The Man Behind Fox News: A New Unwilling Biography

Fox

Fox News is nothing if not controversial. Some love it, some hate it — a division usually running along the fault lines of America’s largest political parties. Now, the man who built the influential conservative news network, Roger Ailes, has a new unofficial biography sharing details of his life that led him where he is today — according to the Washington Post. The unofficial biography, entitled, The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News and Divided a Country, was penned by Gabriel Sherman. Sherman spent three years researching the book, but was unable to procure an interview from Ailes himself.

Sherman was not exactly Ailes’s pick for a biographer. In fact, Ailes hired a different writer to co-author a separate official biography. He also worked against Sherman, asking his coworkers not to speak with him or give him any help researching the biography.

Sherman did nearly three years worth of research for the book, interviewing hundreds of sources on Ailes, including friends, family, and people from work. One somewhat large focus of the book is on Ailes’ childhood, which was reportedly troubled. Ailes’ father was abusive, described by Ailes’ brother. “He did like to beat the [expletive] out of you with that belt. He continued to beat and he continued to beat you. It was a pretty routine fixture of childhood. If we stopped crying he’d go away,” said his brother — according to the Washington Post. “If this happened today, we’d be in a foster home, and he’d be in jail,” he’s quoted as saying in the book.

The book also goes into Ailes’ mother, his distant grandfather, his parents’ eventual divorce, and his “Rosebud” moment. Sherman doesn’t focus only on Ailes’ family matters, but also goes into his political influence and media strength.

Sherman describes the consultation work Ailes did for Democrats, giving advice on the news and media world. That said, he’s more well-known for the negative ads he helped Republicans create — including ads for Senators Dan Quayle (R-Ind.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Phil Gramm (R-Tex.).

Ailes’ choice for his personal biographer was Jim Pinkerton, according to Media Matters, who co-wrote the book with Sherman. Pinkerton is a staunch Republican, who worked with Reagan and Bush, as well as on George H.W. Bush’s campaign.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

More from The Cheat Sheet