A new book calls into question Fox News' denial of any involvement by CEO Roger Ailes with an anti-Obama video that aired twice on Fox & Friends during the contentious 2012 presidential campaign. According to Gabriel Sherman's new unauthorized biography of Ailes, he was actually the “brainchild” behind the video and even proclaimed, “I want to elect the next president.”
The New York Times obtained a copy of Sherman's The Loudest Voice In The Room ahead of its January 21 release and revealed that according to the book, Ailes was involved in the creation of the four-minute Fox & Friends video that labeled Obama's first term as full of broken promises, despite Fox executives' denial of Ailes' involvement at the time. According to Sherman, Ailes was the “brainchild” behind the video (emphasis added):
In his book, Mr. Sherman, a contributing editor at New York magazine, follows Mr. Ailes from his boyhood in Ohio to his perch as one of the most powerful figures in the history of television.Despite being unsatisfied with many of the Republican candidates for president in 2012, Mr. Ailes endeavored to promote Mitt Romney on Fox News programs, the book says. Before the Wisconsin congressman Paul D. Ryan was chosen as Mr. Romney's running mate, Mr. Ailes advised Mr. Ryan that his television skills needed work and recommended a speech coach.
At the beginning of the general election, a four-minute video criticizing President Obama's policies was broadcast on “Fox and Friends,” provoking outrage from the left and prompting the network to say publicly that Mr. Ailes had no involvement in its creation. In “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” Mr. Sherman writes that the video “was Ailes's brainchild.”
In the Fox & Friends video -- which was essentially a four-minute anti-Obama attack ad -- loud, ominous music is played along with graphics that intend to show the supposed broken promises of the Obama administration since 2008. Following negative backlash to the video, it was scrubbed from Fox websites and Fox executives dodged any direct responsibility for it. A spokesperson for the network said that Fox News president Roger Ailes “was not aware of the video,” and Bill Shine, Fox executive vice president of programming, claimed that the video “was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network.”
These latest revelations perhaps give more insight into why Fox News and its hosts and contributors have been working for more than a year to attack the credibility of Sherman and his book.