Back in his past life as a political consultant—where he engineered public relations coups like the famous “Revolving Door” ad that more or less single-handedly destroyed Michael Dukakis—Fox News CEO Roger Ailes once asked a rhetorical question: “If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”
Ailes’ own plummet into the orchestra pit picked up speed today, with Deadline reporting that Rupert Murdoch has officially removed him from his role at the top of the Fox News pyramid. That comes after more than half a dozen Fox News staffers—including on-air talent Gretchen Carlson—accused him of sexually harassing them during their time at the network. Reportedly, Murdoch and his associates were attempting to engineer a more graceful exit for Ailes, but decided today that it was “time for him to go.”
It’s not clear what Ailes’ departure will mean for the cable news giant. In many ways, Ailes was Fox News, serving as its first and only CEO, laying all the prep work for its stratospheric rise in the post-9/11 world, and even personally meeting with and interviewing most members of the network’s staff. Murdoch has yet to name a successor to step through the revolving door and take up the network’s “fair and balanced” cause.