The Loudest Voice in the Room Roger Ailes, Fox News and the Remaking of American Politics by Gabriel Sherman is not only a book about Ailes as an adult but about how his father raised him and his childhood to adulthood His father was a douche bag also and taught Ailes to be the douche bag Ailes is today Ailes has perfected it This book is good in showing Ailes personality though out his life and how people catered to him, I am not sure why at times, and this gave him evenpower This was before he was fired from Fox This must be Trump s soulmate and why Trump took him to his bosom I wanted to knock the stars down just for the subject but that wouldn t be fair, lol I did however decrease the rating for all the extra things I thought were just too much that didn t seem to lead anywhere that I could see, but there were sooooo many people in his life it was difficult to track Too many and it gets confusing Good book on a bad character Thanks for showing us that he was a dick his whole life and how he got that way. This is a very important book for understanding America and it s place in the world over the past twenty years It can certainly be argued that Roger Ailes has been one of the most important historical figures shaping the world that we live in right now And it that sense, I mean, shaping it for the worse The Loudest Voice is a fascinating portrait of a political genius of the right and his long career in television In his youth, from working as a talk show producer to a stint on Broadway believe it or not, Ailes certainly comes across as an interesting guy even if it s all just foreshadowing for the powerful force he will become later As we get into politics, campaigns, and ultimately Fox News, the scope of the book widens It isn t only about Ailes, we also get to read up about the backstories of such iconic characters as Richard Nixon, Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner and eventually those terrible talking heads Sean Hannity, Bill O Reilly, and Glenn Beck As well as of course Fox, there s much to be said about behind the scenes action in the cable news wars between CNN and MSNBC as the networks are founded and evolve or rather, devolve over the years Roger Ailes, ultimately, is a villain There s no question of that Fox was problematic from the start From the Clinton years, to war mongering in the Bush years, and in the end Fox completely goes off the rails in the Obama years With much juicy gossip as the ruthless Murdoch family fights along the way Although it s several years old now, the book is an excellent companion for fans of the underrated Showtime series The Loudest Voice However, for anyone who had been following Ailes true story, the book disppitates around the 2012 election in which Obama was reelected It doesn t get to the shockingrecent history of when Ailes is fired for the sexual harassment of Gretchen Carlson, followed by the insane shakeup of 2016 as the right s anti intellectual monster became fully out of control, and then he died Roger Ailes was a man who helped make America a worse place He was a sexist, a liar, and utilized every racist dirty trick he could come up with to win and reshape the information wars in his own image Now we are in a post truth world that he was arguably personally responsible for Despite the pessimism this all leaves with the reader, it is important to learn these things Often times in the story, Ailes and his extreme rightist cronies were underestimated by the establishment again and again Let us take these dangers seriously, and never again underestimate the power of cynical pandering to the worst of America Let us learn from them, and then fight harder. As a teenager growing up in the 1950s in Lima, Ohio, population 50,000 , I learned that our local daily, The Lima News, had been purchased by a man named R C Hoiles Hoiles lived in Orange County, California, and was a member of the John Birch Society He owned a chain of small town newspapers which he called surprise Freedom Newspapers I didn t know any of that at the time, though What I knew was just what I read in the News editorials denouncing the socialistic concept of free public schools and paeans to Senator Joseph McCarthy, the drunken liar and bully who claimed to see Communists under every desk.By now you ve guessed, of course, that I grew up in a Democratic household and learned very early to disregard the ravings of Hoiles mouthpiece at the local paper Although we Democrats were a small minority in a conservative Republican town, where the News frequently represented local opinion, Hoiles and his ilk were almost as widely disregarded in the larger society as my painting teacher, Mrs Elmer McClain, a Communist who was warmly received in Moscow by Nikita Khrushchev I kid you not.Oh, those were the good old days, when there was a Left and a Right, and nobody paid much attention to either Now, in the 21st Century, we have Roger Ailes, who is just as loopy and far to the Right as R C Hoiles, if notso, and not only is he widely regarded as brilliant but he s also running the most successful television news network in the country, a billion dollar venture that is widely understood to be an extension of the Republican Party s Right Wing.Ailes, it turns out, was raised in a similar Ohio town, Warren, and at about the same time as I was He s almost exactly one year older than me Surprisingly, though, Ailes showed little interest in politics until 1967, when he managed to trap then presidential candidate Richard Nixon in an hour long private meeting at the Ohio television station where he was a producer Ailes talked himself into a job as media advisor to Nixon, even though, to all appearances, he was then a liberal and disdained many of Nixon s policies He played a relatively small role in Nixon s campaign, but in subsequent elections Reagan in 1984, Bush I