John Congleton And The Nighty Nite: Tiny Desk Concert

July 22, 20169:00 AM ET

Listening to John Congleton can be scary. The imagery — of “blood between my legs,” of loving another “like a lion loves its kill” — can be horrifying. But the songs Congleton sings (from his album Until The Horror Goes) touch on what it means to be human, and what it means to face the fact that we are flesh-and-blood “temporary custodians” in vessels that will inevitably return to the earth and decay.

These are not songs to shock, but songs to remind us of our fragility, our faults, our instincts and what an extraordinary thing it is to be an ordinary phenomenal nothing — simply particles that unite and make us who we are for our brief time on earth.

Congleton has been on my radar for a long time: He’s been my favorite producer and engineer, working on records by St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Spoon, David Byrne, The Mountain Goats, The Walkmen and many others. Here, he creates haunting tension with just acoustic guitar, brilliant electronics from Jordan Geiger (Hospital Ships), and words passionately sung. This Tiny Desk set is a fine, albeit spare, introduction to a brilliant artist. If you find his take on humanity enlightening and humble, the way I do, give Until The Horror Goes a listen. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Until The Horror Goes is available now (iTunes) (Amazon).

Set List

  • “Just Lay Still”
  • “Your Temporary Custodian”
  • “Animal Rites”

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Brandon Chew/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

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FOJBI Friday: Anna Haensch, Podcaster And Mathematician

FOJBI Anna Haensch

FOJBI Anna Haensch Courtesy of Anna haensch hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Anna haensch

The “Friends of Joe’s Big Idea” is a vibrant community of talented people we think you should meet. With our feature, FOJBI Friday, we’ll introduce some of these cool communicators of science, in their own words. This week: Anna Haensch.

Background

I’m a mathematician — an assistant professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Penn. My research is in number theory, mostly involving objects called quadratic lattices, which have important applications in coding theory and cryptography.

Importance of Science Communication

Understanding math, or at least having some level of quantitative comfort, is really a social justice issue. Having a better understanding of math empowers people to make better choices for themselves, and creates a more informed electorate. Knowing math is good for democracy. I also think that math is this really fun and beautiful thing — of course I should be sharing it!

Current Projects

I co-host a podcast with my best friend, Annie Rorem. It’s called The Other Half, and it’s about understanding the everyday stuff of life by using math. In our first episode we take a mathematical approach to understanding racism and segregation. We talk to a video game developer who recently gamified a Nobel prize-winning paper on game theory that explains, quantitatively, how a small intolerance for racial difference can lead to huge segregation and social ills. What we’ve long suspected, and what our podcast research has confirmed, is that math is absolutely everywhere! You just need to look closely.

You can stream the podcast on our website or download it from iTunes. I’m also a co-editor and semi-monthly contributor to the American Mathematical Society’s Blog on Math Blogs, where I write about recent goings-on in the mathematical blogosphere — anything from big advances in research to discussions on pedagogy and mathematical haikus. I also love to tweet about math @extremefriday.

Future Plans

Get tenure! Engaging with math through the podcast and blog has been a really great counterpoint to my research life. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on the computational aspects of lattices, trying to build up a structured database of these objects — kind of like the periodic table of elements, but for math. Sometimes mathematical research can be hard — so hard that I start to forget why I’m doing it at all. But engaging with the online math-and-media community is always a wonderful and welcome reminder of why math is so important to me.

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We're Off To The Newport Folk Festival!

Joyful dancing is a part of every Newport Folk Festival.

Joyful dancing is a part of every Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick/NPR Music hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick/NPR Music

It’s time again for our annual trek to the Newport Folk Festival, one of our favorite annual get-togethers. This year’s lineup includes veteran artists like Norah Jones, Ryan Adams and Elvis Costello, along with plenty of newcomers, including John Moreland, River Whyless and Julien Baker.

For everyone who can’t join us in Newport, we’ll be live-streaming select sets from the entire weekend via TuneIn‘s Newport Folk Radio. Set times and a complete webcast schedule are listed below. All times are Eastern.

