Media Can’t Get Enough Of New Bio On Fox News Chief Roger Ailes

A new book on Roger Ailes will test whether an executive who cuts a grand swath through the media industry is of equal interest to the general population

CNN's "Reliable Sources" Tackles Roger Ailes
Catrina Genovese/WireImage

Roger Ailes isn’t President of the United States, but the attention being paid to a new and unauthorized biography of the Fox News Channel chief and TV-industry veteran could make one think he is.

Since The New York Times published a report Tuesday on allegations raised by “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” a 560-page biography of Ailes by New York Magazine contributing editor Gabriel Sherman, some media outlets seem drawn to the topic like moths to a flame. New York magazine followed the Times report, details of which appear to have been leaked before the book’s debut in stores later this month, with an excerpt about a local newspaper the TV executive’s wife owns in Garrison, N.Y.

According to The New York Times piece, the book alleges that Ailes feuded with Lachlan Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, who runs 21st Century Fox, the company that operates Fox News Channel, and used blunt language to describe some of the best-known personalities on the cable-news network he runs. The book also presents a story about a colorful clash that took place in the 1990s using charged language between Ailes and David Zaslav, currently chief executive of Discovery Communications, while both worked at NBC (both men denied the allegation, the Times reported).

“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,” a spokesperson for the network said.

As the creator of a fast-rising outlet that now dominates cable-news and has tremendous influence on the American political landscape, Ailes is a fascinating character to people who study the U.S. media industry.

On Twitter, reporters from outlets like Politico and Yahoo can’t seem to dig up enough detail on the book’s publication date (reports suggest it has been moved up a week) or whether Sherman has dug up new information or is summarizing up previously tilled ground in an effort to paint a broader picture. Now he and his publisher, Random House, must wonder if Ailes is a subject of equal interest to the general population.

More excerpts from “The Loudest Voice In The Room” may surface, said Barbara Fillon, a Random House publicist, some as early as next week. And Sherman is expected to launch a website aimed at responding to criticism of the book and serving as a center for discussion of its details. “There is a lot of interest,” she said.

Sherman did not respond to an email seeking direct comment. In a statement provided by Random House, he said: “During two and a half years of reporting, I made a dozen requests both in writing and in person to speak with Roger Ailes about every aspect of my book, ‘The Loudest Voice in the Room.’ A team of two fact-checkers spent more than 2,000 hours vetting the manuscript before publication. Roger Ailes declined every request to discuss the reporting with me.” Fox News confirmed that the network never received a list of detailed questions aimed at checking facts presented in the book.

While the book awaits publication, Ailes’ handiwork is on display for all to see — every hour on television.