Roger Ailes is gone, but the world he created is not.
In the wake of the Fox News Channel founder’s death Thursday at 77, leaders in both parties said his TV network’s influence in shaping American politics cannot be overstated.
The former Nixon aide played an essential role in shifting the political debate sharply to the right in less than a generation, employing polarizing and, some say, destructive tactics. Yet without him, friends and foes agree, the GOP’s current control of Washington and statehouses nationwide may not have been possible.
“More than anyone, Roger knew how to frame the message and communicate it to the masses,” said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Fox News host and Ailes friend. “The GOP has long had a problem speaking to people beyond the boardroom and country club. Roger changed that. He was a genius.”
One longtime friend, evangelical Christian leader Ralph Reed, affectionately called Ailes “master of the universe” on Thursday, while former President George H.W. Bush tweeted that he might not have been elected without the Fox chief.
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