The Facts: A new book, The Loudest Voice in the Room, by Gabriel Sherman, is an unauthorized biography of Roger Ailes that isn’t particularly flattering (see NYTimes article here). Among other things, he’s a “volatile” and “domineering” manager that has turned Fox News into a wing of the Republican party (to which he is the de-facto head). Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be new to a lot of people (though the details of the book are still coming out).
The Spin: Fox News fans are dismissing the book as a politically motivated attack (like the accusation that he offered a higher salary in exchange for sex from a potential employee he was courting). Liberals are talking about how the book is so well-reported and accurate (Fox News claims it wasn’t fact-checked, but Gabriel Sherman disagrees here on Politico). What’s more interesting is that there isn’t a word about the new book or the revelations on FoxNews.com.
Chiou On This: We don’t think this will change much at Fox News or the perception of Roger Ailes. He will likely continue winning at cable news by introducing new talent (i.e. Megyn Kelly who has been a hit) and beating CNN and msnbc. We can’t imagine this makes his enemies think of him any worse (since that’s probably not even possible). Interestingly, the Hollywood Reporter today released an interview with Ailes in which he talks retirement, other networks, Megyn Kelly & Santa, and whales, perhaps to blunt the impact of the book. Whatever your feelings on Fox News and Ailes, the network has won the ratings war for years, with everyone else battling for second place, so we respect him for that. We may not agree with him on everything, but we’ll be interested in what else the book reveals. Favorite line from the Hollywood Reporter interview:
“For CNN to also throw in the towel and announce they’re out of the news business is quite interesting. That means Fox has won the cable news wars. [Zucker] had a big hit with a whale one night [the documentary Blackfish]. I guess he’s going to do whales a lot. If I were Discovery, I’d be worried.”
Whatchu Think? Is Roger Ailes a genius for his success at Fox News? Or is he a terrible person?