April 9, 2011
Washington, D.C., April 9, 2011 – Roger E. Ailes, the veteran television producer and media consultant whose upstart Fox News Channel challenged and soon outpaced rival cable and broadcast networks, is the latest recipient of The Heritage Foundation’s top honor for contributions to the conservative movement.
Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox, is scheduled to receive the Clare Boothe Luce Award during a banquet this evening as part of the prominent Washington think tank’s annual Leadership Conference and Board Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.
With Ailes at the helm, Fox “became the first national news outlet to present all points of view fairly,” Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner said before the ceremony. “Roger Ailes has been a consistent champion of free speech and a free press, but his lasting legacy to America is a news source stripped of the liberal bias so commonly found among the once-dominant mainstream media.”
Heritage Board Chairman Thomas A. Saunders III, who joined Feulner in presenting the award, said: “Today, the marketplace has rendered its verdict. Fox News attracts ever-larger audiences. And that fair-shake coverage has made American politics and culture more hospitable to conservative ideas.”
In 1996, News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch tapped Ailes to form Fox News Channel after the broadcasting veteran parted ways with NBC after three years as president of CNBC, its then-new cable channel. Ailes quickly molded Fox into the country’s dominant cable network—one that recently capped its ninth straight year at the top of the ratings heap.
Ailes, 70, a 1962 graduate of Ohio University, first made his mark in broadcasting when he turned the Cleveland-based “Mike Douglas Show,” a locally produced daily television program, into a nationally syndicated hit combining talk and variety.
He founded Ailes Communications Inc. in New York in 1969, the year after serving as TV consultant to Richard Nixon’s successful comeback campaign for president. He later masterminded media operations for President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign and, four years later, George H.W. Bush’s own winning race for the White House.
Past recipients of the Luce Award include Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher; philanthropists Richard and Helen DeVos; and two celebrated brothers – William F. and James L. Buckley.
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than 710,000 individual, foundation and corporate donors. Founded in 1973, it develops public policy solutions that advance free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values and a strong national defense.