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

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Overview

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 ...

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

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Overview

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

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Jacob Weisberg
…[a] fair and balanced, carefully documented biography…
Library Journal
Since its 1996 launch, the conservative cable news network Fox News has powerfully influenced American media and politics, though its prophetic powers seem to have dimmed during the election. Regardless of political persuasion, we all need to understand how it became "the loudest voice in the room." A contributing editor at New York magazine and a special correspondent covering media, politics, and Wall Street at the New Republic, Sherman is primed to deliver the kind of well-researched story that represents news reporting at its best.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-22
Eye-opening biography of the would-be political kingmaker and Fox News mastermind. The subject of New York contributing editor Sherman's debut book, Roger Ailes, is said to be deeply unhappy with his portrait here—and for good reason. Ailes has said that his foes perceive him as "paranoid, right-wing [and] fat." Leaving aside the physical, he certainly emerges here as right-wing in the neoconservative, self-interested way of the arriviste as opposed to the old-republic conservative of his small-town Midwestern ideal. By Sherman's account, Ailes openly feared that his greatest bugaboo, Barack Obama, was going to put him in a prison camp after being re-elected. It seems certain that Ailes is an unpleasant customer, powerful enough to frighten Karl Rove into submission, quick to criticize his bevy of breast-shaking on-screen blondes for not being stunning enough (of one-time Miss America Gretchen Carlson, Sherman writes, Ailes said, "It must not have been a good year"). Sherman lingers on the unpleasant details, to be sure, but he charts the larger picture of the self-made man who is convinced that only he and a narrow number of his allies are worthy of the benefits of the free market and who has mastered the arts of TV and fabulation. Yet, even there, Ailes has not been entirely successful: For all his efforts, he never could make his first big media experiment, Richard Nixon, come off as likable, and the tea party that he helped create has apparently sent his vaunted permanent Republican majority off the rails. Yet Fox continues to hold a large market share and shape the political argument in this country, so for all his missteps (Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin et al.), Ailes promises to remain a player on the national scene, even if Sherman suggests that his dominance is coming to an end. 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.
From the Publisher
“[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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812992854
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/14/2014
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 27,097
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

    Recommended - information that is needed!

    The author has made this learning experience an easy read. Those that are very loyal to Fox News will probably not be convinced of the importance of the facts provided but they do need to be made aware of the destructive nature of what Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdock produced. It is frightening to realize how easily we can be manipulated. This book should be read!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2014

    This book does justice to Mr. Ailes and respects him at every step.

    Fox News is one of the most powerful television networks in the U.S. Roger Ailes created that network. His concerns and his viewpoints shape the presentation of political issues. I was eager to get this book through pre-ordering and I avidly read it when it arrived.

    The endnotes of this book reveal the depth and breadth of research on Mr. Ailes. I was fascinated by the information about his childhood and impressed by his courage in living with hemophilia. His protective attitude about his own son also rang bells for me.

    The information in the book about the interior of Fox News itself was supplied by the people who would know, that is, those who worked there. It revealed a prejudice in choices about the way to present the news. One anecdote in particular stood out for me. The author quotes a man who was told by Ailes that Obama planned a national police force. He asked Ailes what evidence he had. Ailes responded with a YouTube video of an Obama campaign speech. In that speech Obama called for a Peace Corps-related program for Americans going abroad to do humanitarian work. The person then says that was when he realized that Ailes believed what Fox News presented.

    There is a lot of score-settling, rancor, and feuds in the story. It's not pretty. The behavior is not professional.

    I commend the author on his research and on the fair way in which he presents it. This book does justice to Mr. Ailes and respects him as a person at every step of the way. To achieve that attitude while also keeping to a fact-based storyline is quite an achievement.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    This book is nothing more than a hatchet job by another  liberal

    This book is nothing more than a hatchet job by another  liberal reporter that is jealous of Fox News' success.  It is really pathetic the way
    the liberal media can't stand to have a monopoly on the news so they attack the one network and it's people that actually reports on the news.
    Those that don't like the fact that Fox reports on stories that liberals rather we didn't hear never explain what exactly it is that Fox does wrong.
    Just more personal attacks from liberal reporters that are green with envy.  Get a life Sherman.  This book is nonsense.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    A fascinating read

    This well-crafted, riveting book provided insights into Roger Ailes, one of the most influential media figures of our times. Fox News adherents may find it slanted against him. However, as someone who watches Fox News, as part of my daily survey of TV, newspaper and Internet reporting, I found it provided valuable context for what we see and hear on the network. I also found intriguing many instructive details about Ailes' childhood and professional career path.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Must read!

    Does connect dots about FOX NEWS and why the Republican party is the way it is!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Excellent Read

    I bought this book because I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of Fox News. This biography clarified both why Fox is successful and why it has the "worldview" it has. It also underscores Ailes' brilliance in understanding and manipulating both an audience and national politics. You may or may not agree with Ailes/Fox - they are synonymous - but its impossible to deny his/its power and influence over the massive segment of the population fearful of today's changing social, cultural, and technological shifts.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    Roger Ailes bared naked for all to see. And what a sight he is.

    Roger Ailes bared naked for all to see. And what a sight he is.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Liberal jerks,

    I should have known this was a liberal author defending obama. Do not buy,,

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book is more money than I have ever wasted on a book. I wa

    This book is more money than I have ever wasted on a book. I want my money back. If this a biography, I'll be sure to avoid them in the future.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    A must read book

    Very well written and researched book. Unvails the curtain of fox news and the man who runs it. Truly show how easy we are being manipulated under the guise of news. Really a must read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2014

    Fascinating read. Very exhaustive account of the man running the

    Fascinating read. Very exhaustive account of the man running the Fox conglomerate.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2014

    A fair and balanced look at arguably the most influential man in

    A fair and balanced look at arguably the most influential man in media today. A fantastic read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 3, 2014

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    Posted February 6, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

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