About That Gabriel Sherman Book…

The New York Times’ David Carr writes about Sherman’s Ailes book and all the hoopla that’s ensued…almost from the day the book was announced…

What it really tells you is everything you need to know about the reality distortion field around Fox News. It refused to engage with Mr. Sherman, and then attacked him for not engaging. It rebuffed his repeated requests to interview Mr. Ailes, but still believes it would have been appropriate for him to go over all the accusations in the book, arguing that not doing so is irresponsible and not in keeping with standard journalistic practice.

In my experience, that would have been the beginning of a grinding war of attrition, with Fox executives pushing back on everything while yielding nothing.

On Sunday, a Fox spokeswoman described Mr. Sherman’s appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” as “another example of the agenda-driven cottage industry built on attacking Fox News. The author’s failure to secure an interview with the principal subject does not absolve his fact-checking obligations with the network.”

There are a plenty of unnamed sources in the book attributing specific dialogue to Mr. Ailes, but picking on Mr. Sherman over facts will not change the narrative. He spent three years on the book, interviewed over 600 people, had two fact-checkers spend 2,000 hours going over his work and rendered his sourcing and reporting mostly transparent.

This isn’t a fight about facts, it is about control. According to the book, Mr. Ailes ended a corporate relationship with Google because it would not alter search engine results that put him in a negative light. In 2010, I worked on a piece about how when Mr. Ailes moved to Putnam County, he bought the local newspaper to exercise might in local affairs, a fight that is detailed in Mr. Sherman’s book. And Mr. Ailes tried to maintain dominion over his own legacy, and pre-empt Mr. Sherman’s book, by commissioning a friendly and feckless authorized biography — “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” — that was published last year.

40 Responses to “About That Gabriel Sherman Book…”

  1. This is what drives me crazy about the smear campaign against Gabriel Sherman. FNC and Roger Ailes refused to talk to him, then accused him of not talking to them. Classic Roger Ailes doublespeak:

    What it really tells you is everything you need to know about the reality distortion field around Fox News. It refused to engage with Mr. Sherman, and then attacked him for not engaging. It rebuffed his repeated requests to interview Mr. Ailes, but still believes it would have been appropriate for him to go over all the accusations in the book, arguing that not doing so is irresponsible and not in keeping with standard journalistic practice.

  2. Lefty Fox hater sets out to write a book about how evil Roger Ailes. Why would Ailes give him the time of day? I wouldn’t. The left/media already hate Ailes and FNC. This book isn’t going to bring down FNC the way the left would like it to. It’s written for a particular audience. Like an Ann Coulter book. The only difference is that the MSM will give it serious attention because they hate FNC & Ailes as much as the writer and the intended audience do. In the end, Sherman gets his 15 minutes of fame, and FNC still destroys everybody in the ratings because they’re the only channel that doesn’t advance a constant left-wing worldview.

  3. You clearly didn’t watch the interview, and don’t know what the author said. “Fox haters” and “they’ll still get great ratings” are not coherent responses to this story.

  4. Nixon - niila niihpikiiookwa meentwasiaani Says:

    “Fox haters” and “they’ll still get great ratings” are not coherent responses to this story.

    They are as good as any. The Coulter comparison was perfect. Both have their own constituencies that they appeal to. And neither change minds out of that group.

  5. But changing minds is not the point; Stelter and Sherman discussed that. The point is that Roger Ailes has created a media organization which operates as a conservative thought-producer/shaper based on Roger’s vision of it, and it became a phenomenon. That is a very interesting story, and worth telling.

  6. I already know that Ailes is the anti-Christ and Fox News is “faux” and is a political operation and everybody who works there basis their reporting and commentary around what Ailes tells them to when he’s not busy threatening people and hiding in his panic room. Neat stuff. I’ll never watch Fox News again and will suddenly become a big David Gregory fan cuz he plays it down the middle. Blahbady, blah, blah.

  7. “which operates as a conservative thought-producer/shaper based on Roger’s vision of it”

    Uh huh. I’m sure Shep Smith, Bret Baer, Bill O’Reilly and Ed Henry all take marching orders and present their news and analysis based on Rogers Ailes’ personal political vision. Awesome stuff.

  8. Yes, it is absolutely true that actual news and independent thought sometimes emanates from Fox News. As does a whole lotta rightwing propaganda disguised as “opinion”. Both of which the author clearly states.

  9. Haters gonna hate.

  10. Good article that sums up well the circus around the books launch.

    The question I have is why Ailes, FNC hosts/pundits, and the endless cohort of FNC media blog commenters, led by FNC PR department, have been practically apoplectic about this book launch. It has really only guaranteed the books success.

    If the bio makes false claims about Mr. Ailes then sue Mr. Sherman for libel or slander. Otherwise say nothing and let the book die a natural death. After all, Most Americans couldn’t tell Roger Ailes from Roger Rabbit.

    Whining about a book that mostly confirms what people who know anything about Ailes already thinks is true and only helps promote what the book says about it’s subject; that he is a control freak obsessed about his image and legacy.

