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Roger Ailes, GOP Mastermind

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Fox News chief Roger Ailes has advised every Republican president since Richard Nixon, and – as Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson details in this profile – he's engineered some of the dirtiest tricks in American political history. Click through for highlights of Ailes' shady – and highly successful – career as a campaign guru.

As a consultant for Richard Nixon, Ailes bypassed journalists who might pose tough questions, creating fake "town hall" events that enabled the candidate to field softball queries from voters handpicked by the campaign. "The events were not staged," says historian Rick Perlstein. "They were fixed." 

Read: How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory

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Bush ’88: The Willie Horton Revolving Door Ad

Ailes' dirtiest move came during the general election – a TV ad centering on Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who had  escaped from a Massachusetts prison during a weekend furlough when Michael Dukakis was governor and later assaulted a couple, stabbing the man and raping the woman. “The only question,” Ailes bragged to a reporter, “is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand – or without it.”

Knowing that such an overt move could backfire on the campaign, Ailes instead opted to evoke Horton by showing a line of convicts entering and exiting a prison through a revolving door of prison bars.

Read: How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory

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Bush ’00: Fox Calls It

The man Ailes put in charge of calling states on election night was John Prescott Ellis - George W. Bush's first cousin. His premature call for Bush spurred every other network to follow suit. "Of everything that happened on election night," said Rep. Henry Waxman, "this was the most important in impact."

Read: How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory