NEW YORK (AP/WCMH) – Roger Ailes, who transformed TV news by creating Fox News Channel, only to be ousted at the height of his reign for alleged sexual harassment, died Thursday, Fox News reported. He was 77.
A former GOP operative to candidates including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Ailes later turned his media savvy to running TV networks. In early 1996 he accepted a challenge from media titan Rupert Murdoch to build a news network from scratch to compete with CNN.
That October, Ailes flipped the switch on Fox News Channel. It became the audience leader in cable news. It also emerged as a powerful force on the political scene, while the feisty, hard-charging Ailes swatted off criticism that the network he branded as “Fair and Balanced” had a conservative tilt.
Many students at Ohio University, his alma mater, said they don’t remember him for his success.
“He was involved in some scandals that just leaves an unsavory taste,” said OU student Lia Rosa Brunetti.
Another OU student Enakshi Roy added, “I don’t think I would have thought much about it had the controversy not happen last year.”
Before the controversy, Ailes was a student right here at Ohio University. He graduated in 1962, and never forgot about OU.
He gave them a $500-thousand donation in 2007 to build a new newsroom that was named after him.
In 2016 that all changed. More than two dozen female Fox News employees claimed Ailes has sexually harassed them. The accusations created a problem here at OU
“We had quite a bit of fallout at OU given the fact that we had a newsroom in his name,” said Roy.
It’s now called “the newsroom” after the university’s president made the decision to change it.
“It’s sad that his legacy ended in a sad way,” Roy added.
The university did release this statement which reads.
“Today, we learned of the passing of alumnus Roger Ailes. Ohio University sends heartfelt condolences to the Ailes family.”
Ailes was forced to resign from Fox News last year but he never admitted to any of the harassment claims.