Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who left the organisation in disgrace following a series of sexual harassment allegations from female anchors at the network, died yesterday at his residence in Florida at the age of 77. Ailes had had a fall last week, which resulted in bleeding in his brain and he finally succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, as per the reports by Palm Beach County Medical Examiner.

Death of a media phenom

Ailes, who had been appointed by media mogul Rupert Murdoch as the head of Fox News around 20 years ago, enjoyed an iron grip on the organisation and was responsible for shaping the conservative discourse in America during his tenure.

In fact, he had also been an adviser to current US President Donald Trump during his campaign and is known to have prepped him in the lead up to the televised debates against Hillary Clinton last year. Ailes was responsible for shaping the Fox News brand, which became known all over the world and had also identified talents such as Sean Hannity and Bill O' Reilly, who went on to become the loudest voices of conservative politics in the United States. His legacy as perhaps one of the most influential news network heads is certainly secure. However, there are other factors that might yet tarnish his overall legacy.

A controversial legacy

Roger Ailes is certainly not going to get glowing tributes from liberals in America following his death, and certainly not from the female Fox News Anchors who have accused him of sexual harassment at the work place.

Fox News often played up the deepest prejudices of the past starting from race and religion to open call for war, like they did in the lead up to the second Gulf War. The reason why it is often believed that Fox did a lot more damage than good in spite of the fact that it was phenomenon as far as ratings were concerned. If ratings were the only thing, then there is no doubt that Ailes was a resounding success or else Murdoch would not have kept him on the job for two decades.

On the other hand, the revelations made by the former female Fox News anchors about the demand for sexual favours from Ailes and outright harassment at other instances, would certainly tar his image in the eyes of the American public. The fact that he had to eventually step down from his position at Fox News is a damning indictment on his eventual legacy as a public figure.

The lawsuit could now be in a bit of a legal quagmire since according to a certain law in New York State, private interactions with dead people cannot be part of the legal proceedings.

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