May 31, 2017

Roger Ailes' last wish: Out-foxing Fox

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Before Roger Ailes' death on May 18, he expressed a final wish to some of his few remaining confidants: to get back in the game, with a conservative network that would position itself to the right of Fox News, as his baby became more moderate under the next generation of Murdoch leadership.

In his final days, Ailes sent a message to Steve Bannon in the White House that he'd love to team up on a new conservative media powerhouse.

  • What we hear: Bannon, who otherwise would have been intrigued by the notion, had no desire to leave the White House. So Ailes' last big idea remained just that.

P.S. The well-wired Michael Wolff reported in The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that the departure of Sean Hannity, the last man standing among the longtime prime-time stars, is "almost inevitable."

  • What we hear: That's still true, although it's unclear whether the impetus would come from Hannnity or from Fox. Either way, the drama could take months to play out.
  • A scenario: As Wolff pointed out, a possible future home for Hannity (reunited with Bill O'Reilly?) might be Sinclair Broadcast Group, a newly muscular chain of local TV stations that shows an unabashed bend to the right.

Go deeper

Wall Street notches worst week for stocks since 2008

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Stocks closed down about 1% on Friday, ending the worst week for Wall Street since the financial crisis.

Why it matters: The stretch of declines came after a spike in coronavirus cases around the world earlier this week. The steep losses prompted questions about the fate of the record-long economic expansion, as well as a rare statement from the Federal Reserve.

Go deeper: The growing coronavirus recession threat

Federal Reserve: Coronavirus poses "evolving risk" to the economy

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell took the rare move Friday of issuing a statement meant to reassure investors, one that opened the door to a possible interest rate cut.

Why it matters: The Fed rarely issues statements like this outside of policy meetings and scheduled public appearances. It came as the stock market continues its steep decline this week. Stocks briefly pared some losses after the 2:30 p.m. EST statement came out.