Slug-like sexual predator and architect of today’s broken political discourse Roger Ailes died this morning, disgraced and unemployed. Online, you can read equivocating takes that attempt to contextualize his crimes with praise for his media savvy, as well as positive takes from the strong-chinned know-nothings still thriving in the house he built along with fellow sexual predator Bill O’Reilly. But mostly, what you will see online today is people lining up to take a shit on his corpse before it can even be put in the ground.
At Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi eulogized him beautifully, noting that this is the exact treatment he deserves:
We are a hate-filled, paranoid, untrusting, book-dumb and bilious people whose chief source of recreation is slinging insults and threats at each other online, and we’re that way in large part because of the hyper-divisive media environment he discovered.
Politics were never clean or friendly, in America or elsewhere, but Ailes exploited the polarity of American public opinion, driving the right further right and doing more than almost anyone else to create the deeply vituperative conservative echo chamber that gave rise to alternative facts and their avatar, President Donald Trump. Ailes was a Machiavellian, almost cartoonishly evil figure who happened to also be terrifyingly real, most particularly to the women he systematically harassed while running Fox News.
And so his death was received with great delight online:
There are many, many more such reminiscences, scrolling on forever, a vast assembly of middle-fingers hailing his passing as one less pasty, corrupt leech to share the oxygen of this planet with. It may not be what he would have wanted, but in his final, gurgling moments, someone as cynical as him had to have expected it.