Monica Lewinsky offered her own take on longtime Fox News boss Roger Ailes, who died May 18 at age 77. Lewinsky wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times that Ailes was a key player when her relationship with then-President Bill Clinton came to light in the 1990s.
“Mr. Ailes, a former Republican political operative, took the story of the affair and the trial that followed and made certain his anchors hammered it ceaselessly, 24 hours a day,” Lewinsky wrote. “It worked like magic: The story hooked viewers and made them Fox loyalists. For the past 15 years, Fox News has been the No. 1 news station; last year the network made about $2.3 billion.”
Lewinsky adds: “Some experts have noted that viewers found Fox for the first time because of the crisis. John Moody, a Fox executive editor, reflected on that period: ‘The Lewinsky saga put us on the news map.’ As he put it in another interview: ‘Monica was a news channel’s dream come true.’”
“Their dream was my nightmare,” Lewinsky writes. “My character, my looks and my life were picked apart mercilessly. Truth and fiction mixed at random in the service of higher ratings. My family and I huddled at home, worried about my going to jail — I was the original target of Kenneth Starr’s investigation, threatened with 27 years for having been accused of signing a false affidavit and other alleged crimes — or worse, me taking my own life. Meantime, Mr. Ailes huddled with his employees at Fox News, dictating a lineup of talking heads to best exploit this personal and national tragedy.”
We encourage readers to click here to go to The New York Times to read Lewinsky’s piece in full.