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Fox News Roger Ailes' Profit Machine Seth Wenig / AP Photo

Roger Ailes' Profit Machine

Roger Ailes, son of an Ohio factory worker, is now the highest-paid employee at News Corp., raking in $23 million last year for heading up Fox News. The network made $700 million last year as other news networks struggled. His clout is impressive: Obama blamed the “Fox effect” for dropping two points in the polls, and the network’s backing of a third-party candidate in a New York congressional race was key in getting the GOP candidate to drop out. Ailes has earned the ire of many Democrats and liberals—including those in Rupert Murdoch’s own family. “I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder, and every other global media business aspires to,” said Matthew Freud, who is married to Murdoch’s daughter. But he’s also earned their awe. Democratic consultant James Carville says wistfully, “If he were a Democrat, I think there would be 67 Democratic senators right now.”

January 9, 2010 2:37 PM