in 1992, Bush II in 2000, McCain in 2008, Romney in 2012 his influence was considerably greater, allowing him to claim that he had elected presidents By then, politics had hooked him thoroughly, and with every successive campaign in which Ailes became involved, his political views seemed to shift further to the Right Along the way, he Helped swing the 2000 election to George W Bush Became Rush Limbaugh s executive producer and a personal friend Put Glenn Beck on national television Championed the rise of the Tea Party Promoted partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill and throughout the country Made billions of dollars for his boss, the media mogul Rupert MurdochRoger Ailes built the Fox News Network beginning in 1996 based on his conviction that news should be presented as entertainment, emphasizing maximum drama and conflict It s a little hard to tell whether this belief helped propel Ailes Rightward or it served as rationalization for his and Fox s steady drift toward Right Wing extremism.Clearly, the outwardly visible benchmarks of Ailes career identify him now as about as extreme as you can get in contemporary America What s not so easily visible is Ailes behavior at the office and at home in Garrison, New York, where he maintains a 9,000 square foot mountaintop fortress with a panic room underground to protect Ailes and his wife for six months in the event of a terrorist assault on the site In The Loudest Voice in the Room, you can read all about Ailes outrageous behavior toward his colleagues, his subordinates, his neighbors, and even his friends.Of course, you ll find a bare bones outline of Ailes life on Wikipedia However, if you want the real story, read this book It s carefully researched and written with restraint, although the full spectrum of Ailes lunacy does come through clearly A century ago, men who behaved like Ailes would have been tagged as eccentric Nowadays we know better The man is simply nuts Brilliant, but nuts. His father taught him not to trust anyone While away at college, his divorced mother remarried, sold the Ohio home and moved to California without telling him about the move or what became of his things Roger Ailes learned to fend for himself.There are a lot of surprises about Ailes early life For instance He is a hemophiliac, he produced Broadway plays including a counter cultural ecology themed musical called Mother Earth , and he allowed himself to be followed around by Richard Gere, who was studying for a role as a campaign guru.Sherman follows Ailes through his successes and failures as a TV and theatrical producer In the beginning his media advice on political campaigns was a side line His work with Nixon and the resulting best seller about his role in it The Selling of the President both hindered and launched him As his life and career progressed so did Ailes anger and paranoia.There is background on the most curious of Ailes relationships such as Joe McGuinness author of The Selling of the President Rudloph Guiliani the NY elite his networks bashes and the Murdoch family his employer, whom he manipulates There is good back story on how Ailes got on with Nixon s staff, how he built Fox, Fox s hyping of Clinton s scandals and its presentation of the the 2000 Election returns, how Glen Beck came to leave Fox, the facts surrounding the O Reilly harassment and libel Al Franken lawsuits and much .The chapter on the Ailes s move to the Philipstown and purchase of its local newspaper is the story of Fox News in a microcosm There was the unnecessary stirring up and empowerment of angry people and the spouting of talking points half truths like those heard daily on the network Total control was demanded of the small newspaper staff This and a smothering paternalism you can stay at our place, for vacation, we ll take you to your family in our jet begat its own kind of indentured servitude Leaving was an act of disloyalty to be punished as many who left Fox News found out.The early years are well sourced For later years the author has to rely on public records, the broadcasts themselves and those who would speak out When Ailes leaves public life we, the public, will learn a lotsince there will be a spate of tell all memoirs by Fox News staff I hope someone does an Ailes on the Couch As this book ends, Fox while still the cable news leader, is declining in viewership Its technology is getting outdated It has lost two elections and in the interest of helping its party, has had to back away from the Tea Party it championed Rupert Murdoch is less enad of his producer It looks like there will be another battle ahead when Ailes contract expires.There are no photographs I d like to have seen the early Ailes, looking like Bobby Darin It is hard to imagine While his brother is quoted and his mother is referenced as present at one point, the family essentially is left after childhood Similarly, his health is dropped, as though his hemophilia has been outgrown The transition from anormal type A person to a full blown paranoiac control freak is not clearly shown, which may be due to finding sources to speak to this period.This is an excellent and courageous job I hope this author is not being followed or harassed like the staff of the PCNR and other enemies. The tragicomic anti hero at the heart of Gabriel Sherman s book The Loudest Voice in the Room is considered a hero by those on the Right and an enemy of the state by those on the Left He has capitalized upon fear and paranoia He has almost single handedly contributed to the irreparable divisiveness in this country He is undoubtedly brilliant He is also undoubtedly terrifying in the power that he wields His name is Roger Ailes.The man behind the creation and promulgation of FOX News is, in some ways, an enigma Ailes, himself, has fashioned himself that way He does not offer himself for