Catalogue: TV - Non Fiction

Divide and Conquer

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes  


Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes deftly fuses the personal, the political and the just plain surreal as it charts the origin, rise and downfall of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Variously called a bulldog, a kingmaker and the Ernest Hemingway of campaign advisors, Ailes was the wizard of Oz. But he collected talent like dolls, and became consumed by paranoia about his own personal security. “I think Roger thought he could control the little genie in the bottle,” said former Fox News personality Glenn Beck. “But he couldn’t.”

The son of a factory foreman, Ailes had a hand in political campaigns in almost every state in the country. He was a key advisor over the last half century to presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He was drawn to winners, and loved to be in their sphere - whether a small-town councilman in Cold Spring, New York, or the president of the United States. When President Obama called him “the most powerful man in media” he basked in the glow, and posed smiling alongside the Democratic president he had done everything to undermine.

Ailes hated what he called “the New York elite.” He was fueled by his resentments, and he bullied the people of Cold Spring - where he had a weekend house - as much as he bullied the people in his professional domain at Fox. He lived his life in fear of bleeding to death, say his longtime friends. Some say it helped him to better understand the fears of others, which he monetized on television, inaugurating the age of “anger TV.” He capitalized on other instincts too, insisting that Fox newswomen wear short, tight dresses, and displayed themselves as explicitly as possible.  “We’re getting the same girls to dance around shinier poles,” he proudly said to the New York Times.

Ailes fashioned Fox News into a ratings powerhouse, with more viewers than all its direct competitors, combined. But he was forced out by the Murdoch family in 2016, amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He was eventually locked out of his own building, unable to collect his belongings. Ailes died in May 2017 at the age of 77. How did a tap-dancing haemophiliac become one of the most powerful and divisive executives in American media? As one of his oldest friends says, “the opposite of death, is desire. And because Roger feared his own death, he desired. Mightily.”




Well-researched and richly observant” – ROLLING STONE

Most powerfully, the film puts the camera on women telling their stories of how Ailes sexually harassed them – THE GUARDIAN

Fascinating and fast-paced new documentary” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

"The film is as ruthlessly effective and goal orientated as its namesake." - INDIEWIRE

"A fascinating and distressing portrait of insatiable power." - VARIETY

The #MeToo movement also hadn't started when Bloom began making the film, but she said as the production and movement progressed, the women who spoke with her were able to ‘feel a little bit more brave’” - THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Required viewing for anybody anxious to see the feature film on Ailes that’s in pre-production- MOVIE NATION

A compelling but chilling film, one that is inevitably disheartening and disturbing - LA TIMES

“Divide and Conquer argues that today we’re all living in the world that Roger Ailes created”

Filled with fascinating insights” – CNN BUSINESS

Bloom has assembled footage that seems chilling in retrospect- THE NEW YORK TIMES

Meticulous and highly watchable- THE WASHINGTON POST

"Bloom’s fair and balanced film is an often harrowing look at the man directly responsible for the elections of Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush and that current guy in the White House." - ROGEREBERT.COM

What Bloom captures so hauntingly… is that the more power Ailes acquired, the more he was driven to abuse” – VULTURE

The filmmaker doesn’t just highlight the ways Fox News mainstreamed the kind of conspiratorial bilge once confined to late-night AM radio, she also shows how Ailes tailored its messaging… and a deeply abiding sense that America was made for white men like him and nobody else- SLANT MAGAZINE

In a brilliant move, the film-makers cast a genderqueer actor, Babette Bombshell, as Ailes’s body double, for a scattering of re-enactment scenes. It has the ring of poetic justice, given Fox News’s record of homophobia and fear-mongering on transgender issues

A well-made documentary that leaves you with the imprint of Roger Ailes' domineering arrogance, and the way he used it to shape American political reality and, finally, the world

It conveys a credible sense of Ailes’s psychology through the testimony of peers and co-workers who witnessed his ruthlessness firsthand- THE NEW YORK TIMES

Both a memorial and a cautionary tale about unchecked power and ambition in America

Alexis Bloom’s keenly insightful and deeply depressing documentary is probably best viewed not as a record of the past but as a document of what’s to come - SLANT MAGAZINE

A story told with a deft hand- AWARDS CIRCUIT

“Divide and Conquer is at its best when it digs deep into the methods behind Ailes’s messaging” - THE BOSTON GLOBE

Fox News Kingpin Disgusts and Illuminates in New Doc– THE WRAP

Genre: Theatrical, Non-Fiction

Sub Genre: Documentary

Year of Production: 2018

Running Time: 1 x 107-minutes

Available in HD: Yes

Country: USA

Production Company:A&E IndieFilms and Impact Partners present a Jigsaw Production in association with Baird Films