  11. If someone takes a crap on your front porch, Fritz, you do at least have to shovel it into the bushes.

  12. Howie ignored the Sherman book launch yesterday and I’ll bet he wishes he could do that forever. He’s in a tough position no matter what he does as doing anything but trashing the book will incur the wrath of Ailes and not doing so will just confirm he is an FNC puppet.

    My guess is he will try and get guest pundits to trash the book while he stays above the fray.

  13. That’ll work.

  14. GRETA:
    “but, in 12 years at Fox News Channel, not once has Roger Ailes or anyone else who works at Fox (and for him) told me what to say, or how to slant something. This has not happened even one time. (And note, it did not happen even one time when I was at CNN.)

    There is a new book coming out about Fox News and Roger Ailes and I have seen the accusation by the author promoting his book that the news organization and content are tightly controlled by Roger Ailes. That has not happened with me…not even once in 12 years.”

  15. The question I have is why the left is always so apoplectic about the existence of Fox News. You have every other news channel telling you what you want to hear and going after your political enemies. Lighten up Francis.

  16. Haters gonna hate when they’re not self absorbed with looking for excuses to be offended.

  17. “The question I have is why the left is always so apoplectic about the existence of Fox News.”

    ^^LS: Most on the left have no problem with “the existence of Fox News” anymore than most on the right have no problem with ‘the existence of MSNBC’. It’s the propaganda and obvious bias that bother those on the left about FNC and vice versa for those on the right about MSNBC.

    Personally I’m OK with FNC and MSNBC doing propaganda and partisan versions of the news; but reserve the right to point it out and comment on it here.

  18. All networks tilt toward one side of the political spectrum. Liberals hate FNC because they’re the only network that skews conservative.

    FNC and CNN are apt comparisons/contrasts. MSNBC is its own train wreck of craziness.

  19. “Liberals hate FNC because they’re the only network that skews conservative.”

    ^^ Well speaking as a liberal I don’t hate FNC. I don’t watch much but hate is a word reserved for particular hosts or programs and the strongest emotion I can sum up about FNC hosts is incredulous laughter.
    I hated Bashir much more than I did anyone on FNC as he was taking up a spot on a network I watch all the time. Same goes for Schultz, Sharpton and MHP.

    “FNC and CNN are apt comparisons/contrasts.”

    ^^It’s hard to compare CNN to any cable news net anymore as they careen into the reality show/documentary line of television.

    “MSNBC is its own train wreck of craziness.”

    ^^Your certainly welcome to your opinion but it makes you sound like someone who is apoplectic about the existence of MSNBC.😉

  20. savefarris Says:

    If the bio makes false claims about Mr. Ailes then sue Mr. Sherman for libel or slander.

    Because as we all know, libel and slander are the two easiest convictions to obtain.

  21. “Howie ignored the Sherman book launch” Maybe because the book launch hasn’t happened yet! Could be he wants to read it first, ya think?

  22. “@johnnydollar01: Shocker!
    NY Times Picks Liberal Who Bashed Fox News as ‘Un-American’ to Review Roger Ailes Book
    http://shar.es/9PRx3

  23. “^^Your certainly welcome to your opinion but it makes you sound like someone who is apoplectic about the existence of MSNBC”

    Shocked is more like it. That place has become a zoo where the animals run the show and do nothing more than run around slinging feces and screaming racism.

    It’s gotten quite nut-housey over there.

    I watch a lot of CNN because I like to watch the news from a left of center POV for some reason. Maybe because it’s worth it when a conservative comes on and smacks somebody around? Anyway, point is, I’m fine with a liberal perspective on the news. MSNBC ain’t that. It’s an out-of-control, childish, crackpot take on the news. And, they are bringing the entire NBC mothership down with them.

  24. “Hate” and “haters” are term made up by the subject of criticism, then everybody plays footsie with whether the subject deserves “all this hate”. If you catch yourself denying you’re a hater, you’ve already handed your opponent his definition of the argument. Which has nothing to do with the topic.

  25. “That place has become a zoo where the animals run the show and do nothing more than run around slinging feces and screaming racism.”
    “It’s an out-of-control, childish, crackpot take on the news.”

    ^^It’s really hard to debate that kind of a seriously rational view on the subject LS. I certainly don’t feel that way about FNC; although there are a few crazies on the far left who probably do.🙂

  26. savefarris Says:

    I’m fine with a liberal perspective on the news. MSNBC ain’t that.

    Liberal Perspective:

    AC360 1/8: “Joining us now to talk about the Christie bridge scandal, two liberals and a “nonpartisan” (Gergen, John King, Borger)

    The Mars Perspective:

    All In 1/8: “Joining us now to talk about the Christie Bridge scandal, the pre-eminent expert on New Jersey politics: Debbie Wasserman Schultz”

    Why on earth would you bring in Schultz to talk about the Christie presser unless you were first and foremost a political operation?

  27. Well Joe if someone’s only argument on a subject is that, if you disagree with the author then, your a “hater”; you probably don’t need to reply. They have already reached their limit of rational argument on the subject and have just descended into name calling as the only discussion point they have left.

