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


NEW YORK (AP) Developments on Thursday, May 18, about the death of media guru and political strategist Roger Ailes (all times Eastern Daylight Time).

  • 8:00 p.m.

Bill O’Reilly warmly remembered the Fox News Channel founder during a 4-minute tribute on his podcasts.

Ailes, 77, died in Palm Beach, Florida, after suffering injuries in a May 10 fall at his home.

O’Reilly praised Ailes as a visionary and someone who “didn’t take any guff from the left or the right” politically.

Ailes was ousted from Fox in July after accusations of sexual harassment. O’Reilly was fired from his top-rated show on Fox in April after reports surfaced that the network had settled lawsuits with five women who alleged he sexually harassed them. O’Reilly denied those accusations.

O’Reilly said Ailes’ departure from Fox News “broke his heart,” and after he was forced out Ailes was “never the same.”

  • 4:49 P.M.

The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office said Ailes died of a subdural hematoma — or bleeding on the brain — caused by the fall more than a week earlier. The death was ruled accidental and there was no evidence of foul play.

According to a Palm Beach police report, a caller contacted 911 dispatchers just before 2:00 p.m. on May 10, saying Ailes had fallen in his bathroom, hit his head, and had serious bleeding.

  • 4:17 p.m.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., added his voice to those mourning Ailes.

“In the years I worked with Ailes he was a great mentor, deeply patriotic, committed to Fox News, and really worried about America,” Gingrich tweeted.

“Roger Ailes was a genius at politics and the news media. His advice to Presidents Nixon and Reagan was historic and helped elect both.”

  • 2:14 p.m.

David Axelrod, a longtime political adviser to former President Obama, acknowledged Ailes’ legacy.

“For better or worse & the ignominious end 2 his reign at Fox News, the impact of Roger Ailes on American politics & media was indisputable,” Axelrod tweeted.

In 2009, Axelrod said the Fox News Channel was “not really a news station” and that much of the programming was “not really news.”

  • 1:05 p.m.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Fox News personality and a friend of Ailes, called the former Fox chief “a genius.”

“More than anyone, Roger knew how to frame the message and communicate it to the masses,” Huckabee said.

“The GOP has long had a problem speaking to people beyond the board room and country club — Roger changed that. He was a genius.”

  • 12:40 p.m.

Former President George H.W. Bush added his voice to the many on social media mourning Ailes, saying his election in 1988 was in part due to the media strategist.

Ailes acted as a consultant to Bush during his 1988 presidential bid.

“He wasn’t perfect, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him. Not sure I would have been President w/o his great talent, loyal help. RIP”

  • 11:55 a.m.

Details emerged about the accident Ailes suffered in Florida a few days before died.

Police said a 911 caller told them Ailes was not responding appropriately to questions and was still on the ground. Paramedics arrived within a minute and he was taken to a hospital.

  • 11:36 a.m.

Fox personalities including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham were among those remembering Ailes.

“Roger Ailes founded one of the most important and successful media outlets in American history. I will miss his friendship dearly. RIP,” Ingraham tweeted.

“He has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape singlehandedly for the better,” Hannity tweeted.

  • 11:03 a.m.

Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch issued a statement on Ailes’ death, saying the media giant was “shocked and grieved” by his passing.

“A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America’s media over the last 30 years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted,” the statement read.

“Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs.”

  • 10:28 a.m.

Elizabeth Ailes announced her husband’s death at the age of 77.

A former Republican operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and a one-time adviser to President Donald Trump, Ailes’ TV network changed the face of 24-hour news. In early 1996, he accepted a challenge from media titan Murdoch to build a news network from scratch to compete with CNN and other TV outlets they deemed left-leaning.

But in little more than two weeks, both his legacy and job unraveled following allegations by former anchor Gretchen Carlson that he had forced her out of Fox News after she spurned his sexual advances. The lawsuit quickly triggered accounts from more than 20 women with similar stories.