We have observed the necessary moment of silence. Now let us remember ex-Fox News head Roger Ailes for who he truly was: a man who did more damage to American democracy than any other individual in the nation. A man who transformed news into a propaganda effort, a man who transformed conspiracies and paranoia into a new conservative ideology, a man who dedicated the entirety of the apparatus he oversaw to lying to Americans in very specific, calculated ways. He was a bad person. He did great harm, and he died too late to do anyone any good.
Ailes was a monster who was pushed out of the network he founded because dozens of women who had worked for him came forward and reported that he had sexually harassed them. And the legacy he leaves behind is a propaganda machine he created in his own image that has done incalculable damage to the country, slanting facts and information — and sometimes completely inventing them — in service of a vicious, right-wing agenda. […]
In Fox News, Ailes found a way to exacerbate and monetize the conservative movement’s paranoid opposition to the “liberal media,” turning millions of Americans into devoted followers who were inculcated to trust no other source of information. Mainstream outlets soon internalized his critique, forced by constant accusations of bias to elevate hackish conservative commentators and provide false balance. […]
Ailes saw political opponents as enemies and created a network that demanded the same behavior of conservative politicians. Fox brought political vitriol to a new level. Chasing the approval of Fox’s hosts and its audience, Republican politicians became ever more partisan and intransigent, making congressional bipartisanship and even collegiality a thing of the past.
Conspiracy theories, bigotry, paranoia, more conspiracy theories, a culture of misogyny run rampant; the Ailes legacy is malevolence, and fear, and contempt. You could not name any American in the modern era who has harmed his nation more. His life will be his legacy, and his life was rotten to the core.
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BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos on this date in 2012—Supreme Court confronts in vitro fertilization technology:
Karen and Robert Capato were married in August 1999, but the honeymoon ended quickly as Robert was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Before starting chemo which might render him sterile, he had his sperm frozen. He died in March 2002. Karen used his sperm to conceive a child in January 2003, and in September 2003—18 months after Robert Capato’s death—she gave birth to twins.
The Social Security Act of 1939 allows for survivor benefits for “the child or legally adopted child of an [insured] individual,” and so Karen applied for Social Security survivor benefits for the twins. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed with her application, holding: “What is before us is a discrete set of circumstances and the narrow question posed by those circumstances: are the undisputed biological children of a deceased wage earner and his widow ‘children’ within the meaning of the Act? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes.'”
The Social Security Administration appealed, and today the Supreme Court of the United States resoundingly said ‘No.'” Or, at least, “Look, it’s a close call, and the SSA is entitled to the benefit of the doubt.”
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