interviews very often Indeed, Sherman admits that his numerous attempts to sit down with Ailes resulted in failure Ailes accused Sherman of harassment and that his basic premise of the book he was going to write was flat wrong He also accused Sherman of being paid by George Soros to write a smear piece Sherman admits that he received a fellowship at the New America Foundation in 2012, a self described nonpartisan think tank that received only.5 percent of its funding from Soros That was his only connection to Soros Sherman s basic premise was shaped by a May 2011 New York magazine article he wrote that described how Ailes was attempting to shape the 2012 GOP field in that year s upcoming election.Ailes s reaction was odd in that his attempts to shape the political landscape for the past two decades via FOX News a blatant Republican propaganda tool since its inception in 1996 was no secret, at least to anyone who knew, respected, and or feared Ailes.It is perhaps not that ironic that Ailes would refuse to give his side of the narrative to Sherman, an enemy liberal who would skew or decontextualize his words in some way to make him look awful, because this is the same journalistic tactics that Ailes encouraged at FOX News.In truth, Sherman s book is as close to objective journalism as one can expect to get nowadays, given how muddled and partisan biased mainstream media seems to be today Aside I personally don t understand the liberal and conservative bias in news News should be news a straight reportage of facts If anything is biased, it is news commentary Unfortunately, news commentary has become interchangeable with journalism today, making it difficult to separate or distinguish the two In my opinion, liberal bias in news is simply news that attempts to involve all sides of an issue or simply covering an issue, especially issues that conservatives don t like to hear gay rights, global climate change, religious fundamentalism, wealth inequality, just to name a few Conservative media does not cover those issues for fear of lending credence to them Conservative media also does not like criticism of conservatism in any way If it is not news that paints conservatives or conservatism in a positive light, then it s not news.Sherman s portrayal of Ailes is less demonic than it is simply pathetic I use the word pathetic in the sense of its primary definition evoking pity or sadness.Ailes is not an evil man Misguided, irrational, paranoid, hateful, and overzealous yes But he s not evil He is, if anything, the embodiment of a Baby Boomer knee jerk reaction to 21st century realities such as globalization, the Internet, an ever changing diversification of the American populace, and the perceived pro intellectual threat to religious fundamentalism Ailes simply grew up in a time when jobs were plenty, white people had all the power, and the tenets of Christianity were never questioned He also grew up during a pivotal and for him significant technological revolution television Born and raised in 1940 in the blue collar town of Warren, Ohio, Ailes grew up with the wondrous and therapeutic glow of TV always playing in the background Ailes was a sickly child he was a hemophiliac who was in and out of emergency rooms Doctors did not expect him to survive to his adulthood This undoubtedly went a long way in shaping the kind of person Ailes was to become A sense of urgency as if the next shoe could drop at any second was what drove him.As a student at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Ailes discovered broadcast journalism He was especially drawn to TV news He was especially interested in the untapped potential that television provided.While working in Cleveland and Hollywood on The Mike Douglas Show, Ailes, as executive producer, met presidential hopeful Richard Nixon Nixon, who thought TV was a gimmick that politicians had to use to bolster poll ratings, was quickly berated by Ailes, who told him, Television is not a gimmick, and if you think it is, you ll lose again Needless to say, Nixon liked Ailes s straightforward and unique vision.Ailes became a media consultant for the Nixon campaign, and his savvy knowledge of the television industry helped to get Nixon elected Nixon would not be the only candidate that Ailes helped to get elected thanks to TV.For a brief time, Ailes was involved in a second love, theater He worked to get several shows put on Broadway, many of them flops, but his brief time in the theater world shaped his views on the power of entertainment.When Ailes met media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it formed a friendship that would have major impact in the fledgling world of cable news Several failed attempts at cable news channels did not deter Murdoch and Ailes, both of whom believed that there was a market for a fair and balanced news source in a medium overrun by liberals Ailes dreamed of a conservative news source to counteract the destructive liberal media, one that would incorporate his love for conservative politics and entertainment.After some bumpy starts, FOX News aired in 1996 Its immediate success was in large part due to a fortuitous event President Bill Clinton s extramarital affair with an intern at the White House named Monica Lewinsky The subsequent media shitstorm was a godsend for FOX News Not only was it a Democratic president being excoriated and pummelled, but the story had the perfect amount of sex and tawdriness to help boost the ratings of the new cable channel.While many people even within FOX News knew that Ailes s creation was a Republican propaganda tool, there was some speculation, at first, as to how much Ailes, himself, bought into his own rhetoric.Was he being devil s advocate or did he actually drink the Kool Aid that he and his on air puppets like Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly were trying