New at Rollingstone.com, how Roger Ailes – onetime Nixon operative, brilliant master of political dirty tricks, true-believing wingnut – built the most powerful propaganda machine in history: Fox News. A major theme of Tim Dickinson's definitive profile is that Ailes, who likes to say he quit politics when he took the helm at Fox, in 1996, only shifted to playing politics by other means – making himself into the all-powerful Don Corleone of the conservative movement by molding his TV network into a stunningly effective political message machine. As former Bush speechwriter David Frum tells Dickinson, "Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us. Now we’re discovering that we work for Fox."
From the piece:
[Fox News] plays a leading role in defining Republican talking points and advancing the agenda of the far right. Fox News tilted the electoral balance to George W. Bush in 2000, prematurely declaring him president in a move that prompted every other network to follow suit. It helped create the Tea Party, transforming it from the butt of late-night jokes into a nationwide insurgency capable of electing U.S. senators. Fox News turbocharged the Republican takeover of the House last fall, and even helped elect former Fox News host John Kasich as the union-busting governor of Ohio – with the help of $1.26 million in campaign contributions from News Corp. And by incubating a host of potential GOP contenders on the Fox News payroll– including Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – Ailes seems determined to add a fifth presidential notch to his belt in 2012. "Everything Roger wanted to do when he started out in politics, he’s now doing 24/7 with his network," says a former News Corp. executive. "It’s come full circle."
Read the full story: How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory by Tim Dickinson