Dear Rupert, if I may call you that …

News from 21st Century Fox, which is separate from …

New York, NY – July 21, 2016 – 21st Century Fox today announced that Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately.

Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.

Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman, 21st Century Fox, said:

“Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country.  Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.

Fox News has given voice to those who were ignored by the traditional networks and has been one of the great commercial success stories of modern media.

It is always difficult to create a channel or a publication from the ground up and against seemingly entrenched monopolies. To lead a flourishing news channel, and to build Fox Business, Roger has defied the odds.

His grasp of policy and his ability to make profoundly important issues accessible to a broader audience stand in stark contrast to the self-serving elitism that characterizes far too much of the media.

I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice.  Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country.

To ensure continuity of all that is best about Fox News and what it stands for, I will take over as Chairman and acting CEO, with the support of our existing management team under Bill Shine, Jay Wallace and Mark Kranz.”

Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s Executive Chairman, and CEO, respectively, said:

“We join our father in recognizing Roger’s remarkable contributions to our company. Our talented Fox News and Fox Business colleagues, up and down the organization and on both sides of the camera, have built something that continues to redefine the cable news experience for millions of viewers. We are enormously proud of their accomplishments. For them, as well as for our colleagues across our entire organization, we continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.”

The word “acting” means that Rupert won’t be the chairman and CEO of Fox News for long, after engineering Ailes’ departure for Ailes’ sin of publicly embarrassing his employer. Unless Murdoch has a replacement in mind (and he certainly may), he’ll be looking for the permanent (or as permanent as anything in the media) chairman and CEO.

I think I should apply. I have nearly 30 years of media experience, in print, in front of the camera and microphone, and online. (Ailes worked for the Mike Douglas show when, in 1967, he had a conversation with some guy named Richard Nixon about the power of television. Nixon hired him as his TV consultant. Ailes then went on to work for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush before starting Fox News Channel.) Have I worked in major network or cable TV? No, but neither did Ailes before he got the Fox job.

It must be said that for most of Ailes’ time at Fox, it indeed became a “distinctive, powerful voice,” and it is true that “Our nation needs a robust Fox News” to counteract the media outlets that are uniformly critical of Republicans and conservatives and sycophantic to Democrats and liberals.

Fox News gets considerable criticism from the media left, and Fox News has generally cried about that all the way to the bank. It is interesting that no one else has tried to emulate Fox News’ strategy of news from a conservative perspective. That’s interesting considering that Fox employs commentators who are not conservatives (former U.S. Sens. Evan Bayh (D–Indiana) and Zell Miller (D–Georgia), longtime Democratic operative Bob Beckel, Alan Colmes, Juan Williams and Geraldo Rivera, though the latter’s political beliefs depend on whatever he thinks will help his career the most), which MSNBC cannot say with the exception of “Morning Joe” Scarborough, a former Republican congressman.

I’m not the person to bring in to do something new. I am the person to bring in to do what you do better. (And without bimbo eruptions.) From what I see of Fox News, I would say that better separation of its news programming and its opinion programming would be helpful, though lefties will criticize Fox News until TV is discontinued. And of course any news channel needs to emphasize Breaking News!, which is not hard to do in these perilous times of ours.

As part of the Murdochs’ empire, Fox News can use the resources of Sky News, the Wall Street Journal, Fox Business and, for that matter, Fox Sports, rights-holder of the NFL and Major League Baseball. That’s an impressive list. (I would suggest a strategic acquisition: Accuweather, the weather forecasters who, unlike NBCUniversal’s Weather Channel, do not substitute global warming propaganda for actual weather coverage.) Fox News and its sister channels have some great talent, including Brit Hume and Chris Wallace; Allouez’s own Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal; Maria Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto and Stuart Varney on business; Charles Krauthammer; and John Stossel for the libertarian point of view. (One frequent guest who needs his own show is Jonah Goldberg. It would be hilarious to do a TV version of his “Goldberg File” Friday National Review column.)

Fox News got criticism from fans of Donald Trump when Megyn Kelly dared to ask him tough questions. That shows more about fans of The Donald than about Fox News. One of my biggest criticisms of the GOP and conservatives is their automatically assuming that tough questioning equals media bias, along with a lot of conservatives’ difficulty in dealing with the media. (One Republican who does not have this problem: Scott Walker.) Fox News and every other news medium should be the toughest questioners possible of every politician, regardless of party or lack thereof. Fox News should have, and should, vet any Republican’s record more completely (but factually and in proper context) than CNN, MSNBC or anyone else. Fox News should not be in favor of any particular candidate.

Being a CEO, from what I’ve observed, is about the quality of your decisions. The best CEO advice I’ve seen came from the best CEO I knew, former Green Bay Packers president Bob Harlan, who took a financially reasonably successful business with bad football into a juggernaut — hire the right people and let them do their jobs, with an eye to the long view, not just the next quarter. I’m a reporter at heart, and the questions to ask are the five Ws, one H and WDIM — Who, What, Where, When, Why, How, and What Does It Mean to the audience.

The thing Fox News provides, and can provide, is fair treatment of conservatives and conservative causes. That never happens on MSNBC, and it appears to have cost them money to the point that MSNBC has been deemphasizing its liberal crap. (Though not enough to fire Rachel Maddow and the allegedly Rev. Al Sharpton.) Given the future disaster that will be a Hillary Clinton presidency, Fox News isn’t going to run out of things to cover.


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