Friday, July 22
Wild Child – 11:15 a.m.
Basia Bulat – 12:25 p.m.
The Staves – 12:55 p.m.
Fruit Bats – 1:25 p.m.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones – 2 p.m.
Matthew Logan Vasquez – 2:50 p.m.
Radical Face – 3:45 p.m.
Brett Dennen – 5:05 p.m.

Saturday, July 23
Rayland Baxter – 11:25 a.m.
Ruby Amanfu – 12:10 p.m.
John Moreland – 1:15 p.m.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – 1:45 p.m.
Ryan Adams – 3:10 p.m.
Norah Jones – 4:40 p.m.
Father John Misty – 5:45 p.m.

Sunday, July 24
River Whyless – 11:10 a.m.
The Oh Hellos – 12:30 p.m.
Julien Baker – 1:30 p.m.
Glen Hansard – 2:10 p.m.
Villagers – 2:40 p.m.
Middle Brother – 3:10 p.m.
Phil Cook’s Southland Revue – 4:15 p.m.
Elvis Costello – 4:45 p.m.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – 5:30 p.m.
Alabama Shakes – 6:15 p.m.

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45 Olympic Athletes From 2012, 2008 Implicated In New Doping Tests

New analysis of stored samples taken from athletes at the Beijing and London Summer Olympics has turned up 45 cases of banned substances. Here, urine samples are recorded upon arriving at the China Anti-Doping Agency in Beijing back in 2008.

New analysis of stored samples taken from athletes at the Beijing and London Summer Olympics has turned up 45 cases of banned substances. Here, urine samples are recorded upon arriving at the China Anti-Doping Agency in Beijing back in 2008. Robert F. Bukaty/AP hide caption

toggle caption Robert F. Bukaty/AP

More than 20 athletes who won Olympic medals in Beijing are among 45 athletes from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games whose anti-doping samples contained banned substances, a reanalysis has found. The International Olympic Committee says the findings nearly double the number of implicated athletes from those games.

That number of has now risen to 98. And while the IOC isn’t identifying the 45 athletes or their countries who have what it calls an “Adverse Analytical Finding” at this point, here’s what the organization is saying:

  • 30 of them competed in Beijing and 15 competed in London;
  • Of the Beijing group, four sports and eight different National Olympic Committees are involved;
  • The 15 athletes with adverse findings from London 2012 came from two sports and nine nations.

Proceedings against the athletes will begin after they’re informed along with their sporting federations and national committees, the IOC says.

“All athletes found to have infringed the anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Olympic Games Rio 2016,” the group adds, hinting that there could be more drama before the upcoming Summer Games begin in Rio two weeks from now.

The news comes one day after the international Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected an appeal from more than 60 track and field athletes from Russia who were seeking to compete despite their national sporting federation’s recent suspension. Top Olympics officials have yet to make a decisive move in that case.

The IOC says the new doping results came from using “the very latest scientific analysis methods” to reanalyze stored samples from the Summer Games in Beijing and London — and that the work was guided by “an intelligence-gathering process that started in August 2015 and included the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Federations.”

Here’s a tally of the overall results from doping tests for the past two Summer Olympics, combining the first and second waves of testing:

  • Beijing: 840 selected samples / 60 AAFs / 20 NOCs / 10 sports
  • London: 403 selected samples / 38 AAFs / 15 NOCs / 7 sports

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Quick Thoughts On The Ups And Downs Of Google Searches For 'White People'

In a recent interview, Hillary Clinton said she would "call for white people, like myself, to put ourselves in the shoes of those African-American families" — unusually direct language about white people from a major political figure.

In a recent interview, Hillary Clinton said she would “call for white people, like myself, to put ourselves in the shoes of those African-American families” — unusually direct language about white people from a major political figure. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

toggle caption Andrew Harnik/AP

We’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about the idea of whiteness — as a political identity, as a foundational dynamic in our politics, and the ways we talk (or don’t talk) about it. It was even the first episode of our new podcast.

