Gabriel Sherman: Roger Ailes May Benefit as a Result of Hacking Scandal

By Alex Weprin 

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New York‘s Gabriel Sherman writes about the hacking scandal and how it may affect Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Sherman recalls the statement criticizing Ailes made by Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law, Matthew Freud:

“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.”

Sherman notes that if one switched “Roger Ailes” for “News of the World,” it would seem to be a perfect fit. He also notes that with James Murdoch’s succession to CEO put in jeopardy by the scandal, he becomes an even more integral part of the company:

Now Ailes may not have to worry about James after all. If James winds up mortally compromised by the hacking scandal — he is in charge of News International, the News Corp. division at the heart of the hacking spree, and personally approved out-of-court settlements to hacking victims that now could be seen as hush money — Ailes will have one less potential future boss to worry about.

Beyond the palace intrigue over succession, the scandal also makes Ailes all the more central to News Corp.’s business. Today’s news that News Corp. will abandon efforts to acquire all of BSkyB makes Fox’s nearly $1 billion in annual profits indispensable to the company’s bottom line. Without a future BSkyB deal to juice profits, Rupert needs Ailes now more than ever.