Fox News and its allies have ramped up their efforts in recent days to counteract an upcoming biography of network CEO Roger Ailes.
Gabriel Sherman, a New York magazine reporter, is set to release The Loudest Voice in the Room later this month. The first details from the book have started to leak out, including that Ailes reportedly was the mastermind of a heavily criticized campaign-style anti-Obama video that aired on Fox and that he told Fox News executives before the 2012 election that he “want[s] to elect the next president.”
The network has sought to discredit Sherman for more than a year, with Fox personalities attacking Sherman as a “phoney journalist” and an “embarrassment.” According to Politico, Ailes cooperated with a biography published last year by author Zev Chafets “because he was eager to preempt Sherman's version with a more favorable and hopefully sympathetic account of his legacy.”
As publicity for Sherman's book heats up, Fox's campaign to destroy it is also gathering steam.
In an interview with Hollywood Reporter that ran today, Ailes attacks Sherman's book, claiming that publisher Random House “refused to fact check the content with me or Fox News; that tells you everything you need to know about this book and its agenda.” (In a statement to Politico's Dylan Byers, Sherman responds that Ailes turned down “a dozen” requests to speak about the book, and says that a " team of two fact-checkers spent more than 2,000 hours vetting the manuscript before publication.")
Howard Kurtz highlighted the Hollywood Reporter interview in a piece for FoxNews.com, and noted that it “comes as Random House is preparing to publish a book about Ailes by New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman.”
Fox Nation has since featured the interview on its front page
Matt Drudge, a former Fox News host and longtime network ally, is featuring the Hollywood Reporter interview -- in which Ailes praises Drudge as “the best aggregator going on” -- as the top story on The Drudge Report.
In a statement to The New York Times that echoes Ailes' attack, the network responds to various allegations in the book by arguing that, “While we have not read the book, the only reality here is that Gabe was not provided any direct access to Roger Ailes and the book was never fact-checked with Fox News.”
Rather than give disparaging comments to other outlets, some Fox figures are attacking Sherman directly. In an utterly bizarre exchange last week, Fox contributor Richard Grenell suggested that Sherman was unaware of the concept of fictional movies after Sherman tweeted that he was apprehensive about his iPhone after watching the Spike Jonze film, Her:
In a convenient bit of timing, Fox News contributor Karl Rove encouraged his Twitter followers today to pick up the newly-released paperback edition of Chafets' “best-selling bio of Roger Ailes.”
Rove isn't alone in plugging Chafets' book ahead of Sherman's Ailes biography. An ad for the fawning biography was placed in The New York Times' Sunday book review section this week touting it as providing “the true inside story of Fox News” and being “based on the only exclusive interview with Ailes.”