Monica Lewinsky Wrote An Obituary For Roger Ailes And It Was BRUTAL

Last week, disgraced former Fox News chief, Roger Ailes, died. I know you’re supposed to speak reverentially about the dead, but Ailes was toxic. He was a misogynist, a racist and he turned low information voters into a key demographic. Without Roger Ailes, we would likely not have had two illegal wars and we wouldn’t have BLOTUS Trump.

For some, though, their toxic relationship with Ailes was far more personal. One notable example of a life he ruined was Monica Lewinsky, who, to this day, is best known as the woman who gave Bill Clinton a blow job. Lewinsky penned her own obituary for Ailes, and there was no reverence. There was resentment and a whole lot of truth.

“This is not another obituary for Roger Ailes,” Lewinsky wrote, “who died last week 10 months after being ousted at Fox News. It is, I hope, instead an obituary for the culture he purveyed — a culture that affected me profoundly and personally.”

Hard to deny that. Thanks to Fox News, a consensual affair suddenly became the scandal of the decade — it was the story that was supposed to undo a presidency. Without Lewinsky, Fox News might not be Fox News today.

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.”

But amid that, Fox created the culture of mean. They somehow managed to portray Bill Clinton as a predator (ironic given the culture at Fox News) while portraying Lewinsky as unworthy of a powerful man’s attentions.

Their dream was my nightmare. 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 Ken Starr’s investigation, threatened with 27 years for having been accused of signing a false affidavit, obstructing justice, suborning perjury and other 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.

Lewinsky lamented the fact that it wasn’t only Fox, and that Fox changed the media landscape. Even MSNBC was committed to almost non-stop coverage of the scandal that shouldn’t have been. The internet, though, made it much, much worse.

Just as television news was devolving into a modern coliseum, the internet came along and compounded this culture of shame and vitriol. Remember: The story of my affair was not broken by The Washington Post, The New York Times or the networks, but online by the Drudge Report. The comments on television and online were excruciating. I ceased being a three-dimensional person. Instead I became a whore, a bimbo, a slut and worse. Just days after the story broke, Fox asked its viewers to vote on this pressing question: Is Monica Lewinsky an “average girl” or a “young tramp looking for thrills”?

Lewinsky isn’t cheering for Fox News to be cancelled. In fact, she praised them for firing Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, both of whom were accused of being serial sexual harassers. She also said she believes that credible conservative voices should be heard, that it’s an important part of a healthy democracy. However, Ailes helped create the current cruel and toxic political environment, and for that, he won’t be missed.


Featured image of Monica Lewinsky via Bryan Bedder/Getty Images | Featured image of Roger Ailes via Handout/Getty Images.