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A Memo From the Beginning of the Roger Ailes Era — New York Magazine


Illustration by Tony Millionaire

In May 1974, Roger Ailes got his first television-news job as a PR consultant at a fledging network called TVN, founded to combat the perceived liberal consensus of the Big Three. Ailes, despite his inexperience, was promoted to news director four months later. In a 1975 programming memo, excerpted below, Bruce Herschensohn, a former Nixon aide and film director, described how TVN could adapt the tricks and tropes of television news to conservative ends.

Creation of News:
We can send a newsman and a camera crew over to the Capitol and talk to a congressman or senator about “the story.” If the congressman or senator is willing, we can create news immediately. Most are willing. It is definitely an opportunity to be seen and heard. If it doesn’t turn out [the way we] wanted, we can throw it away.



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