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50 People Who Matter 2011 | 43. Roger Ailes

Wily Fox.

Renowned as the one man at News Corp of whom even Rupert Murdoch is afraid, the 71-year-old Fox News president is at the height of his political influence. His TV channel helped secure the election of a slew of Tea Party candidates, whose fiscal conservatism leave Barack Obama with little hope of passing a second stimulus package. Even Murdoch is troubled by Ailes's hard-right politics and his penchant for conspiracy theories ("You know Roger is crazy," he recently told a colleague). But the Fox News contribution to News Corp's bottom line makes him willing to tolerate Ailes's excesses. The channel made an estimated profit of $816m last year - nearly a fifth of Murdoch's global haul. Ailes has survived all attempts by the Murdoch children to outmanoeuvre him.

He has now set his sights on delivering $1bn a year in profits and on using all means necessary to deny Obama a second term in the White House.

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This article first appeared in the 26 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, The fifty people who matter