New Biography Paints Unflattering Portrait of Fox News Chief Roger Ailes; Among the Highlights: He Wanted to Elect the Next President, Gloated Over the Departure of Lachlan Murdoch and Spoke Unkindly of Bill O'Reilly and Brian Kilmeade NY Times
A new book about Fox News chief Roger Ailes, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” casts a critical light on the executive, describing him speaking disparagingly of his most popular on-air talent, calling Bill O’Reilly “a book salesman with a TV show” and Brian Kilmeade “a soccer coach from Long Island,” The New York Times reports.
The Times’ Julie Bosman and Bill Carter got an early copy of the 560-page biography, which is written by Gabriel Sherman. It will be published Jan. 21 by Random House.
The book details how Ailes wanted to influence national politics, telling his executives, “I want to elect the next president.” He also battled Lachlan Murdoch, a son of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, and openly gloated when the son eventually stepped away from the company.
“The book aims to be an exhaustive look at Mr. Ailes’ life and his monumental career, particularly as chairman of Fox News Channel,” Bosman and Carter write. “The book describes in detail Mr. Ailes’ professional ambition, his desire to influence American politics through a conservative prism, and his status as a visionary who possessed an intuitive understanding of the power of television to shape public opinion.”
Even before its publication, the book has come under attack from people connected to Fox News, the story notes. Some employees and contributors to Fox News have “ taken to Twitter to attack Mr. Sherman,” the piece notes.
“Mr. Ailes, in what some viewed as an attempt to pre-empt Mr. Sherman’s book, cooperated with another biography, 'Roger Ailes: Off Camera' by Zev Chafets, which was published last year by Sentinel, a conservative imprint at Penguin,” the story notes.
Sherman interviewed 614 people who knew or worked with Ailes, and spent three years reporting and writing the book.
“Former employees cited in the book talked of Mr. Ailes’ volatile temper and domineering behavior. In one anecdote, a television producer, Randi Harrison, told Mr. Sherman that while negotiating her salary with Mr. Ailes at NBC in the 1980s, he offered her an additional $100 each week ‘if you agree to have sex with me whenever I want,’” The Times writes.
A Fox News spokeswoman released a statement Tuesday saying: “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."