In addition to his personal discomfort with Ailes, Lindsley was also disappointed in the news product. He concluded they were impossible to disentangle — that Ailes’ brutishness and anger wasn’t just affecting him, but also the news he was putting out in Cold Spring and at Fox and that, by extension, they were corroding the country. “Many Americans invite Bill O’Reilly into their living rooms more often than their neighbors,” he says.
He suggests that the network, with its catchy graphics and busty blondes, seduces viewers and creeps up on them in the same way that Ailes did on him—and to the same effect, producing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of paranoid, angry, and agitated voters. Though he won’t say it outright, he also suggests the network and its viewers helped to produce the election of Donald Trump. The Fox News Channel, he says, is more a brand than a news outlet, and Ailes succeeded in “convincing a large part of the American people that Ailes was “on their side.”