Donald Trump

Divide and Conquer charts the American rise and fall of Roger Ailes: EW review

Instead, it’s a riveting and mostly fair-and-balanced biographical snapshot of a man who helped presidents get elected and then whispered in their ears, who saw the television landscape more clearly and more quickly than his contemporaries, and who finally let all that go to his head, prompting his own undoing.

Born the hemophiliac son of a factory foreman in Warren, Ohio, Ailes grew up with a cruel, unloving father (or so he liked to tell it) and with his nose pressed against the glass, daydreaming of those more privileged.

Always looking for next rung to climb, one day he pulled one of the show’s guests aside, then-presidential hopeful Richard Nixon, and convinced him that he needed a media advisor if he wanted to win the 1968 election.

Divide and Conquer trots out a wide variety of talking heads from both sides of the aisle who share their firsthand experiences with Ailes — some are stories of loyalty, others of outright betrayal.

The latter become especially powerful when several female former employees detail Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment and blunt pay-to-play propositions promising promotions and air time for sex.

Even if you don’t have a lick of sympathy for Ailes, the final months of his life are presented in Bloom’s film with a tragic, almost Citizen Kane -like sadness as his arrogance turns to paranoia and delusion.

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