DIVIDE AND CONQUER: THE STORY OF ROGER AILES
This damning portrait chronicles the turbulent life and career of disgraced former Fox News tycoon Roger Ailes, who flamed out amid a barrage of sexual harassment allegations.
Director Alexis Bloom traces embattled media kingpin Roger Ailes’ origins in Warren, Ohio, and how his strict upbringing and childhood poor health shaped his lifelong distrust of “elites” and obsession with “traditional” American values. Former friends and colleagues testify to Ailes’ preternatural understanding of the power of media, which made him a key puppeteer of Republican politicos from Richard Nixon onward. Bloom speaks with many who experienced Ailes’ abuse firsthand, some of whom speak on camera for the very first time. While the general trajectory of this infamous icon’s rise and fall are familiar to many, the impact of DIVIDE AND CONQUER lies in the details, which range from bleakly humorous to seriously upsetting. One particularly memorable sequence reveals Ailes’ Mr. Potter-esque attempts to buy up and manipulate the small-town politics in the tiny hamlet of Stone Creek, New York, where he built his sprawling mansion. Much more than a portrait of Roger Ailes, this deftly constructed doc is a revealing portrait of an American society in which Ailes’ penchant for divisive fear-mongering has become ever more pervasive.
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