  28. “It’s really hard to debate that kind of a seriously rational view on the subject LS. I certainly don’t feel that way about FNC; ”

    And, I don’t feel that way about CNN or the big 3. MSNBC serves extra toppings of crazy sauce on everything it puts out.

    But, many liberals view FNC that way because there are no other outlets that offer a conservative POV. Anything short of left-wing promotion is foreign to them. I don’t think FNC is any more partisan than CNN is.

  29. I don’t think FNC is any more partisan than CNN is.

    The problem with FNC isn’t that they’re partisan, but that they shape too many stories with a “campaign voice” in order to get a desired result. “Christie’s office shut down a bridge to punish political opponents” becomes “The media is covering this to deflect from Gates’ book, and what about Obama/Clinton/IRS/Benghazi?” That’s not partisan opinion. That’s campaign-speak.

    Roger Ailes is a political strategist trying to get Republicans elected, and he uses FNC as his campaign operation.

  30. “I don’t think FNC is any more partisan than CNN is.”

    ^^There’s your problem LS. Only a far right winger would say that. If you can’t even acknowledge that FNC is partisan how can we have a rational discussion? It makes you sound like someone who won’t agree that MSNBC is partisan. Even I will acknowledge that.

  31. Labeling a commenter “a far right winger” seems a bit harsh for someone who just decried “name calling”, no?

  32. Says the guy calling people “asshat liberals”..

  33. Notice Greta never claims she hasn’t gotten the “Roger’s thoughts on things” from his private email. She’s a smart woman.

  34. Nixon - niila niihpikiiookwa meentwasiaani Says:

    Notice Greta never claims she hasn’t gotten the “Roger’s thoughts on things” from his private email. She’s a smart woman.

    This is pretty clear on the subject:

    GRETA:
    “but, in 12 years at Fox News Channel, not once has Roger Ailes or anyone else who works at Fox (and for him) told me what to say, or how to slant something. This has not happened even one time. (And note, it did not happen even one time when I was at CNN.)

    There is a new book coming out about Fox News and Roger Ailes and I have seen the accusation by the author promoting his book that the news organization and content are tightly controlled by Roger Ailes. That has not happened with me…not even once in 12 years.”

    As for smart, I’d question the judgement and mental faculties of anyone who falls for Scientology.

  35. I didn’t say FNC isn’t partisan. I said it’s equivalent to CNN not to MSNBC. CNN promotes a left-wing viewpoint; FNC promotes a right-wing view point. MSNBC just acts like your typical angry left-wing protest group. But, they’ve been given the opportunity to act like ass-clowns on national TV.

  36. Erik Wemple states the obvious
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2014/01/13/how-does-roger-ailes-divide-the-country/

    “After three years of reporting and more than 600 interviews, Sherman should come equipped to his media interviews with better answers. What’s divisive, after all, about understanding what “resonates with a certain audience”? What’s the problem with speaking to Americans who feel “left behind by the culture”? Wouldn’t that be a public service? Indeed, everything that Sherman cited to the CBS people — including blue-collar origins — would appear to be assets for a guy like Ailes. Why haven’t Fox News allies seized upon these remarks as evidence of Sherman’s disdain for conservative America? (Stelter tells the Erik Wemple Blog that he planned a follow-up to that portion of Sherman’s “CBS This Morning” interview but ran out of time).”

    Uh-huh, sure.

  37. O’Donnell: You say he’s divided a country.

    Sherman: Yes, he has.

    O’Donnell: How?

    Sherman: Because his ability to drive a message: He has an unrivaled ability to know what resonates with a certain audience. You know, he comes from a blue-collar factory town in Ohio, he speaks to…

    Rose: So what’s the message that divides the country?

    Sherman: He speaks to that part of America that feels left behind by the culture. You know, it’s the old Nixon silent majority, which is what was his formative experience.

  38. And MSNBC speaks to black people telling them Republican white racism is what stands in the way of their success and dignity.

    THAT is a message that divides a country. THAT is the hatred that initiates ridicule of a white Repulbican leader holding a black baby. THAT is true divisiveness.

  39. Nixon - niila niihpikiiookwa meentwasiaani Says:

    O’Donnell: You say he’s divided a country.

    Sherman: Yes, he has.

    O’Donnell: How?

    Sherman: Because his ability to drive a message: He has an unrivaled ability to know what resonates with a certain audience. You know, he comes from a blue-collar factory town in Ohio, he speaks to…

    Rose: So what’s the message that divides the country?

    Sherman: He speaks to that part of America that feels left behind by the culture. You know, it’s the old Nixon silent majority, which is what was his formative experience.

    Translation. He’s uppity, because he’s not an elitist like us.

  40. Nixon - niila niihpikiiookwa meentwasiaani Says:

    And MSNBC speaks to black people telling them Republican white racism is what stands in the way of their success and dignity.

    THAT is a message that divides a country. THAT is the hatred that initiates ridicule of a white Republican leader holding a black baby. THAT is true divisiveness.

    It is also the kind of mindset that is condescending towards non-whites. Telling them how to act and think to “be authentic.” It is offensive on so many levels.

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