Apparently, we’re not alone. Our colleague Eyder Peralta noticed that the number of searches for the term “white people” on Google has started to trend upwards in recent months.

Take a look at this data from Google Trends:

Real quick: a primer on how Google Trends works. It looks at the relative searches for a specific term over time. It can’t tell us how many searches there were for “white people” compared to all other search traffic on Google, or even exactly how many people were searching that term at any given moment.

What it does show is how interest in any given search term has gone up and down over time, relative to the highest period of interest in that same term since 2004.

A big jump in searches for a specific term often correlates to something happening in the news. Searches for “Donald Trump” start to jump in the summer of 2015, around the same time his campaign started gaining momentum. To go back a bit further, searches for “Jeremiah Wright” start to really skyrocket in early 2008, when then-Senator Obama was vying for the Democratic nomination — and interestingly, we see a roughly similar jump in searches for “white people” around the same time.

It might not be terribly surprising that more people are searching for “white people” right now. There’s been a lot of digital ink spilled on how white Americans are shrinking as a percentage of the country’s electorate, and there’s more thinking about white people as explicitly raced — as opposed to the last half-century, when the political interests of non-whites were discussed in terms of race and identity, while the political concerns of white people were typically discussed using terms like “mainstream” and “middle America.”

That is to say, we’re starting to talk about white people more like the way we talk about everyone else.

It also probably matters that this election has been especially suffused with issues of race and identity, like Trump’s infamous Mexicans-as-rapists remarks or his calls to deport Muslims. And it was the reaction to police shootings (and shootings of the police) that initially prompted Eyder decided to look up searches for “white people;” Hillary Clinton’s recently remarked that she was “going to be talking to white people” and ask them to listen to the “legitimate cries” of black people — another example of uncommonly direct language about white people from a major political figure.

So there’s no mystery to the huge spike in interest in the term “white people” this election cycle. But the above graph also shows spikes in searches for “white people” back in the late summer of 2009 and again in early 2010. We’ve been scratching our heads trying to figure out just what was going on in the world then to prompt them.

Our editor Alicia Montgomery wondered whether the 2009 jump might have been related to “the White House Beer summit” — but when we took a closer look, we saw that while the beer summit happened in July of 2009, the 2009 spike in “white people” searches happened a few months later, in September.

My Code Switch teammate Leah Donnella brought up this weird “white people stole my car” thing that was happening on the Internet back in 2009. (Basically, someone noticed that when you search “white people stole my car” in Google, the search engine asks you, “Did you mean, “black people stole my car?” This apparently became a meme for a minute.)

But Aly Hurt, our colleague who designed the above graph, said there don’t seem to be a lot of Google results for the “white people stole my car” thing overall, which suggests it might not have been big enough to drive that spike back in 2009, although the dates — late August through early September — do seem to line up.

So that might be what happened in 2009. But what explains another spike in searches for “white people” a few months later, around February of 2010? We’re still mulling it over, and we’d love to hear any guesses you might have; tweet us at @NPRCodeSwitch or email at codeswitch@npr.org.

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From Mozart To Mr. Rogers: Literacy, Music And The Brain

a toddler and sound

LA Johnson/NPR

Welcome to our sand box.

For months now, the NPR Ed Team has been playing with what we like to call “long listen” ideas — worthy stories that we can’t tell in three or four minutes.

Some ideas don’t hold up. The ones that do make it here, including this little adventure to a one-room schoolhouse in the Colombian Andes and this strange tale of two men, separated by an ocean and united by a stolen laptop.

For this week’s long listen, I sat down with my Ed Team co-conspirator, Anya Kamenetz, to talk about one of my favorite subjects: brains. Specifically, how children learn to read and what can be done to help struggling readers.

It turns out, two of my all-time favorite literacy stories (at least from the past two years) began with the work of one researcher: Northwestern University neurobiologist Nina Kraus.

Listen to this episode — and more! — here.

And share your comments with us on Twitter at @NPR_ed or via email at npred@npr.org.

