Former Fox News Channel chief executive Roger Ailes’ sudden passing on Thursday prompted an on-air eulogy of sorts by radio icon Rush Limbaugh on his show.
The man who started Fox News in 1996 with media mogul Rupert Murdoch died at age 77, and within moments of the breaking news Mr. Limbaugh offered an extemporaneous tribute to his “closest and dearest friend and colleague.”
The conservative told his listeners that it was incumbent to speak out since critics would use his July 2016 resignation over sexual harassment accusations as an excuse to peddle sordid scenarios about his death.
“There is, as we speak — and there has been for the past year — a barrage of slander and libel aimed at Roger by pissants, who will never accomplish even 5 percent of what he did,” Mr. Limbaugh said.
“These are people that did not know him, that prejudged him, that were jealous. People who were envious, and people who felt the need to take down a serious enemy who threatened what they consider to be to be their rightful hold on the media, on America, or what have you. Some of the things being said just today about Roger Ailes are absolutely untrue. Roger Ailes was not suicidal. Roger Ailes was not defeated. Roger Ailes was not destroyed. And Roger Ailes and his courageous and lovely wife, Beth, were not separated. These are things people wish that they had made happen,” Mr. Limbaugh said.
Mr. Limbaugh discussed Mr. Ailes’ executive producer role on his television show in the 1990s, a trip they took to the White House to meet former President George H.W. Bush, and other personal stories.
He also shared a 2009 speech he gave in Tarrytown, New York, during a Boy Scouts of America award ceremony for Mr. Ailes.
“Roger Ailes is not on the air [at Fox]. Roger Ailes does not ever show up on camera, and yet everybody who does is a reflection of him,” Mr. Limbaugh said in the archived clip. “He has the ability to inspire, to motivate, to enthuse. People around Roger Ailes are not negative. If they are, he sends out a memo. The memo says, ‘Negative people make healthy people sick.’”
The conservative radio host ended the segment by saying it was Mr. Ailes who gave him invaluable insight on how to deal with high volume of personal attacks that come from being a nationally known media star.
“It was Roger Ailes that gave me advice and lessons he had learned himself, but basically how just to overcome all that with confidence, self-esteem, and recognize the people [hurling personal attacks] don’t know what they’re talking about and don’t know you,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “The people who do know you know who you are. That’s all you can do and that’s all that matters. Seek your happiness from the people that love you and you love them, because you’re never going to be loved by people that never know you. It was much more detailed and involved than that, but it was extremely essentially helpful … we’ve lost a great warrior in the battle [for individual liberty].”
• Douglas Ernst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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