Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes
2018 | Documentary | 107 minutes | In English
Roger Ailes grew up in Warren, Ohio, the son of a factory foreman. Diagnosed in early childhood with hemophilia, he lived his entire life with the threat of death. Director Alexis Bloom utilized archival footage and interviews to show how ruthlessly Ailes marketed Nixon, the two Bushes, and Trump into the White House. Ailes reached his pinnacle when Rupert Murdoch tapped him to run his new Fox News. Starting from scratch, Ailes built Fox to be a powerhouse in network media. But Ailes was also a predator and philanderer. Attractive women hired by Ailes were told in no uncertain terms that he expected them to reciprocate with sexual favors. He was forced to resign in 2016 and he died one year later, May 18, 2017. He was 77 years old.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 90%
- Metacritic Score: 71
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A documentary about the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, the dark guru of Fox News, paints a fascinating and distressing portrait of insatiable power. DIVIDE and CONQUER does a good job of chronicling the two decades Ailes spent between Nixon and Fox, when he developed his dirty-tricks-meets-Madison Avenue image skills as a hired-gun Republican strategist.
This is a compelling but chilling film, one that is inevitably disheartening and disturbing as it details both how Ailes came to understand the nature and power of fear and how he honed his craft until he could sell fear to his fellow citizens like it was going out of style.
A well-researched and richly observant documentary from Alexis Bloom about the climate of lies and systemic abuse that nurtured Ailes and allowed his behavior to flourish. DIVIDE and CONQUER, a disturbing study of depravity in full toxic bloom, Bloom makes it clear that it did happen here and that we can’t let it happen again.
DIVIDE and CONQUER may disappoint those looking for different inflections, but it does an impressive and absorbing job of covering all those bases. What’s more, it conveys a credible sense of Ailes’s psychology through the testimony of peers and co-workers who witnessed his ruthlessness firsthand.
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