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The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country [Kindle Edition]

Gabriel Sherman
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $28.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A deeply reported journey inside the secretive world of Fox News and the life of its combative, visionary founder.

 
When Rupert Murdoch enlisted Roger Ailes to launch a cable news network in 1996, American politics and media changed forever. Now, with a remarkable level of detail and insight, New York magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman brings Ailes’s unique genius to life, along with the outsize personalities—Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, and others—who have helped Fox News play a defining role in the great social and political controversies of the past two decades. From the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal to the Bush-Gore recount, from the war in Iraq to the Tea Party attack on the Obama presidency, Roger Ailes has developed an unrivaled power to sway the national agenda. Even more, he has become the indispensable figure in conservative America and the man any Republican politician with presidential aspirations must court.
 
How did this man, whose life story has until now been shrouded in myth, become the master strategist of our political landscape? In revelatory detail, Sherman chronicles the rise of Ailes, a sickly kid from an Ohio factory town who, through sheer willpower, the flair of a showman, fierce corporate politicking, and a profound understanding of the priorities of middle America, built the most influential television news empire of our time.
 
Drawing on hundreds of interviews with Fox News insiders past and present, Sherman documents Ailes’s tactical acuity as he battles the press, business rivals, and countless real and perceived enemies inside and outside Fox. Sherman takes us inside the morning meetings in which Ailes and other high-level executives strategize Fox’s presentation of the news to advance Ailes’s political agenda; provides behind-the-scenes details of Ailes’s crucial role as finder and shaper of talent, including his sometimes rocky relationships with Fox News stars such as O’Reilly and Hannity; and probes Ailes’s fraught partnership with his equally brash and mercurial boss, Rupert Murdoch.
 
Roger Ailes’s life is a story worthy of Citizen Kane. The Loudest Voice in the Room is an extraordinary feat of reportage with a compelling human drama at its heart.

Praise for The Loudest Voice in the Room
 
“[An] actually fair and balanced, carefully documented biography.”—Jacob Weisberg, The New York Times Book Review
 
“The book excels at compiling data establishing Ailes’s control freakishness and authoritarian nature. . . . A veteran of the New York media-reporting scene, Sherman nails the Fox News palace intrigue and brings to light interactions that Ailes clearly never wanted to go public.”—Erik Wemple, The Washington Post
 
“[An] enormously entertaining new biography.”The New Republic
 
“A thoroughly reported look behind that curtain . . . Part of the reason [Ailes] and his allies have campaigned against the book is not because it is false, but because it tells a true story.”—David Carr, The New York Times
 
“Sherman is at his best writing with sweep about the history of cable news and placing Ailes in context.”Los Angeles Times


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“[An] actually fair and balanced, carefully documented biography.”—Jacob Weisberg, The New York Times Book Review
 
“The book excels at compiling data establishing Ailes’s control freakishness and authoritarian nature. . . . A veteran of the New York media-reporting scene, Sherman nails the Fox News palace intrigue and brings to light interactions that Ailes clearly never wanted to go public.”—Erik Wemple, The Washington Post
 
“[An] enormously entertaining new biography.”The New Republic
 
“A thoroughly reported look behind that curtain . . . Part of the reason [Ailes] and his allies have campaigned against the book is not because it is false, but because it tells a true story.”—David Carr, The New York Times
 
“Sherman is at his best writing with sweep about the history of cable news and placing Ailes in context.”Los Angeles Times
 
“[An] eye-opening biography of the would-be political kingmaker and Fox News mastermind . . . A well-reported, engaging book. A bonus: Bill O’Reilly won’t like it, either. Politics and media junkies, on the other hand, will have a field day.”Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Gabriel Sherman is a contributing editor at New York magazine. His journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, The New York Observer, and GQ, among other publications. He has served as a commentator on National Public Radio, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, NBC’s Today show, and ABC’s World News. Since 2012, he has been a Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jennifer Stahl. This is his first book.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much better than Zev Chafets' pablum... January 16, 2014
By HDC
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having recently read Chafets book, "Roger Ailes: Off Camera", which seems just a PR release for Ailes, it's refreshing to wake up into a world where people do good work and have intelligence. Sherman's book is well researched and written. There's actual work, brains and effort put into the writing of this book, and it shows. It's much more interesting, and I'm a somewhat smarter person for having read it, which is what a good book should do.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By L. Kerr
Format:Hardcover
Just finished this book. It was well written and thoroughly researched.

Ailes is a media genius. That's the point of the book. Good or bad, Ailes changed American politics more than any person since Reagan.

This book won't cause anyone to change their political views. It will, however, explain how our polarized political culture got from point A to point B.

Ailes himself has always boasted that he's not a news person ("newsie"). In fact, he disdains news people. Before anyone else, he realized that people vote by how they feel rather than how they think. Ailes seeks to persuade people to his politics through pure entertainment. He's impervious to shaming by fact-checking because he's the first one to admit he could care less about facts. That's "old thinking." He's proven himself right. He was the first to mix politics and religion with electronic entertainment. He just happens to have right wing views, but that's not the author's point.

Fox News is not a news organization. It's a political and profit making organization that employs anchor people and talk show hosts. That's the point of the book and it was well made. The left believes that's blasphemy. But Ailes laughs all the way to the bank.

Ailes is not hollow. His conservative views are genuine. He believes his politics justify his means. Any means.

Again, reading this book won't convince anyone to switch political parties. But it will give you insight into our culture.

For me that's enough.

