Review of 'The Loudest Voice' 1.5
Was Ailes Really All That Powerful?
The fifth episode of The Loudest Voice makes clear what the series has been more than hinting at all along: it was Ailes more than anyone else who put Trump in the White House. Or, at least, the coming attractions do, after we see Ailes do his utmost to get Obama to lose in 2012. Ailes blames his failure on that score to the lameness of Romney as a candidate.
I should point out that I'm not a particular believer in any single reason for Trump's winning in the Electoral College. Not the Russians, not Facebook, not Ailes. All of those contributed in one way or another, but none was decisive, and even all together, those reasons, and those kinds of reasons, don't add up to a factor that was much more important: there were enough racist people in the country, along with people who see their futures eclipsed by what I and others see as progress, like health care for all, that they put Trump over the top. Because they just happened to be in the right places to do this, given the oddities of our electoral system.
So Ailes, who played a role, was not quite the king maker he's made out to be in The Loudest Voice, and Ailes himself apparently and presumably believed. A genius for understanding what a significant segment of the American public wanted in its news, yes. A paranoid conservative with boundless confidence, willing to always act on those beliefs, yes. A womanizer, yes. But if he was responsible for Trump, he shares that awful distinction with millions of other Americans.
Back to Sunday's episode, it was another powerhouse of docu-drama. His firing of Brian Lewis, his near destruction of Joe, his groping of Gretchen—all parts strongly played by their actors (Seth MacFarlane, Emory Cohen, Naomi Watts)—not to mention the searing off-the-charts performance of Russell Crowe as Ailes—make The Loudest Voice a show to behold.