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I'm a conservative of a certain kind. Not a Cruz conservative, though he has some traits I admire. And certainly not a Trump conservative. In fact, count me among those who doesn't consider Trump to be much of a conservative at all.
But beyond the sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes, which are obviously serious by themselves, one must understand the political climate Ailes fostered, and probably engineered, at Fox News.
Like many Murdoch properties, it does some things very well. Its 6pm evening news show and Chris Wallace's Sunday morning program are both excellent. And Megyn Kelly has established herself as an interesting personality, though Trump probably gave her career a boost with his off-color comments. Fox News has excelled in its reporting on defense and foreign affairs. Greg Gutfeld can be genuinely funny in a satirical way.
It is also not the singular conservative monolith people on the left usually make it out to be.
But most of its hosts are hacks. The personalities on Fox & Friends, Neil Cavuto, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity have their following, but intellectual consistency and integrity are traits they are lacking in.
Because of Trump's attacks on Kelly, many people have misunderstood his relationship with FNC. It is incestuous, and he thinks he owns it. I don't know exactly what role Ailes had in plotting Trump's political rise, but he certainly allowed it happen.
Trump had befriended O'Reilly, Hannity and others over a period of several years. And for the past few years prior to his candidacy, he had a regular morning spot on Fox & Friends that was more important than most realize in building up a base of support far beyond New York.
When he began his candidacy, most of FNC become his personal cheerleading squad. Although people like commentators George Will and Charles Krauthammer were holdouts, most of the commentators and analysts jumped aboard to one degree or another. People I thought I respected buckled under, and I don't know whether those were conscious decisions or simply following suggestions to get in line.
Behind the rise of Trump were a political class that anybody familiar with Republican politics knew was out there. They were working class people either by occupation or heritage, distinctly anti-intellectual (and thus generally irrational), who had been bitterly complaining for years about the Bushes, Mitt Romney and "country club repub ilicans" in general, and often not turning out to vote for those candidates. Its very much a class thing. So was the Reagan Revolution to some extent, but in that case there was enough common sense to keep things from running off the rails.
McCarthyism hurt many innocent people, but it also created a caricature that could be used to ridicule legitimate concerns about the Soviet Union and Communism. Trumpism may also paint a straw man that can used against conservatism in a damaging way.
Update 7/23: Underscoring the relationship between the two men, the talk is that Ailes will go to work for Trump, perhaps even taking over as campaign manager.
Update 7/24: Trump seems dismissive of sexual harassment allegations against Ailes in comments made in "Meet the Press" interview.
Update 8/3: Trump, again sticking by Ailes, told USA Today that a woman whose is sexually harassed (his daughter, as a specific example), should find another job or career.
Update 8/16: Roger Ailes Is Advising Donald Trump Ahead of Presidential Debates (NY Times)