Editing note: After I wrote my review, I realized I omitted some points.
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132 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars for courage January 14, 2014
By jl
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm only two and a half chapters into the Kindle version; clearly too early to write a comprehensive review. Still, I can see that it is good.

I'm giving 5 stars for courage. Based on everything I've ever heard, the blowback at the author from this powerful and vindictive man is likely to be considerable. I'm not far enough through to give the entire work a five star rating, but it is fascinating, well written, and well researched. I think the 5 will stick.

Gabriel Sherman is saying what needs to be said. The curtain needs to be pulled back to reveal the actual man operating the powerful puppet show of Fox "News." Politics aside, the impact of this TV station on older American's sanity and state of mind is considerable. I've watched my parents go from reasonably laid-back and somewhat equanimous to being highly anxious and caught in the spell of fear and anger. Ailes manipulates his victims by expertly playing on their fears, triggering their anger, channeling that fear and anger to play into his personal politics. This level of manipulation applies even more to the people who are caught directly in the forcefield of his power. It also applies quite directly to the levers of power driving major events in the world: the run up to the Iraq war, and countless contemporary political machinations. So this is an interesting and powerful figure in our time.

The book so far is well written and seems well researched. I don't believe he is just making anything up here.

The main criticism of this book that I've encountered is that the author never interviewed Ailes directly. OK, yes, we should all have a chance to define ourself, clear up the facts of our lives. But Ailes is not one to clear things up with facts, as far as I can tell.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsparing and superb January 25, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sherman's book calmly and coolly lays bare the innumerable contradictions, hypocrisies and flat-out lunacy that constitute the sad and twisted worldview of Roger Ailes. You're left unhappy and saddened by the power that such a damaged man has wielded for so long, inflicting so much damage on the society he professes to love.
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42 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ailes, ultimate manipulator January 17, 2014
Format:Hardcover
Sherman, a contributing editor at New York magazine, delivers a portrait of a manipulating, conniving, controlling, petty and fear-mongering man -- which suggests that the only worthwhile biography of Roger Ailes is an unauthorized biography of Roger Ailes. When Sherman attempted to secure Ailes's cooperation for the book, Fox News PR honcho Brian Lewis, who has since left the network, stipulated that the author must "refrain from using any background quotes or anecdotes that Ailes could consider `negative,' " according to the book. No deal, said Sherman.

Ailes's cooperation, as we've seen, yields mush. Zev Chafets's 2013 book, "Roger Ailes: Off Camera," relied on extensive cooperation from his subject and many others who'd gotten word that Ailes had signed off on the project. The hagiographic result was viewed as a patent attempt by Ailes and Fox News to get out in front of the story, to cement Ailes's image before Sherman could come in and wreck it. It didn't work.

Although Ailes can muzzle himself and most all of his subordinates at Fox News, he lacks that power over others. Sherman exploited that opening: He interviewed 614 people, according to his note on sources.

Sherman shapes those interviews -- along with documents and previous work on his subject's life -- into a detailed Ailes chronology, starting with his upbringing in the northeastern Ohio town of Warren, home to Packard Electric Co., employer of Ailes's father, Robert Ailes. Dad could be a cruel character, as when a young Roger was standing on the top bunk in his bedroom: "His father opened his arms wide and smiled. `Jump Roger, jump,' he told him. Roger leapt off the bed into the air toward his arms. But Robert took a step back. His son fell flat onto the floor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
it was a good read
Published 1 day ago by Carolyn
4.0 out of 5 stars But I kept reading it to find out how Fox evolved and found the author...
A chilling account of a paranoid man who, at 70, seems to have no plan for succession. Author even intimates Murdoch is bemused by him. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Shani
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't hide what it is, and delivers the goods
Okay, so obviously whatever you think of Fox News will dictate how you approach this book. However, if you've ever wondered just how Fox News became, well, Fox News, TLVITR is... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Jeff F.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Now I understand why Fox News does what it does. Very enlightening.
Published 19 days ago by Anne G
5.0 out of 5 stars Imminently forgettable man one nano-second after his death....
Frighteningly accurate. What a sad, sad delusional man who confuses fortuitous timing with genius. Even more pathetic are the prominent media personalities who "befriend"... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barrett McInerney
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
A must read by everyone who watches FOX as well as all who wonder where, when, how our country became so divided. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kaydailey
3.0 out of 5 stars Given as a Gift
It was a gift to a friend, but I liked the reviews.
Published 1 month ago by John H. Adams
2.0 out of 5 stars If you like Infomercials, you'll love Ailes' version of network news
Overly long, finally just gave up on it 2/3rds of the way through. Would benefit from some carefully editing. Ailes is fascinating. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Curtis C. Morgan
2.0 out of 5 stars Whiner
You get tired of Carl Roves tough life after a while
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look behind the scenes at Roger Ailes (although ...
An interesting look behind the scenes at Roger Ailes (although some should probably be taken with a grain of salt given Ailes denial of the accuracy of the book).
Published 2 months ago by ajay
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More About the Author

GABRIEL SHERMAN is a contributing editor at New York magazine. His journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, The New York Observer, and GQ, among other publications. He has served as a commentator on National Public Radio, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC's Morning Joe, NBC's Today show, and ABC's World News. Since 2012, he has been a Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jennifer Stahl.


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No, it's better you just keep being brainwashed by the propaganda machine. Much easier than actually thinking critically.
Jan 16, 2014 by Mike Hunt |  See all 2 posts
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