Mark Steyn writes:
He learned a lot from those shows and then brought it to politics, treating his candidates as personalities whose events required creative production. The example he gave that day was from the Nixon campaign: The candidate was risk-averse and preferred the stump speech to go as planned. But Ailes knew his client better than he did himself. At the last minute, he’d go outside to the knot of protesters and tell them there were a few places still left for the event, and would anyone like a seat? Then he’d pick the three smelliest hippiest-looking hippies and usher them in to the seats that (unknown to not-half-so-Tricky Dick) he’d held for them. When they started barracking Nixon, the presidential candidate would round on them and slap them down brilliantly and devastatingly, the very embodiment of a no longer silent “silent majority”. It made for great TV, and it also perked Nixon up no end. As a buoyant re-charged candidate walked off-stage, he’d put his arm around Ailes and growl: “Thought that went well tonight. Really stuck it to the hippies.”
He brought that showman’s savvy to Fox. As Charles Krauthammer likes to say, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes discovered an under-served niche market: 50 per cent of the American people.