First, Kraus found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn’t just get better at playing the trombone or violin; playing music also helped their brains process language. Consonants and vowels became clearer, allowing the brain to make sense of them more quickly. This heat map speaks volumes:

Improving Your Ear For Music, And Speech

Learning to play an instrument appears to strengthen the brain’s ability to capture the depth and richness of speech sounds. These heat maps of brainwaves show how much music lessons improved kids’ neurophysiological distinction of consonants.

Responsiveness to Sounds

Credit: LA Johnson and Alyson Hurt/NPR

The study’s set-up was as remarkable as its findings. While Kraus and her Northwestern lab are based in Evanston, Ill., she studied the brains of kids affiliated with the Los Angeles-based Harmony Project, a nonprofit after-school program that teaches music to children in low-income communities. So she and her team traveled to L.A. regularly, luggage full of scalp electrodes, and sat down with her subjects right there in the group’s Hollywood offices.

A Harmonic Haven For L.A. Kids

  • Hide caption

    A class for beginning flutists, crammed into an office building boardroom, labor over “Hot Cross Buns.” It’s part of Harmony Project, a nonprofit program offering music lessons in a wide range of instruments — flute, trombone, trumpet, oboe, violin, cello, drums — to kids from some of Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods. The instruments are provided, and the lessons are free.
    Annie Tritt for NPR
  • These students attend classes at Harmony Project's headquarters in Hollywood, Calif. The walls are thin; a few of the windows barely close. At 5 o'clock, staffers simply surrender their offices to the kids and their teachers. Forrest Powell, left, and his trumpet students are packed shoulder-to-shoulder in one office-turned-practice room.
    Hide caption

    These students attend classes at Harmony Project’s headquarters in Hollywood, Calif. The walls are thin; a few of the windows barely close. At 5 o’clock, staffers simply surrender their offices to the kids and their teachers. Forrest Powell, left, and his trumpet students are packed shoulder-to-shoulder in one office-turned-practice room.
    Annie Tritt for NPR
  • Student Cinee Hong eagerly waits for flute instructor Kathleen Ellingson's attention. Ellingson, a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, says when she's not teaching kids at Harmony Project, she's giving private lessons or working in the office of a local flute repair shop.
    Hide caption

    Student Cinee Hong eagerly waits for flute instructor Kathleen Ellingson’s attention. Ellingson, a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, says when she’s not teaching kids at Harmony Project, she’s giving private lessons or working in the office of a local flute repair shop.
    Annie Tritt for NPR
  • Ellingson, the flute instructor, is a big believer in the power of stickers to help her students remember where to place their fingers.
    Hide caption

    Ellingson, the flute instructor, is a big believer in the power of stickers to help her students remember where to place their fingers.
    Annie Tritt for NPR
  • While Harmony Project students head into their practice rooms, the second-floor hallway fills with parents and siblings who wait for an hour — reading books, playing video games, or entertaining each other.
    Hide caption

    While Harmony Project students head into their practice rooms, the second-floor hallway fills with parents and siblings who wait for an hour — reading books, playing video games, or entertaining each other.
    Annie Tritt for NPR
  • Esmeralda Martinez, center, demonstrates good trombone posture. Her practice room is an office and storage room by day which requires the kids to squeeze in between filing cabinets, folding chairs and stacked instruments.
    Hide caption

    Esmeralda Martinez, center, demonstrates good trombone posture. Her practice room is an office and storage room by day which requires the kids to squeeze in between filing cabinets, folding chairs and stacked instruments.
    Annie Tritt for NPR
  • Trumpet teacher Danny Levin gets a laugh out of Katie Vela, left, and Andres Lopez, right, as he demonstrates what their chins should not be doing while playing.
    Hide caption

    Trumpet teacher Danny Levin gets a laugh out of Katie Vela, left, and Andres Lopez, right, as he demonstrates what their chins should not be doing while playing.
    Annie Tritt for NPR
  • Around 6 o'clock, the beginners retreat to the hallway, rejoin their parents and siblings, and head home for dinner and homework. The kids are expected at lessons two to three days a week and to practice daily.
    Hide caption

    Around 6 o’clock, the beginners retreat to the hallway, rejoin their parents and siblings, and head home for dinner and homework. The kids are expected at lessons two to three days a week and to practice daily.
    Annie Tritt for NPR

To be clear, simply playing Mozart for your kids will not have the same effect. It’s still a fine idea. A little Mozart never hurt anyone, but Kraus found that the benefit comes from playing the harpsichord, not listening to it.

