Everyone should take note of Roger Ailes, the movie. The late founder and CEO of Fox News, media visionary and GOP strategist is now the subject of “Man in the Arena,” a meticulous and carefully crafted documentary which aims to offer an accurate and candid portrait of the man — with the message that all views and political beliefs should be a part of news coverage. The film also addresses the heavy price that those who value free speech can pay when they champion it.
The project was written and directed by Michael Barnes, who bolstered his the content with exclusive interviews and commentary from President Trump, Mitch McConnell, Dan Quayle, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Rudolph W. Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, along with Ailes’ widow, son and brother. Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight narrates the film.
Mr. Barnes also had access to the personal library and audio records of the news magnate, ultimately producing “a definitive portrait of the powerful political kingmaker and cable news legend.” It stands in contrast to previous portrayals which dwelled on controversy and drama. Actors Russell Crowe and John Lithgow both portrayed Ailes in recent feature films.
“I think that ‘Man in the Arena’ and the life of Roger Ailes give insight to our current political debates,” Mr. Barnes tells Inside the Beltway.
“Should society reform things, or should everything be burned down? And with respect to media censorship, bias and de-platforming, is the search for truth still worthwhile? And is truth advanced by hearing other points of view? These themes underpin ‘Man in the Arena,’” he says.
Mr. Barnes also has insight into the pivotal origins of Fox News, which has remained the leading cable news network for 18 consecutive years, according to Nielsen.
“I had not realized the extent to which Roger Ailes, decade after decade, tended to side with underdogs, often against powerful interests. For example, I didn’t know that when Roger Ailes founded Fox News, it had no audience and was anticipated to be a failure. There is a powerful lesson there for entrepreneurs and people of action: Keep fighting,” Mr. Barnes says.
He has a reminder.
“Mitch McConnell said, ‘If I were to pick the three most consequential conservatives of the modern era, it would be Ronald Reagan, Charles Krauthammer, and Roger Ailes,’” Mr. Barnes said — and he also recall one of Ailes’ mantras.
“What they called me is opinion. What I’ve done is on the record,” the newsman once said.
No worries about waiting until theaters open to view this unique film. “Man in the Arena” is being distributed digitally on PrimeVideo and other online platforms, and also can be accessed via ManInTheArena.com.
NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT
“If you can protest and riot in person, you can vote in person.”
This public message was issued Tuesday by Students for Trump, an interest group co-chaired by Turning Point founder Charlie Kirk and founded by political analyst Ryan Fournier.
PERILS OF A MAIL-IN VOTE
The Democratic Party’s obsession with mail-in voting could backfire.
“The Democrats are obviously committed to using the COVID-19 pandemic as the latest pretext for achieving their longtime goal of widespread voting by mail. They may, however, end up outsmarting themselves,” writes David Catron, a columnist for the American Spectator.
“Acting on the assumption that Congress is unlikely to pass legislation requiring every state to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters, a number of Democrat-controlled states are moving to pass bills that will mandate vote-by-mail schemes within their own borders. The obvious problem is that Election Day is only three months away and the logistical difficulties of expanding mail-in voting are legion,” he says.
Mail-in voting is a greater risk for Joseph R. Biden than President Trump, however.
“States attempting to convert to all mail-in voting are controlled by Democrats. Consequently, they are far more likely to encounter general election problems comparable to the disarray that characterized recent primaries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In both of those states, mail-in voting disfranchised tens of thousands due to postal delays, signature match problems, and voter errors,” the columnist says.
It could happen. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll found that 51% of Democrats plan to vote by mail.
IN SCHOOL, OR NOT?
The debate over reopening schools has a distinct partisan divide.
“Attitudes are shaped to a large degree by politics: 85% of parents who identify as Democrats and 29% who identify as Republicans are worried about their child getting COVID-19. About two-thirds of Republican parents, versus 13% of Democrats, want full-time in-person instruction for their children this fall. Democratic parents are mostly divided in their preference between full-time remote learning and a modified system,” says a new Gallup poll.
Among all parents, 46% worry about their child getting sick while 36% want their offspring to attend full time, in-person learning. The poll of 1,028 U.S. parents of K-12 students was conducted July 13-27 and released Monday.
Fox News remains the most-watched network in the cable kingdom, besting both news and non-news competition for 30 consecutive weeks according to Nielsen. It is “the most-watched cable network of the summer,” Fox noted in a statement.
Fox News enjoyed 3.2 million prime-time viewers last week, compared to MSNBC with 1.9 million, CNN (1.4 million), HGTV (1.3 million) and TLC (1.2 million).
Prime-time host Tucker Carlson is the ratings king, drawing 3.9 million viewers. Indeed, both “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” topped ESPN’s Major League Baseball coverage and the National Basketball Association on TNT for the second week.
POLL DU JOUR
• 83% of U.S. adults support government funding of a COVID-19 vaccine “to make it available to all Americans.”
• 76% support a state law to require wearing a mask in public.
• 62% support a single national strategy to determine when businesses can reopen.
• 60% support a single national strategy to reopen schools.
• 55% support a temporary ban on “travel between states.”
Source: An NPR/IPSOS poll of 1,115 U.S. adults conducted July 30-31.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.
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