To ex-Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, the late Roger Ailes was a "force of nature with an agenda," he writes in a tribute to his former boss in USA Today. O'Reilly explains Ailes' ultimate goal—to "infuse America with traditional philosophy and see to it that conservatives like him were heard loud and clear"—and his achievement of it, most notably by founding Fox News. O'Reilly paints the channel as an underdog startup that was derided by the liberal establishment, especially CNN's Ted Turner, only to find quick success. O'Reilly recalls his own early days on the network, where he was given free rein to be "fair and tough," with Ailes always publicly defending him "when stuff hit the fan"—even if in private Ailes razzed him. "He was genuine, charismatic, profane, generous, and sincere in his beliefs," O'Reilly writes.
Ailes was also fiercely protective of those who were honest with him, with O'Reilly noting he saw his boss "literally save people from destruction" at Fox. He says a "vast majority" of people at the network were sad when Ailes left last summer in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, adding Ailes himself was "stunned and never really recovered." In fact, the vitriol against Ailes, even on the day of his death, is a product of what O'Reilly deems "a rough age," where technology is threatening to "[turn] us into a nation where hatred is almost celebrated in some quarters." And that's what he think did his mentor in. "Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him," O'Reilly writes. "That is the truth." His full piece is here. (Ailes' official cause of death: bleeding on the brain after an accidental fall.)