The Harmony Project study pairs nicely with this story that popped up last summer. This time, Kraus and her team developed an auditory test that can be given to children before they’re old enough to read but that can predict, with remarkable accuracy, future literacy trouble. The test is a feast for the ears which my crack producer, Sami Yenigun, recreated for the radio when the story first aired on Morning Edition.

As you’ll hear, the basic idea of the test is to measure how faithfully children can hear and catalog speech sounds. Kraus says that a child who has trouble processing language at 3 years old will likely struggle to read later on and that a simple, early-warning test could be a powerful tool to help children before they fall behind in school.

Now that you’re done reading, let the listening begin!


Related reading:

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Astrophysicist, Wine Lover, Foodie: The Neil deGrasse Tyson You Didn't Know

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous astrophysicist, is also a great oenophile and lover of food.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous astrophysicist, is also a great oenophile and lover of food. Beth Lebwohl hide caption

toggle caption Beth Lebwohl

You probably know Neil deGrasse Tyson as an astrophysicist with a seemingly endless stream of science fun facts at his command. You might not be aware that he is also a great oenophile and lover of food.

Some 16 years ago, before I was a journalist and illustrator, I worked with Neil at the American Museum of Natural History. He would sometimes carry around a small canvas tote bag. As I recall, the bag would contain one of two things: either a weighty, mango-sized meteorite to show to guests of the museum, or a bottle of wine to gift to a colleague.

It was pretty symbolic of his twin passions – the heavens, and wine. (By extension, that includes cuisine.) I recently talked with NdGT about how these all collide in the kitchen.

On how general, broad knowledge of scientific concepts is useful in the kitchen …

-The lower-than-32-degrees freezing point of liquids that contain alcohol, like wine, allows you to chill a bottle of white wine to sub-freezing temperatures without it freezing, before you bring it a dinner party. The wine warms up during the travel time to just the right temperature in time for dinner.

-When emptying water from a narrow-necked bottle after cleaning it, the water will exit the bottle about twice as fast if you swirl it, tornado style. Swirling water creates a path in its center for air to replace the water that’s leaving the bottle. Without it, the water from an inverted bottle must glug its way out, taking turns with pulses of air that move in to replace the water that has left the bottle.

-If you take a pint of rock-solid ice cream from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator, the temperature difference between the ice cream and the surrounding air will be much less than if you put it on the counter. This slows down the rate at which the ice cream gets warmer, allowing the entire pint to change temperature at a uniform rate. After an hour or so, the ice cream is at a perfect temperature throughout. Whereas, had the pint been left on the counter, the edges get melty first while the center stays solid.

On what aliens on other planets might eat …

Except for salt, everything we eat that has nutritional value was once alive, or was secreted by something that was alive. On the face of it, that’s quite barbaric — we all kill living organisms for our nourishment.

The ultimate source of all that energy is the Sun. Maybe aliens bypass the middle-man and get their energy directly from their host star, via photosynthesis, or some other method we have yet to divine. In that way, they don’t have to kill anything to survive. What would we look like to them?

Neil Degrasse Tyson Food Guide

Beth Lebwohl

On how he would entertain Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan if they were all having dinner together …

I would cook dinner for them myself and serve my finest wines across many courses of food, sampling many different dishes that will include pasta, rice, corn, fish, fowl, lamb, beef, and pork, followed by fruit and a cheese platter. Newton will ask if I am king of my country. And I will reply that farming and food distribution has come a long way since his day. So that now, average people — even people who would be his servants — can eat like royalty.

