Evidence Links Roger Ailes To Ads For Pro-Ailes Biography

NY Times Ads Placed By Fox Chief's "Personal PR Consultant"

Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

The New York Times Book Review has run an advertisement for a biography of Fox News chief Roger Ailes during each of the past two weekends.

But it's not the biography from New York magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman, The Loudest Voice In The Room, which is to be published Tuesday and takes a critical look at the Fox president.

The Book Review ads, at a combined cost of $15,000, are for conservative journalist Zev Chafets' bio, Roger Ailes Off Camera, which was branded as a hagiography when it was first published last year.

The ads seem to be an attempt to counter the Sherman book, stating that Chafets' book is "based on the only exclusive interview with Ailes" and that "Chafets book captures the real ROGER AILES and the true inside story of FOX News."

It's unclear who is behind the ads. But the ads were reportedly placed by Ailes' "personal PR consultant."

The ads are somewhat unusual in that they do not mention the publisher, Penguin Book's conservative imprint Sentinel, and are vague about who paid for the placement. A Times spokesperson revealed that the ads were placed, not by Penguin, but by the Dilenschneider Group, a public relations firm, as Huffington Post's Michael Calderone previously reported.

As Calderone notes, the firm's founder, Robert Dilenschneider, is described in Sherman's book as Ailes' "personal PR consultant."

The Dilenschneider Group has so far failed to respond to inquiries about the ads, while Chafets' publicist at Penguin declined to comment on it, stating via email, "I won't be commenting on the ad to anyone. I'm sorry I'm not more helpful."

Another unusual element of the story is that both books are published by divisions of the same company, Penguin Random House, formed when the two prominent publishers merged last year. Sherman's book is published through Random House, while Chafets' is a project of the Penguin/Sentinel division.

For one division to run a high-profile ad indirectly attacking another division's book on the same subject right before that book's release seems odd.

In addition, while there is no ad in the Book Review for Sherman's book, there is a lengthy review of Sherman's biography in the weekly book section.

The entwined history of the Chafets and Sherman biographies, as well as the firm that placed them, may present clues as to the source of the ads. 

Ailes reportedly agreed to cooperate with Chafets as a way of pre-empting Sherman's biography; his network gave the relentlessly positive result heavy coverage following its release.

Ailes and Fox have attempted to kneecap Sherman's reporting at every turn.

The network reportedly fired its top PR executive who they were worried was leaking information to Sherman; Fox personalities publicly attacked the New York reporter, allegedly at a top network executive's behest; and the network threw roadblocks in the way of Sherman's attempts to speak with Fox employees and even threatened to sue him.

Fox News did not respond to inquiries about any involvement by Ailes or the network in the Chafets ad. Chafets did not respond to requests for comment.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, The New York Times
Person
Roger Ailes, Zev Chafets, Gabriel Sherman
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