Last week Monica Lewinsky wrote for the New York Times following the death of Roger Ailes, a former republican political operative and head of Fox News, who, following Lewinsky’s relationship with President Bill Clinton becoming public, used the story to the cable news network’s advantage.
Monica Lewinsky writes: “This is not another obituary for Roger Ailes, who died last week 10 months after being ousted at Fox News. It is, I hope, instead an obituary for the culture he purveyed — a culture that affected me profoundly and personally.
“The story hooked viewers and made them Fox loyalists. For the past 15 years, Fox News has been the No. 1 news station; last year the network made about $2.3 billion.”
“Their dream was my nightmare.” The media mercilessly used Lewinsky in order to garner high ratings, exploiting the deeply personal and national tragedy.
As she discussed in her TED Talk, Lewinsky was one of the first victims of cyber bullying: she could not leave her house without being trailed by paparazzi. Lewinsky recounts: “On Fox, it seemed, no rumor was too unsubstantiated, no innuendo too vile and no accusation too abhorrent.”
Having been branded countless demeaning names by the world’s media, the world of cyberbullying and chyrons, trolss and tweets was forged here, in 1998. Lewinsky now talks about the “culture of humiliation” that she was so publicly a victim of. The boom of social media has perpetuated this, with clicks and ratings becoming the holy grail at others’ expense.
Lewinsky does remark that the younger generation at Fox seem to want to move away from the culture created by Ailes which has now become archaic.
“None of this is to say that we shouldn’t have a credible conservative point of view in our media — quite the opposite. If we’ve learned nothing else from the 2016 presidential election, it’s that we must find a way to foster robust and healthy discussion and debate. Our news channels should be just such places.”
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Or to read Monica Lewinsky’s speaker profile, click here