We’d have to catch Newton up on all the scientific and technological advances in society that his discoveries spawned. “Why are there no horses pulling those metal carriages?Why is there no flame in the lighting fixture?” “How do you fit all those music-playing instruments in that tiny hand-held device?” In Newton’s day the concepts of atoms, energy, electricity and motors were not yet developed. After[wards], I tell him we also fly hundreds of people at a time through the air at 500 miles per hour and at 30,000 feet altitude, a hundred thousand times per day. I then say we’ve travelled to the moon nine times. Right around then, his head explodes. (You can see this might take several dinners.)

As for Einstein, I’d just tell him that everything he predicted came true.

As for Sagan, I’d alert him that we’ve continued his legacy by creating a follow-on Cosmos in 2014 to his original [Cosmos show] in 1980. From all I know of his character, he’d be delighted to learn of this.

On how his passion for wine complements his passion for astrophysics …

I’m a sucker for cosmically conceived wine names and labels. A wine that immediately comes to mind is Astralis, a Shiraz by the Aussie winemaker Clarendon Hills. The black label boldly displays the Southern Cross [constellation]. Another wine is Luce, a “Super Tuscan” wine from Italy, born of the collaboration between American winemaking legend Robert Mondavi, and Italian winemaker Vittorio Frescobaldi. Their bottle does not use a paper label. Instead, they’ve etched in color — a stylized image of the Sun in the glass bottle itself. (Of course, luce in Italian means light.) These two wines are not cheap, but they look good on a table, and the wine is pretty good, too.

On his most cherished quotation about cuisine …

It is: “The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” -Galileo Galilei

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Roger Ailes' Unparalled Impact On The Public Sphere

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in his New York City studios in 2006. Ailes served as CEO from Fox News' first day in 1996.

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in his New York City studios in 2006. Ailes served as CEO from Fox News’ first day in 1996. Jim Cooper/AP hide caption

toggle caption Jim Cooper/AP

The news that sexual harassment allegations have cost Roger Ailes his job threatens to obscure Ailes’ singular career and his almost unrivaled influence in the public sphere.

But no contemporary figure has done more to shape the intersection of American media and politics than Ailes who, until Thursday, had been the Fox News chief since its very first day on the air in 1996.

In his long career Ailes advised a succession of Republican presidents on how to gain power and maintain it — both on their payrolls and off the books.

He showed how to bring flair and flash to financial coverage as president of CNBC.

Then Ailes gave a turbo boost to the Republican movement in the mid-1990s, just in time to fuel opposition to the Clinton White House, with the creation of Fox News. It was a partnership and mind-meld between Ailes and his new patron, media magnate Rupert Murdoch.

Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, and a familiar figure on Fox News, told me the new network gave conservatives hope.

“They were so used to thinking that the media was completely barren as far as they were concerned,” Barnes said. “There was nothing there for them. It was all for liberals. And then Fox comes along – and they really glommed on it.”

Fox served as the home of debate within the conservative movement. At its default setting, Fox blended pugilistic, right-of-center populism, resentment of changing demographics and sexual mores and a strong nationalistic tone.

Fox News’ success also drove television news as a whole more toward conflict, given its emphasis on assertion over reporting.

Fred Barnes spoke to me outside the arena for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. It was perhaps fitting that the end game for Ailes played out as Republicans gathered there.

From Entertainment To Politics

Ailes, an Ohio native, enjoyed his first big professional success in Cleveland, as a producer of the local variety and talk program called The Mike Douglas Show.

In time, the show went national. So did Ailes.

After Richard Nixon appeared on the show during the 1968 campaign, Ailes gave the candidate some advice: use televised appearances to go around the press and interact with voters. More to the point, be seen interacting with voters.

Political consultant Roger Ailes is shown in his office in New York in 1971. Ailes was a political adviser to many leading Republicans including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Karl Rove.

Political consultant Roger Ailes is shown in his office in New York in 1971. Ailes was a political adviser to many leading Republicans including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Karl Rove. Jerry Mosey/AP hide caption

toggle caption Jerry Mosey/AP

In one such encounter, former college football coach Bud Wilkinson, a Nixon fan and friend, served as moderator. “No one has any idea what questions will be asked,” Wilkinson told viewers. “Mr. Nixon cannot possibly know. His answers must be immediate and direct – and our panel is representative.”

