Roger Ailes has been running Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News since God was a girl. According to The New York Magazine, he is also effectively ‘the head of the Republican Party, having employed five prospective presidential candidates and done perhaps more than anyone to alter the balance of power in the national media in favor of the Republicans’. Yes, it’s another episode of How Murdoch Really runs Everything.
But Ailes has of late landed himself in a bit of hot water.
The small-town newspapers in New York’s Hudson Valley that Fox News chief Roger Ailes owns with his wife Elizabeth are in a staff revolt after employees caught Ailes spying on them…and using Newscorp’s security chaps to do it.
Whatever else people may think about Roger Ailes, there is broad agreement on the fact that he is decidedly odd. The spying fest followed years of strange memos and calls between his papers’ editor and Ailes, who once asked him to personally stop a break-in at their home, and implied that, after Roger’s death, he’d be expected to replace him in their marriage.
In late March, Ailes confronted the three staffers and accused them of badmouthing him and Elizabeth during their lunch breaks. One of the employees, Joe Lindsley, had noticed a black Lincoln Navigator following him, according to several sources familiar with the incident. The gumshoe was a bad choice, as the newspaperman knew him socially; the Lincoln driver soon confessed that, although a Newscorp security man, he was following his friend at Ailes’s direction. As Ailes owns the papers personally, Uncle Roop may want to know why News Corporation shareholders were paying for security guards to follow Roger’s perceived enemies.
All told, a dozen full-time and freelance staffers have left the Ailes’ Putnam County papers in the last 10 months. In addition to the aforementioned instances of surveillance, several former employees told website The Gawker that they had reason to suspect that their e-mail was being read and that rooms in the News and Recorder offices were bugged—Ailes, who is notoriously obsessed with his personal security, has the building thoroughly wired with video cameras. As if to underscore the message that the Aileses are all-seeing, the single unisex bathroom in the papers’ headquarters features portraits of Elizabeth and Roger on the walls. Big Brother and his wife are there, as it were, to watch the employees defaecate.
Ah well, it makes a change from hacking mobiles.