(Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Controversial Fox News CEO Roger Ailes started out in television as a producer for “The Mike Douglas Show,” a daytime variety program better known for musical acts and guests like Bob Hope than for politics. But one day, then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon appeared on the show, and Ailes used the opportunity to score a gig as Nixon’s television consultant. Gabriel Sherman’s new book “The Loudest Voice in the Room” traces Ailes’ career from those early days to his role as the pioneering and – according to Sherman’s account – paranoid mastermind behind Fox News’ dominance.

Guests:
Gabriel Sherman, contributing editor at New York Magazine and author of "The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News - and Divided a Country"

  • Livegreen

    So what you’re telling us is this guy got started with Nixon & is as paranoid as Nixon. No wonder he, Rupert Murdoch & Fox are the promoters of paranoia…This is a recipe for success?? (It’s hard to believe nobody has made meaningful mention of this before).

    • William – SF

      Read the story about Campaigns Inc in The New Yorker (about a year ago), it points out that voters/citizens respond to negative commentary far more than positive. Not hard to see why Fox sells and succeeds.

      • thucy

        Bill,
        I don’t think it’s overly optimistic to say that Fox News’ shelf life will soon expire amid massive demographic changes in the US. The melaninization of America, and the passing of white baby boomers, makes Fox and the GOP short-termers at this point.

        • William – SF

          Agreed… kinda lookin’ forward to watchin’ that happen …mostly looking forward to more sanity and civility.

          • thucy

            I’m not that sanguine… I think with dwindling water/land/housing resources, the future is either going to be more communitarian and civic-minded (which would be so great!) or, conversely, more like Soylent Green (which would be bad.)

        • Guest

          Yes the corruption of the corporate world is already multiethnic and Dem-friendly.

          • geraldfnord

            There is so much room for improvement that I think it could easily represent one, corrupt though it still were…and the alternative, kicking it all over, might easily replace King Stork with King Raptor—this is not to say it’s never necessary, but to say that the dangers of revolution and the dangers of avoiding it must be considered along-side of each other.

            I think ‘destroying’ the corporate without the elimination of the needs it fills, primarily the rationing of scarcity via the primate’s innate acceptance of hierarchy, will most likely result in a New Boss not even as open to opposition and correction as is the Old Boss.

        • cogsboy

          Unfortunately, partison journalism is here to stay because of Fox News, whether or not Fox News will remain on the air. MSNBC is supposed to be the Liberal version of Fox News, but their followers are dwindling too. I still like CNN, but any 24/7 news channel is bad for anyone’s health if they watch it for too long.

    • geraldfnord

      A voice with any sort of credibility that echoes what some bit of you whispers but of which you’re a little ashamed is usually quite welcome; it’s hard for authoritarian personalities to deal with feelings that some authorities consider bad, and any substitute authority-figure that tells you that you’re right is ripe for the glomming-onto.

      So if your employer (who is above you in the Great Chain of Being, else how could you countenance obeying him?) tells you that you will be punished for flagrant racism, you’ll fall at least a little in love with an authoritative man or a pretty blonde woman who tells you that the Good Old Days when you could tell a Good Old ‘Beaner’ or ‘Rastus and Mandy’ joke and be the life of the water-cooler are The Way Things Ought to Be.

    • Guest

      No it’s paranoia with self interest.
      It works for all tribes, big and small.

  • Guest

    The guest is wrong:
    Romney was prevented from getting elected because hactivists targeted and prevented Karl Rove’s election rigging operation, stopping Rove’s people from accessing the servers that they needed to, to corrupt the vote counts.

    • geraldfnord

      I could believe that, but think of how cheap the Republicans look when they blame their losses on Massive Minority Voter Fraud [organ chords] without noticeable proof, and how silly….

      So, ‘Pics or it didn’t happen’…or a URI to a page.

      (One must hold one’s own side to higher standards of evidence than one’s opponents’—both because there is a natural tendency to be lax with friends, and because your friends’ lapses can hurt you worse than your opponents’ successes.)