In reality, the panelists were pretty carefully screened.

Ailes ended up advising the Nixon White House. He also rose to be executive producer of The Mike Douglas Show, which lasted for thousands of episodes. Ailes dabbled in Broadway, producing two shows, including The Hot l Baltimore.

He advised President Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984, helping Reagan revive his fortunes following a disastrous first debate against Walter Mondale.

Reagan dominated the second debate with remarks that became political legend. Pressed on his age, for example, Reagan said, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Reagan never looked back.

Ailes kept toggling between producing television specials and serving as a political consultant, sometimes doing both at once.

In 1988, Ailes played a key role in George H.W. Bush’s White House bid. A climactic moment arrived early that year. Ailes warned Bush that CBS News anchor Dan Rather was primed to go after him on the Iran-Contra scandal during a live interview. The conversation turned testy.

Bush ordinarily displayed a patrician reserve. Ailes goaded Bush to rumble. When pressed by Rather, the vice president roared back, “It’s not fair to judge my whole career by a rehash on Iran. How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York?”

Bush was jabbing Rather over a 1987 incident in which the network delayed the start of CBS Evening News to carry the end of a U.S. Open tennis match. Rather, infuriated, walked off the set (on location in Miami, not New York). When the match ended, the network went black for more than six minutes before Rather returned.

That year, Ailes published the book, You Are the Message, a primer on how candidates and corporate executives should communicate with the public. He proceeded to manage several unsuccessful Republican campaigns, starting with Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral bid in New York City in 1989.

Ailes left politics once more, though hardly definitively. He produced Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and then joined CNBC to build it up into a recognizable version of what the channel is today.

The Era Of Fox News

He later jumped at the chance to run Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News – defined as an alternative to the liberal media at its launch in fall 1996.

Roger Ailes, left, speaks at a news conference with Rupert Murdoch in Jan. 1996 after it was announced Ailes would be chairman and CEO of Fox News.

Roger Ailes, left, speaks at a news conference with Rupert Murdoch in Jan. 1996 after it was announced Ailes would be chairman and CEO of Fox News. Richard Drew/AP hide caption

toggle caption Richard Drew/AP

Fox built up momentum during the impeachment process of President Bill Clinton and then surged after the disputed 2000 presidential election and the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

The channel draped itself in patriotism – a constant Ailes refrain. Fox would become the top-rated cable news channel and has remained so ever since.

Before Thursday evening, many with ties to the network said there is no way to disentangle what they felt about Fox from what they felt about Ailes.

“At Fox, everything is due to Roger,” Fred Barnes said. “It was entirely his vision. And what he created – one guy creating that. I’m still amazed.”

News reports were often straight ahead. But common themes cropped up on the opinion shows, including some racial undercurrents.

In a 2009 appearance on Fox & Friends, Glenn Beck, who at the time hosted his own show on Fox, said of President Obama, “This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

Ultimately Beck’s conspiracy-driven rhetoric and his belief that his star shined brighter than the network’s was too much for even Ailes, who did not renew Beck’s contract.

Ailes never fully shed his partisan activities. He counseled President George W. Bush’s chief adviser, Karl Rove, during the invasion of Iraq,

In 2012, he personally encouraged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run against Obama and sent an emissary to Afghanistan to try to coax Gen. David Petraeus into the race. (That secret mission, carried out by a Fox News national security analyst, was taped.)

Ailes had put many of the candidates in the past few cycles on the Fox payroll; John Kasich and Mike Huckabee used to be Fox News hosts, while Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson had all been paid Fox News commentators.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly moderates the Republican Presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 28.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly moderates the Republican Presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 28. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Above all Ailes wanted Fox News to referee Republican Party politics.

That backfired, in a sense, last August, when Fox news host Megyn Kelly confronted Donald Trump in the first Republican debate.

Kelly said, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.'”

Trump interjected, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.”

“No, it wasn’t,” Kelly said.

