PALM BEACH — With a guy like Palm Beacher Roger Ailes and the constellation of extreme right personalities he surrounded himself with, you knew something as simple as a funeral would turn and twist into something weird.
And someone, we believe Rush Limbaugh, hired a trio of armed private investigators to try to intimidate reporters. They did a terrible job.
Yes, folks, the right’s punditry sect couldn’t keep even a funeral classy!
Take radio talker Laura Ingraham, for example.
Ingraham, who hyperventilates about “fake news” on the air day in and day out, was at the funeral alongside the likes of Fox News stars Sean Hannity and Kimberly Guilfoyle.
But the website Ingraham founded, LifeZette, made up a story out of thin air about the behavior of Ailes’s son, 17-year-old Zachary, at the ceremony.
According to this fake news in LifeZette, Zachary took to the microphone during the service.
The story claims Zachary referred to his dad’s firing from Fox News last year in the wake of a sex harassment scandal when he said to the mourners: “I want all the people who betrayed my father to know that I’m coming after them, and hell is coming with me.”
Sounds like a great yarn. Especially in the context of the cheap machismo that the right likes to serve up.
Except, it never happened.
Zachary was shook up after seeing his father die after a fall at their $36 million-mansion on Palm Beach’s waterfront. No matter what anyone thought of Ailes, Zachary visibly ached for his dad. Still, he remained a gentleman through and through.
And he didn’t speak from the altar.
How do I know?
I was sitting 10 rows back from Zachary at the ceremony from the first minute to the last.
And the hundreds of media outlets who picked up the story from an outfit as unreliable as Ingraham’s online pet project were just as wrong.
We emailed the website for comment and haven’t heard back. But now, there’s another story floating around saying Ailes’ son made the comment at the post-funeral lunch at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach.
Then there were the “men in black,” and we’re not talking about the black-clad mourners here.
Someone among the 100 or so mourners thought it was appropriate to bring three — THREE!!! — armed private investigators to watch over them.
In a house of God.
And one of the three PIs thought it appropriate to tail working journalists like yours truly.
Of course, he was found out even before he took photos of the cars my photographer and myself used, something that speaks to the quality of his work.
Actually, through chats with funeral workers, we tracked the guy down.
His name’s Dennis Dore and he is known to provide intelligence to local politicians. According to state licensing authorities, Dore also packs heat.
Who hired him and his brethren?
The smart money is on Limbaugh, who came with his wife Kathryn and was nice enough to give me a couple of quotes about Ailes.
In Palm Beach, however, El Rusho’s known to surround himself with more private security guards than advertisers on his show.
We asked Dore to comment but haven’t heard back.
Ailes’ funeral was a strange affair indeed.
And those who knew him would tell you he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.