Fox News and its chairman, Roger Ailes, are pushing back against a new biography slated for release in late January.
Despite efforts by Fox News to rally against its release, Gabriel Sherman’s “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” is due for publication on Jan. 21 by Random House.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Jan. 8, Ailes said Sherman and Random House failed to verify the unauthorized biography’s contents, which include charges of sexual harassment and political influence.
“Attacking me and Fox News is nothing new—it’s a cottage industry,” Ailes said. “What’s new is that 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.”
Sherman rebuffed the claim, telling Politico that the book was extensively reviewed.
“During two and a half years of reporting, I made a dozen requests both in writing and in person to speak with Roger Ailes about every aspect of my book,” Sherman said in a statement. “A team of two fact-checkers spent more than 2,000 hours vetting the manuscript before publication. Roger Ailes declined every request to discuss the reporting with me.”
When top Fox News executive Brian Lewis was fired from the organization last year, it was rumored that he lost his job for providing Sherman with information about Ailes.
The book follows Ailes from childhood throughout his life and career, highlighting his influence in television, media and giving credit to Ailes for building “the most influential news empire of our time,” according to the book’s website.
In his book, Sherman paints Ailes as having an aggressive personality and being the root of a string of hostile work environments.
Among the claims in the biography is an allegation by a former employee dating back to the 1980s. Randi Harrison, a television producer at NBC at the time, told Sherman that Ailes offered to allow him to have sex with her whenever he wanted in exchange for a $100 per week raise.
Eager to influence politics, Ailes supposedly told fellow Fox News executives, “I want to elect the next president,” during the 2012 presidential election. Sherman’s book claims that Ailes, a former political consultant, was dissatisfied with the various Republican candidates for president in 2012, but promoted Mitt Romney on Fox News programs. Ailes also allegedly advised vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan that he needed to improve his television skills and acquire a speech coach before he became Romney’s running mate.
While Ailes claims to have had zero influence or control in the creation of a four-minute video that criticized President Barack Obama’s policies and was broadcasted on the “Fox and Friends” program, the book claims the video was “Ailes’ brainchild.” After the video caused a furor in the media, Fox News encouraged Ailes to make a statement declaring he did not create the video.
Sherman writes that Ailes is harsh toward his own employees as well, privately calling Bill O’Reilly “a book salesman with a TV show” and referring to “Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade as “a soccer coach from Long Island.”
In a statement, Fox News refuted the book’s claims.
“These charges are false,” the company said. “While we have not read the book, the only reality here is that Gabe [Sherman] was not provided any direct access to Roger Ailes and the book was never fact-checked with Fox News.”