After the debate, Trump attacked Kelly and Fox News and appeared repeatedly on rival networks, driving up their ratings.

Ailes effectively sued for peace with Trump, alienating Kelly.

The Obsessions Of Roger Ailes

One of Ailes’ former executives once told me you just had to watch Fox to understand his obsessions.

The channel was drenched in stories about sex.

Women presenters on Fox were often overtly sexualized. They were steered to wear revealing outfits, while cameras lingered over their legs.

The morning show Fox & Friends, a peppy mix of fraternity humor, gossip and conservative chat, was a particular source of charged banter.

Gretchen Carlson had been a co-host on the show for years. She filed suit earlier this month alleging that Ailes had demoted her to an early afternoon show several years ago, cutting her pay, as a result of her complaints of sexism on the set. He then proceeded to make increasingly plain sexual advances, according to her suit.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appears on Fox & Friends with co-anchors Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade in 2011. Carlson filed suit earlier this month alleging that Ailes had demoted her to an early afternoon show several years ago, cutting her pay, as a result of her complaints of sexism on the set.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appears on Fox & Friends with co-anchors Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade in 2011. Carlson filed suit earlier this month alleging that Ailes had demoted her to an early afternoon show several years ago, cutting her pay, as a result of her complaints of sexism on the set. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Some anchors and hosts defended Ailes, including some women, in what appeared to be a coordinated effort.

Megyn Kelly, by contrast, held back from public comment and cooperated with an inquiry set up by parent company 21st Century Fox. She reportedly told the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison — which was conducting the inquiry — that Ailes had harassed her, too, when she was a young reporter in the network’s Washington bureau. Others have also come forward.

Ailes’ management style knit together fierce loyalty and paranoia. Many Fox News journalists have told me of their deep fears of offending Ailes, including one who, like Carlson, says she was sexually harassed by him in recent years.

One way such loyalty can be enforced: Ailes’ PR department has peddled negative stories about colleagues who fell out of favor. In one instance, a publicist successfully planted a story in the Washington Post depicting then-anchor Laurie Dhue as drunk at a black-tie affair; after leaving the network, she acknowledged she was an alcoholic. Her lawyer said Thursday she, too, is writing a book about her interactions with Ailes and others at Fox.

Ailes is receiving a severance package in the tens of millions of dollars, though he will remain an adviser to Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch will oversee the network in the short term.

Until Carlson’s lawsuit, Ailes’ charisma, his accomplishments and his stature held sway.

No longer.

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Search For Missing Malaysia Airlines Jetliner Will Be Suspended

Relatives of passengers missing on Malaysia Airlines MH370 hold placards after a joint press conference on the search for the missing airliner Friday. The search will be suspended if nothing turns up in the current area, officials say.

Relatives of passengers missing on Malaysia Airlines MH370 hold placards after a joint press conference on the search for the missing airliner Friday. The search will be suspended if nothing turns up in the current area, officials say. Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images

Three countries leading the effort to find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March of 2014 with 239 people aboard, say they plan to suspend their search for the missing airliner. While the search has turned up tantalizing clues, officials say hope of finding the jet is fading.

Despite finding debris that promised to be from the Boeing 777, ministers from Malaysia, China, and Australia who met this week to discuss the state of the search also noted that “none of it had provided information that positively identified the precise location of the aircraft.”

From Beijing, NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports:

“Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters that searchers are not giving up, they’re just going to put the search on hold until they get some information on the plane’s location.

“They’ve already spent $135 million and scoured over 46,000 square miles of the southern Indian Ocean looking for it. The current phase of the search is almost finished, but has been delayed by poor weather.

“The cause of the plane’s disappearance remains a mystery. One explanation is that the pilot might have crashed the plane into the ocean on purpose, but Transport Minister Liow says there’s not enough evidence to support that.”

The Malaysian transport minister was meeting with his counterparts from China, where many of the passengers were from, and Australia, which is leading the search. They say that the current search, of an area of 120,000 square kilometers, is nearly at an end, and the chances are slim that it will prove fruitful.

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