and popularizing modern conservatism. Just as Buckley rescued us from the me-too-ism of the New Deal era, so did Ailes help us find our voice after Ronald Reagan left the scene.


It is no exaggeration to say that Fox News has saved this country, and the credit goes mainly to Ailes.
Kemp Richardson, Santa Clarita

Without Ailes, we would still have to be content with the droppings of the conventional media, accepting their center-left synthesis of current opinion. He made it possible for us to be heard. He created the conditions for our political triumphs.

And, in the process, he forced other outlets to choose their paths. MSNBC has found success in becoming the liberal alternative. CNN has yet to find its place.

Hopefully, the Murdoch family does not undo all the good that Ailes did at Fox News. Without him there to keep them on the conservative path, we don’t really know what to expect.


Ailes’ death is a loss for us all. May he rest in peace.

Richard Kopelle of Los Angeles doesn’t have anything nice to say about Ailes:

It is hard for me to shed a tear for Ailes. Under the powerful empire of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, Ailes and his people tapped into a lucrative market that legitimized deceptive and false information for a vulnerable populace.

Ailes and his cohorts helped bring America into this post-truth reality in which we live now.

Similarly, Rodney Hoffman of Montecito Heights declines to identify Ailes as a force for good:

Ailes is second only to Reagan as being responsible for the rise of the right.

I agree with Fox News host Sean Hannity that Ailes “has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape singlehandedly.” But Hannity says that was “for the better.”

Maybe this is true if you are employed by Fox News. For the rest of the country, it’s been a lasting disaster.


Santa Clarita resident Kemp Richardson regards Ailes as an American savior:

It is no exaggeration to say that Fox News has saved this country, and the credit goes mainly to Ailes.

He was a truly great man, the likes of whom will not be seen again in our lifetimes.

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