By Bill Maher
Now that Roger Ailes is gone, it’s a good to time to zoom out and assess his legacy. I’d describe it as such: he put angry, white blowhards together with leggy blonds in order to usher in the demise of not only television news, but the concept of the demonstrable fact.
And while Roger Ailes may be dead, he is still very much alive and will forever be. In fact, you barely have to miss the man. When you see Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) – an actual Congressman – on CNN, suggesting that that the attack on the Democratic National Committee servers may not have been the work of the Russians, as our intelligence agencies have confirmed, but a Democratic staffer “insider job”, and when pressed to provide evidence for this claim says there is proof “circulating on the Internet” …Roger Ailes is there.
When news organizations like The New York Times and The Washington Post and The AP and Reuters are labeled as “fake news”, and then InfoWars — yes, Infowars, of “Sandy Hook was a false flag operation so Obama could take our guns” fame — was given White House press credentials …Roger Ailes is there.
Of course, there have always been cranks. And the numbers of ill-informed have often equaled the number of Americans who know things. But Ailes created something new — a home for the purveyors of alternative facts, and a place where standards of proof and journalism could be replaced by Sean Hannity’s twisted opinion that the DNC murdered Seth Rich. Roger Ailes took the types of lunacy that used to be confined to ham radio, legitimized it, and brought it to the masses. Perhaps more than any other figure in the last three decades, he is responsible for creating the unreality that kept of our system of government from functioning properly in the observable reality.