This reporting is featured in this week’s edition of Confider, the newsletter pulling back the curtain on the media. Subscribe here and send your questions, tips, and complaints here.
While Fox News weathers multiple scandals of its own making, Elizabeth Ailes, widow of the network’s infamous creator and fallen CEO Roger Ailes, tells Confider: “Karma is a bitch.”
Roger would’ve been 77 today, and to mark the occasion, Elizabeth tweeted a pic in tribute to him, alongside a scathing caption: “It took you 20 years to build Fox News into the powerhouse that it was and only 6 years for the Murdochs to wreak havoc. Rupert thought he could do your job. What a joke. He has the checkbook but could never come close to your genius.”
Confider saw that tweet and immediately cold-called Elizabeth, who then spent a half-hour absolutely railing against the Murdoch family and their handling of a post-Ailes Fox News.
According to her, none of the network’s troubles—including its 2020 election crisis after calling Arizona for Biden, the Dominion election-lies lawsuit, or Tucker Carlson’s firing—would have ever occurred had the Murdochs not fired her late husband amid multiple sexual-harassment allegations.
“Roger never had his hand off the wheel when it came to Fox,” she explained, contrasting it with the Murdochs, who she said “weren’t born here and don’t have the same pedigree.”
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She mocked current News Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch, saying, “I was told he’s a spear fisherman, I don’t know if he spends time in the office,” and recalling how Roger used to refer to brothers James Murdoch and Lachlan as “Tweedle Dumb” and “Tweedle Dumber,” respectively.
But she saved most of her ire for the patriarch, Rupert Murdoch, whom she described as a “jealous man” who fired her husband because “Roger eclipsed Rupert on the world stage.”
She further likened Carlson’s firing to her late husband’s ouster, claiming the Murdochs “figured out how to chop off his head” when he became too big. “That’s what the Murdochs did to Roger, Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling, and they did it to Tucker.”
Elizabeth recalled a time when Rupert “sought solace in my house” after discovering then-wife Wendi Deng’s alleged affair with British PM Tony Blair. She did her best Murdoch impression while recounting how he only wanted to eat sushi instead of her selections of tomato soup and bologna sandwiches; and how he would “nod off” on her “beautiful recliners.”
Elsewhere, she fired off choice insults for Loudest Voice in the Room author Gabriel Sherman (“I don’t think he’s a journalist”), Geraldo Rivera (a “dumbass” who’d often “ruin our vacations” from afar with his antics), and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott (“talented” but a #MeToo gender diversity hire).
Ultimately, Elizabeth concluded rather ominously for Fox’s sake: “As one empire falls, maybe another will rise.”
A rep for Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.