Gabriel Sherman’s new biography of Roger Ailes does not pull any punches in describing the life and times of the conservative Fox News Chairman. The New York Times received a copy of Sherman’s new book on Roger Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room, due to be published on January 21st by Random House.
The biography took over three years to research and write. Sherman interviewed over 600 people, including many close associates of Roger Ailes, for the book. Ailes is portrayed as an egotistical power-monger in the biography, at one point flat-out telling Fox News executives in mid-2012: “I want to elect the next president.”
Exhaustive look at Roger Ailes’ career
The Loudest Voice in the Room is intended to be an exhaustive examination of the life and times of Roger Ailes, with an especial focus on his years as Chairman of Fox News. The 560-page biography chronicles Roger Ailes from boyhood in Ohio through his years as Fox News Chairman, including his first career as a political consultant. Besides his phenomenal success at Fox, Sherman credits Ailes as being one of the first people in politics to recognize the importance of television and exploit television for political campaigns and shaping public opinion.
Vignettes from new Ailes biography
Sherman describes one episode where the ever-ambitious Roger Ailes even went head-to-head with Lachlan Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, and how he openly gloated when the younger Mr. Murdoch eventually left his post. According to Sherman’s source Ailes even went as far commandeering the younger Murdoch’s chair after he left.
The biography also describes how Roger Ailes is disdainful of on-air talent. He once reportedly called Bill O’Reilly “a book salesman with a TV show,” and referred to enthusiastic Fox News host Brian Kilmeade as “a soccer coach from Long Island.”
Fox News denies charges
Fox News is vigorously denying the charges that have been leaked to date from Sherman’s book. A Fox News spokeswoman issued a statement yesterday: “These charges are false. While we have not read the book, the only reality here is that Gabe was not provided any direct access to Roger Ailes and the book was never fact-checked with Fox News.”
Ailes was asked about his relationship with Murdoch in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published today. He replied, “It’s very good. He’s not in town today, but the door could open. He wanders in and ruins my schedule and just wants to talk. He calls once every day or two usually just to gossip and catch up on the news. We’ve hit our numbers for 16 straight years. I don’t have a lot of issues related to the business side because I tend to deliver what I promise to deliver. I think that’s the way it is with Rupert. If you deliver money, you do fine.”
Biography criticized before publication
Sherman’s unauthorized biography has been sharply criticized by numerous people connected to Fox News, including employees and others who have attacked Sherman via social media before the book has even been published.
Somewhat ironically, Roger Ailes recently cooperated with another biography titled Roger Ailes: Off Camera, by Zev Chafets. This authorized biography was published last summer by Sentinel, a conservative imprint of Penguin. Several journalists and political analysts have pointed to the not-so-coincidental timing of the Chafets bio as an attempt to pre-empt Sherman’s less-than-flattering biography.
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