The world is fueled by politics these days, perhaps more so than in the history of this country. What's even more frightening is that there is little room for middle ground these days and more and more people have chosen one side or the other. Even scarier is the fact that the press has revealed themselves in recent years to be more one sided politically than they exposed themselves to be in the past. But even in stating that opinion there is controversy with one side claiming I'm right and the other saying I'm wrong and that they are merely reporting the news. History would say otherwise.
Which brings us to this film, DIVIDE AND CONQUER THE TRUE STORY OF ROGER AILES. The documentary from A&E (owned by Disney/ABC) attempts to paint a portrait of a man who knew how to manipulate people toward his own cause and beliefs. Those were right leaning conservative ideas. It follows his life starting with his childhood, moving quickly on to his time working with Richard Nixon and on through his years helping other Presidents get elected. Then he moves on to something even bigger, the creation of Fox News.
Along the way incidents of alleged sexual misconduct followed Ailes. From his producing days while working on THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW to his time at Fox, Ailes was supposed to have hit on nearly every female employee that worked for him. He had affairs with his aides and was married three times. It was this last bout of accusations that led to his being ousted from the behemoth he had created and made the number one news channel in the country.
So how is the movie? Confusing, infuriating, interesting and leaving at least myself with more questions than answers. Those who find Ailes to be the devil will no doubt adore the movie and not put it in perspective, finding it a film that justifies their beliefs not so much about the man but Fox News itself. The channel takes a lot of hits in the film. But that's what makes the film so confusing.
In a world filled with # metoo stories the movies takes numerous shots at Fox while ignoring the myriad of other networks suffering the same stories. We get to hear about Ailes and host Bill O'Reilly while nothing is said of Charlie Rose (seen in clips here),Matt Lauer or several other network execs who've gone through the same process and been ousted as well. While the movie is about Ailes, why focus solely on him and not discuss the entire movement that led to this juncture?
The movie also tries to have it both ways with claims that Ailes wasn't all that smart in one sentence and then claiming he was Machiavellian in the next, creating a news channel based completely on political beliefs without any value as a news source. Either his a genius or an idiot but the film tries to claim that he was both at the same time. Huh?
It also fails to discuss the fact that the channel does have a news division kept apart from its commentary programming which fills most of its air time. And it paints those commentary shows as extremist propaganda, again ignoring the fact that channels such as MSNBC and CNN both do the exact same thing but coming from a different political point of view. How does one complain about a channel doing this but then never discuss the fact that all major news channels these days have followed suit? And perhaps that's the biggest thing about Ailes that they fail to discuss, the fact that his channel pushed the others into coming out and doing the same thing in an attempt to win back ratings.
Along these same lines they claim that he was shaping the country in one sentence and a few minutes later they say that he was tapped into what America wanted. These two concepts cannot exist at the same time. Either he made the entire country that watches the channel and makes it number one in ratings believe as he did or they believed that way to begin with and finally found a channel to watch that they agreed with.
Through it all and wrapping up the story being told here we have his sexual escapades, his telling potential stars that they need to sleep with him to get ahead. Every man or woman who does something like this immediately raises the creep factor a hundred fold. Ailes falls into that category with the claims made against him that were settled out of court. But then as I stated earlier this was a pattern found in all of the entertainment and news world if one is to judge by the accusations, indictments and firings throughout the industry.
While the movie is interesting it is so far one sided that at times the interviewers can be heard posing the questions to those speaking so that they get the response they hoped for rather than a straight answer from the mouth of those talking. It becomes a hit job intended to portray Ailes, Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and Fox News in the most negative light while ignoring the fact that more has taken place at other networks. Fox News used to use the phrase "fair and balanced". It would be nice to see a documentary that applies that to the topic they choose to feature.
Divide and Conquer
Biography / Documentary
Divide and Conquer
Biography / Documentary
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A documentary that explores the rise and fall of the late Roger Ailes, from his early media influence on the Nixon presidency to his controversial leadership at Fox News.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
Tech specs720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1 hr 47 min
P/S 2 / 29