The legacy of Fox News founder Roger Ailes

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Roger Ailes, the architect of the Fox News Channel, died Thursday. Doctors say he had a brain hemorrhage after falling last week. He was 77.

Ailes went from a 27-year-old TV producer to successfully selling Richard Nixon to the American people in 1968. He helped elect Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, too.

By 1992, Ailes had retired from politics and soured on the news media. As he told Charlie Rose then, "If you want to have tremendous political influence and still be a womanizer, a drug abuser or an alcoholic, you only have one choice of career and that's journalism."

But four years later, Ailes would become founder and CEO of the Fox News Channel.

With conservative commentators like Bill O'Reilly, why did viewers watch? He told Rose in 2001, "They think that perhaps points of view are being eliminated and some stories are being eliminated on other channels. And that's why we are winning."

George H.W. Bush said Ailes "wasn't perfect" but called him "my friend." Fox host Sean Hannity called him "a second father." But critics like Dr. Jeffrey Jones, director of journalism's Peabody Awards, said no one had done more harm to American democracy in the last generation.

Many believe Fox News support for President Trump helped get him elected. In a 2014 autobiography, Ailes is quoted in 2010 telling Fox News executives, "I want to elect the next president."

But Ailes' reign would not make it to Election Day. Numerous women at Fox News, including former anchor Gretchen Carlson, alleged he sexually harassed them.

Facing a lawsuit, Ailes resigned in July.

Ailes' wife said in a statement she's "profoundly sad and heartbroken at her husband's passing. Calling him a loving husband and father to their son, and a Patriot."