Do you have a thesaurus near you? Even better, do you know how to type? Search “thesaurus” in google and click on one of the first ones you see that isn’t sponsored. Then, type “gross” into the space provided and hit enter. The words that will be listed on the next page, including “gross,” are all apt descriptors for one Roger Ailes, the former head of Fox News.
It’s not just that Ailes was forced to resign in disgrace after revelations of years and years of sexual harassment put him and the network in a pretty sensitive situation. It’s also that Fox News is, without argument, a propaganda network that Ailes has carefully curated for decades now, the type of place that didn’t have much of any kind words for President Obama and has been largely supportive of our current president. Indeed, besides his money, there’s really nothing to like or even admire about Ailes, but there must be something more resonant and complex to the man that have yet to come out…right?
Well, that would seemingly be the task that master documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, who has covered everything from Guantanamo Bay and Steve Jobs to Scientology and Lance Armstrong to Stuxnet and Elliot Spitzer, has set out for himself with his next project. According to Variety, Gibney is currently doing research and other work for a planned documentary on Ailes and his role in the rise of Fox News in the mainstream. One must expect that Gibney will also cover Ailes time working as an aide for President Richard Nixon, another incorruptible paradigm of dignity and empathy in the White House, but Gibney and his production banner, Jigsaw, have yet to comment on what exactly will be covered.
Mind you, Gibney is not the only one to see plenty of thematic fascination in Ailes’ story. Christopher Randolph, the Emmy-award-winning scribe behind The Big Short, is currently writing a screenplay about Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and the other women who helped bring Ailes to justice last summer; Annapurna currently owns the rights to the project. Still, where the narrative film will have to rely on certain formulaic dramatic devices to drive its story, Gibney will have his focus almost exclusively on Ailes’ character and his actions over the years. In other words, it’ll likely be far more difficult to wash the mental residue of what Ailes has actually done in total in Gibney’s film than whatever Randolph cooks up.