to sell to the American people Life long friend Bobby Kennedy Jr said that, Roger believes that ends justify the means Which was a Nixonian idea It s the idea that everybody does it, that the world is really a struggle for power That justifies a lot of the things he s done at FOX News His views are sincere He thinks he s preserving the American way of life In his heart, he thinks America is probably better off being a white Christian nation He s driven by his own paranoia and he knows how to get in touch with his own paranoia He makes Americans comfortable with their bigotry, their paranoia, and their xenophobia p.108 That FOX News has continued to be a successful channel says muchabout Americans than it does Ailes It also helps to explain the popularity of presidential hopeful Donald J Trump, who would not be as popular, arguably, without Ailes and FOX News.Trump embodies the xenophobic and anti intellectual qualities that Ailes has tried to hone in past potential Republican presidential candidates and to inculcate in FOX News viewers Ultimately, it s sad that a person as brilliant as Ailes would use his intelligence and power to foment discord and hatred in the country That he is obsessed with being well liked is even sadder It is one of many contradictory things about Ailes.As Sherman writes, Ailes s campaign to be liked was at odds with his uncompromising vision All progress is made by irrational people, he told a journalist in 1989 The statement could well be turned back on Ailes, because he embodied a number of contradictions He accommodated naive idealism about American life and history alongside profound cynicism about many Americans, from presidents on down He justified the use of smash mouth political tactics in the service of protecting his sentimentalized notion of picket fenced America He bullied real and perceived enemies, but played the victim when criticized He could be the most menacing or the funniest, most engaging conversationalist He decried Manhattan elites, but was one He entered the journalistic trade, whose practitioners he regularly expresses contempt for And the starkest contradiction, the one of lasting consequence, is his creation of a fair and balanced news network that effectively functioned as an arm of one political party p 393 394 OK, so I couldn t wait to read this book because I thought it would reinforce my belief that Roger Ailes was possibly the biggest scumbag on the face of the earth So when it was delivered byon January 16, 2014 I read it straight through.Guess what I was right it did completely reinforce what I already knew and believed Roger Ailes IS one of the biggest scumbags on the face of the earth That said, I also have to admit that I learned a lot about this man that adds to his otherwise one dimensional characterization as king of the right wing He is clearly an extremely talented person having succeeded in multiple mediums politics, theater, television He did accomplish much and that cannot be taken from him, yet at the end of the day the author s conclusion and mine is that he has made a major contribution to the overall deterioration of politics and political discourse in America today Truth and Roger Ailes are not usually words to be found in the same sentence Suffice it to say I am not a viewer fan of Fox, nor a fan of Roger Ailes, but one does have to respect the success of his network and the talent and drive of its creator in spite of everything else that he has done.Mr Sherman has done a remarkable job researching and documenting every aspect of the book and I m sure he has caused Mr AIles many sleepless nights worrying about his public perception and ultimately his legacy Hopefully this book will be widely read and Mr Ailes legacy will be perceived as it should and we will forever be in debt to Gabriel Sherman for his work in exposing the man behind the curtain I highly recommend this book and congratulate Gabriel Sherman on a job well done. The best thing about this book is the description of the birth and development of cable news The worst thing about the book is how Roger Ailes uses his power or attempts to to act out his crazy bigotries and paranoia, all while pretending to be the essential American At times I almost stopped reading because Ailes was so unlikable and nuts But then his role in shaping American history for the worst in my opinion recaptured my interest I would hold my nose and read on. The Astonishing Inside Story Of Fox News, The Most Powerful Media And Political Business In The World, From One Of The Hottest Young Investigative Journalists Today The Story Of Fox News Ascent Is An Epic Story Of Political Power, Business Success, Brass Knuckle Tactics, And Old School Showmanship disclaimer I was predisposed to believe that Roger Ailes is a scumbag this book reinforced my opinion that he is totally unfair scarily unbalanced a well researched sourced look into how he has turned news into entertainment to push an agenda Don t know how to be fair star wise I read audio this because I I wanted insight into the insanity of Glenn Beck, Palin, Rush,the big bully O Reilly, Hannity, tea party, fair and balanced Fox news Think I learned that Ailes is nuts and that some of the above are either manipulative, meglomanical, just scary stupid read Sarah here or drinking the cool aid too long.
GABRIEL SHERMAN is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair and the author of the New York Times Best Selling biography of Fox News founder Roger Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room, which is currently being adapted into a limited series for Showtime Previously, Sherman served as national affairs editor at New York magazine and is a regular contributor to NBC News and MSNBC He lives in New York
- 560 pages
- The Loudest Voice in the Room
- Gabriel Sherman
- 25 February 2019 Gabriel Sherman