      • Guest

        It’s been reported on in many places…
        http://www.salon.com/2012/11/20/did_anonymous_stop_rove_stealing_the_election/
        Repugs have rigged elections for years if you were looking. See bradblog…

        • geraldfnord

          I find many reports of the same announcement, and nothing admissible. That Anonymous’ claims that they hacked to prevent voter fraud are much more likely true than my claim that I can call spirits from the vasty deep is (to date, and as far as I can see) only because fraud and hacking are known to exist and spirits don’t (and I shouldn’t know which deep vastness to poll if they did).

    • Chemist150

      Romney was repulsive to many Libertarians who otherwise might have voted Republican if he wasn’t anti-gay, anti-abortion…

      As a libertarian I definitely experienced voter registration fraud in SF despite the fact I wasn’t going to vote Bush. I was flagged as a person who might vote for Bush based on my registration as a Libertarian.

      Your bias is sickening. I can rattle off several corruption events in CA that are Democrat driven. There are both crooked and straight people in both parties.

  • Chemist150

    This guest is far from neutral despite his claims.

    — from a non fox news watcher and not a fan

    • geraldfnord

      Are his facts themselves biased, untrue, or cherry-picked? I think it entirely possible for a person to be biased but to stick to facts and a reasonable slice of them… I find W.J. Cash much too conservative for my tastes, but his “The Mind of the South” was an insight-laden masterpiece.

      I find the charges that Fox News play fast-and-loose with the facts—that their primary mission were advocacy rather than journalism and that they vet supporting data loosely if at all—much more disturbing than their having views I disdain.

      • Chemist150

        It’s not his facts. It’s presentation. You can use facts and leave out facts. Irrelevant.

        He claimed neutrality by defending himself against attackers by pointing out he covers both sides but his bias clearly shows such as when he described the “Republican” party as he sees it, as an example. It was clearly biased and not entirely accurate nor entirely untrue.

        In fact, Republican are described as being white as it’s a bad thing and is included in a derogatory tone. What is wrong with being white? Please explain.

        • geraldfnord

          I took the last as a statement of fact, and heard derogation only to the extent that this were not a good long-range strategy.

          You are likely at least somewhat right, though, as often it is only those disagreeing with someone who can see the bias, though I think them as liable in that case to over-estimate it as surely as someone in agreement were to under-estimate it.

          • Chemist150

            Please read my second response to your response.
            I don’t disagree that they’re mostly white male but it’s only purpose is an attack and thus not neutral.

          • thucy

            No, its “purpose” is to point to a dying strategy.

      • Chemist150

        I’d like to change my position after my last post. It is his “facts”. The only reason that people continue to point out that the Republican party is “white and male” is with the inference that they are racist and sexist.

        It’s an attack. Attacks are not neutral despite the subterfuge.

        Where are the facts that they are racist and sexist? There is reasoning behind the economic policies. Unfortunately both sides sell easy statements and the loudest dumbest people get up front.

        To qualify the continual use of “white and male”, one needs to prove that Republicans are all racist and sexist.

  • cogsboy

    Roger Ailes to Fox News is like Steve Jobs to Apple. After Mr. Ailes passes on, Fox News will have no dictator and will self-destruct because nobody else has the ego or delusions of grandeur to have their thoughts filter through the news. Just like Apple will not create anything groundbreaking or influential because their visionary leader is no longer with us.

  • geraldfnord

    I’ll read the book, if only to see if Ailes came up with the Nixon townhall technique of having a man in the back shout obscenely racist remarks so that Nixon could denounce such before getting back to his largely racially-coded stock-in-trade. (He later benefitted by Reagan’s filling that rĂ´le with respect to student demonstrators: his and Agnew’s public attacks on the ‘criminals’ and ‘bums’ were as nowt to Reagan’s fond suggestion of a blood-bath of the sort his Central American clients would later bring to life, though Nixon & co. certainly paved the way with Chile and Argentina.)

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