Things are rarely simple in the world of huge corporate scandals, especially when the scandal involves an organization that’s as good at controlling the message as Fox News. Everyone has to find a way to come out of it looking like things are still going fine, because anything else would be a show of capitalistic weakness. So, even though we reported earlier this week that Fox News had fired CEO Roger Ailes after multiple women at the network accused him of sexual harassment, it turns out there are a couple more wrinkles to this story.
For starters, a new story from Deadline says that Ailes has “resigned from his role” at Fox News, meaning he didn’t really get fired the other day. This way, Ailes looks like he did the right thing by stepping down and Fox News gets to wash its hands of him as quickly as possible. The only issue with this approach is that it ignores the women who accused Ailes of sexual harassment, but that’s really only a problem if you care about, you know, people, a liability in the world of huge corporate scandals.
Today, 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch released a statement about Ailes’ resignation, and he sounds pretty bummed about it. “Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country,” the statement says, almost as if this isn’t happening because of those allegations. It later adds that “his grasp of policy and his ability to make profoundly important issues accessible to a broader audiences stand in stark contrast to the self-serving elitism that characterizes far too much of the media.” See, Roger Ailes is a man of the people, and it’s a tragedy that his alleged history of sexual harassment has put an end to his crusade against the elitists in the media.
With Ailes gone, though, Fox News is now left without a brave leader to guide its fair and balanced future. Thankfully, Rupert Murdoch himself has decided to step in and become acting CEO for the network, with a statement from his sons explaining that they will continue their “commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect.” Hopefully, Murdoch will be able to honor Ailes’ legacy at Fox News by continuing to make the news more accessible to a broader audience while mostly ignoring the thing that caused Ailes to resign in the first place.