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A.J. Bauer is visiting assistant professor of media, culture, and communication at NYU and co-editor of News on the Right. Reece Peck is assistant professor of media culture at College of Staten Island (CUNY) and author of Fox Populism. Each week, they'll recap the new Showtime limited series The Loudest Voice.
When last we left Roger Ailes, in the closing scene of The Loudest Voice Episode 2, he was overseeing an excavation project on his newly purchased land in Putnam County, New York — dynamite blasts clearing space for his personal doomsday bunker, juxtaposed with "shock and awe" scenes from the U.S. bombing of Iraq.
Ailes - Response - Attacks - Sept - Distinction
If Ailes' dramatized response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 emphasized the collapsing distinction between news and propaganda at Fox News, it also involved the merging of Ailes' ego with that of the nation itself.
Episode 3, "2008," opens with Ailes safely ensconced in his Hudson Valley estate, once again transfixed by a television screen, gripped by another looming threat. Barack Obama has just claimed enough delegates to win the Democratic Party nomination for president, and Ailes (Russell Crowe) is shook.
Moment - Stock - Footage - Obama - Gravitas
"This was the moment," stock footage Obama intones with nostalgia-inducing gravitas. "This was the time when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals."
As the crowd goes wild, a close-up shot of Ailes' face and clenched fist makes palpable his rising blood pressure. Not only has the Democratic Party nominated an "African socialist who wants to redistribute the country's wealth," they've found a great communicator. Ailes, whose primary gift as a television producer is recognizing the ineffable qualities that make for great talent, sees in Obama not only an ideological threat, but a formidable opponent.
Barack - Obama
"Barack Obama has managed to trick the entire...
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