Monica Lewinsky rips Roger Ailes for using her scandal to launch lewd “culture of exploitation”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: TV personality Monica Lewinsky arrives at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Monica Lewinsky penned an op-ed piece in the New York Times ripping former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who died last week.

Her purpose was not to pile on the controversial figure who was fired by the cable news network last year, but rather to expose the depravity of the cable news culture he ushered in by exploiting her affair with President Clinton.

She opened her piece by stating her words are not meant to be another obituary for Ailes. “I hope, instead an obituary for the culture he purveyed — a culture that affected me profoundly and personally,” she wrote.

She continued, “Just two years after Rupert Murdoch appointed Mr. Ailes to head the new cable news network, my relationship with President Bill Clinton became public. Mr. Ailes, a former Republican political operative, took the story of the affair and the trial that followed and made certain his anchors hammered it ceaselessly, 24 hours a day.”

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She emphasized that their tactic worked like a charm. The Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal hooked viewers as it unraveled, turning casual viewers into Fox loyalists. Fox cemented itself as the No. 1 news station, where it has remained for the last 15 years. Lewinsky also stated that last year the network made about $2.3 billion.

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Lewinsky called it “a culture of exploitation,” and she railed on the environment fostered at Fox News and other cable news networks who use titillating stories to drive ratings.

Their dream was my nightmare. My character, my looks and my life were picked apart mercilessly,” Lewinski wrote. “Truth and fiction mixed at random in the service of higher ratings. My family and I huddled at home, worried about my going to jail — I was the original target of Kenneth Starr’s investigation, threatened with 27 years for having been accused of signing a false affidavit and other alleged crimes — or worse, me taking my own life. Meantime, Mr. Ailes huddled with his employees at Fox News, dictating a lineup of talking heads to best exploit this personal and national tragedy.

Lewinski noted that the firing of Ailes after sexual harassment allegations, and more recently the firing of disgraced former Fox News ratings king Bill O’Reilly following multiple sexual harassment allegations and some $13 million in settlements paid to women, shows Fox News’ culture extended beyond the ratings game.

“The irony of Mr. Ailes’s career at Fox — that he harnessed a sex scandal to build a cable juggernaut and then was brought down by his own — was not lost on anyone who has been paying attention,” Lewinski wrote.

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