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The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country Hardcover – January 14, 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 190 customer reviews

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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 the national affairs 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. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jennifer Stahl.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812992857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812992854
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Kerr on January 27, 2014
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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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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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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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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