The Fox News/Roger Ailes/House of Murdoch rumpus proceeds apace, here in a Daily Beast piece from Lloyd Grove:
Several News Corp. veterans tell Lloyd Grove that Roger Ailes may soon be out as Fox News chief—and that Rupert Murdoch can’t have been pleased with a story depicting his employee as the savior of a struggling empire.
That story appeared in the New York Times on Sunday, touting Mr. Ailes as the alpha male of Murdoch’s News Corp.
[Ailes] made $23 million last year in salary, bonuses and other compensation, more than Mr. Murdoch
Beyond that, the Times reported:
At a time when the broadcast networks are struggling with diminishing audiences and profits in news, [Ailes] has built Fox News into the profit engine of the News Corporation. Fox News is believed to make more money than CNN, MSNBC and the evening newscasts of NBC, ABC and CBS combined. The division is on track to achieve $700 million in operating profit this year, according to analyst estimates that Mr. Ailes does not dispute.
This outsize success has placed Mr. Ailes, an aggressive former Republican political strategist, at the pinnacle of power in three corridors of American life: business, media and politics. In addition to being the best-paid person in the News Corporation last year, he is the most successful news executive of the last 10 years, and his network exerts a strong influence on the fractured conservative movement.
The Times piece included Murdoch’s perfunctory endorsement of Ailes (think, vote of confidence in a baseball manager):
Mr. Murdoch, in a statement relayed by a spokesman, said: “I’m proud of Fox News and what it is accomplishing, and I am grateful to Roger and his team for creating such a great asset for News Corporation.”
But more telling was Murdoch son-in-law Matthew Freud’s statement to the Times:
“I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to.”
That sound you hear just might be an empire crumbling.