Roger Ailes is out at Fox News. The media tycoon resigned on Thursday, just two weeks after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. Ailes, the founder and now former CEO of Fox News, had a long history in Republican politics before building Fox News into a media powerhouse. Here, Dan Kennedy, associate professor in the School of Journalism and a nationally known media commentator, talks about Ailes’ swift downfall and what his departure may mean for the future of journalism.
Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post wrote, “Two weeks. That’s all it took from Gretchen Carlson’s filing a sexual harassment suit against Fox News chief Roger Ailes to the evident demise of one of the most powerful figures in American media and politics.” Are you surprised at the swiftness of the investigation and Ailes’s ultimate resignation?
I’m surprised and I’m not surprised. We talked about this recently on WGBH-TV’s Beat the Press. At the time we were all in agreement that if no other women came forward, then Carlson’s claims were likely to fizzle into a he said/she said standoff. As it turned out, numerous other women emerged to level serious accusations of sexual harassment against Ailes. Once that occurred, it was only a matter of time before he’d be shown the door.