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Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes

The revealing documentary about the Fox News founder is currently in theaters.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 65

Documentarian Alexis Bloom took on a giant task when she decided to make a film about Roger Ailes, the former Fox News executive who died in disgrace last year, having been ousted as CEO after at least 20 women, including network stars Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly, accused him of sexual harassment and assault. But Ailes’s impact on the American political landscape is hard to underestimate; as Bloom’s film Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes shows, it was his media expertise, showmanship, and proclivity for pushing hype and fear that in many ways paved the road for Trumpism and the current state of the Republican Party.

Divide and Conquer is not content to skim the surface of Ailes’s life. It dives deep, relying on copious archival footage and interviews with Ailes’s friends and foes, including extensive interviews with Glenn Beck to piece together the story of a man whose paranoia and power went hand-in-hand. And it reveals the many ways that Ailes often elaborated or exaggerated stories that were fascinating enough on their own.

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