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Posts Tagged ‘Roger Ailes’

‘Personal PR Consultant’ to Roger Ailes Buys Ads Promoting Official Biography

cn_image.size.roger-ailes-bookAnd that’s the most interesting detail we took from the recent glut of reporting on Roger Ailes‘s reaction to Gabriel Sherman‘s “unauthorized” bio The Loudest Voice in the Room, which will finally hit shelves tomorrow.

Here’s another one: as part of what NYT‘s David Carr calls “Ailes’s permanent pushback campaign“, the Fox exec chose his own biographer, Zev Chafets (who also wrote about Rush Limbaugh) to pen a competing book called Roger Ailes: Off Camera. He then promoted that tome via Fox when it came out in March and placed an exclusive excerpt in Vanity Fair, of all places.

That’s not all, though.

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Fox PR Says New Roger Ailes Book Is Totally False Because They Didn’t Fact-Check It

RogerAiles“Randi Anderson, a television producer who went to work for CNBC when Ailes was running that channel twenty years ago…alleges that Ailes offered her an extra $100 a week to have sex with him whenever he wanted.”

See, we knew there was a reason the Fox News organization was trying so hard to discredit Gabriel Sherman and his new unauthorized Roger Ailes bio The Loudest Voice in the Room, for which he claims to have interviewed 614 peopleThanks for showing us the dirt, Wonkette!

The book isn’t on shelves yet, but The New York Times has already provided the public with some details.

Ailes may be “a visionary” who recognized the power of video (aka multimedia content) to shape public opinion years before everyone else, but according to the Times summary he also did some of those things that media people do.

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Random House Prepares to Feel the Wrath of Fox News

Roger-Ailes_a_lToday Capital New York describes a “big roll-out” for The Loudest Voice in the RoomNew York magazine scribe Gabriel Sherman‘s forthcoming “tell-all” about Roger Ailes and his Fox News empire; Capital even went so far as to borrow the word “shitstorm” from one Matt Drudge (aka Ailes’ biggest fan) in anticipation of the ensuing smear campaign.

This is, of course, the same book that led Fox to fire its top PR guy Brian Lewis after accusing him of being Sherman’s main source (a claim we always doubted, given the Ailes team’s legendary sense of loyalty). Publisher Random House  expects the same sort of aggressive response to the book, because “conservative media outlets have been attacking Sherman’s reporting for months in an attempt to discredit the author.”

Yet the book’s official site, worth visiting for its Wall Street Journal-style headshot illustrations, calls the tome a “deeply reported journey” inside the network, and we’re left wondering how Ailes will attempt to minimize its influence.

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Fired Fox Flack Paid $8M to STFU

BrianLewis1Back in August we reported on the problematic firing of Brian Lewis, head of PR for Fox News and longtime confidante of network chief Roger Ailes. While the storied flack initially had only good things to say about his former employer to sister site TVNewser, the picture quickly got ugly. Lewis hired former Donald Trump attorney Judd Burstein, who earned his pay by uttering this classic line:

“Roger Ailes and Newscorp have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis.”

We LOL’ed at the use of the man’s name three times in the same sentence.

General consensus held that Ailes suspected Lewis of leaking information to media sources, and today someone actually did leak some inflammatory news to Gawker: seems that Fox paid its former rep a total of $8 million in “hush money” to avoid a costly lawsuit.

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Fox News Flack’s Firing Just Got Ugly

Based on last week’s reports regarding top Fox News PR man Brian Lewis‘ abrupt departure from the company, you’d be excused for thinking everything is just peachy keen forever. In his first public statement to our sister site TVNewser, he refused to address any “rampant speculation” and assured everyone that:

…it has been an honor and privilege to work for Roger Ailes the past 20 years and I wish nothing but the best for him and the great people at Fox News.

This quote reads a little odd considering the fact that his now-former employer tied his departure to “issues relating to financial irregularities” and “multiple” breaches of contract, an accusation just vague enough to be frightening. Today, however, the gloves are off. Lewis hired former Donald Trump lawyer Judd Burstein, who gave the following statement to Gawker:

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Top Fox News PR Man Discusses His Firing

Yesterday we reported that Brian Lewis, top PR man for Fox News head Roger Ailes and his various ventures, had been fired. Today he spoke to our sister site TVNewser to clear a few things up, but the (brief) conversation focused more on what didn’t happen than what did. He didn’t give any word on specifics regarding the “issues relating to financial irregularities” that supposedly led to his firing, and he was quick to praise everyone he worked with, saying:

There has been rampant speculation surrounding my departure from Fox that I am not addressing at this time. I will say it has been an honor and privilege to work for Roger Ailes the past 20 years and I wish nothing but the best for him and the great people at Fox News.

That’s about it beyond a little not-so-subtle reference to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, who is currently finishing a book about Fox News and wrote a post yesterday describing Lewis’s departure as a sign of problems within and bigger changes to come. Lewis said:

Some stories are ludicrous, but there is one story that is particularly ludicrous.

So Ailes isn’t “more isolated than ever before” and all reports of internal “tension” are wishful thinking, because things couldn’t be better over at Fox. A true PR professional.

Fox News Chief Roger Ailes Cans Top PR Rep

Today The Hollywood Reporter brought word that Fox News chief Roger Ailes had given “right hand [PR] man” Brian Lewis his walking papers. That’s not all: the THR headline asserts that he was “…escorted from the Fox News building” this morning. Kind of an unnecessary detail, but we get the point.

Lewis worked as “a top executive” to Ailes since the network began 17 years ago. His latest official title was VP, corporate communications, a role that required him to manage PR duties for all the Fox properties. “Insiders” claim that “financial issues” forced Ailes to make the decision while some media observers think this move portends a bigger shakeup (especially when paired with the recent re-shuffling of on-air personalities Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly and Shep Smith).

We don’t know about all that, and we’re absolutely sure that Mr. Ailes would never turn to us for advice, but we think he might want to consider Shep as a replacement for Lewis. The world’s biggest True Blood fan might not be a PR pro, but he’s certainly not afraid to let everyone know how he feels about that “V.”

Elisabeth Murdoch: Husband Matthew Freud Had ‘Gone Rogue’ With Fox News Assault

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This past January, the “PR shot heard around the world,” in media circles, at least, was Matthew Freud attack on Fox News Founder and Chairman Roger Ailes in a profile piece on Ailes in The New York Times.

The quote: “I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes‘s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to.”

After the fact, it was Freud’s wife, Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert, who did some of the damage control.

In an interview with The Guardian, Murdoch said wrote an email to Ailes in which she said Freud had “gone rogue” with the comment. She continued: “I don’t agree with everything in the political commentary but I’m a very big supporter of the achievements you’ve had.”

Ailes Bites Back: Freud ‘Needs to See a Psychiatrist’

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Fox News Founder and Chairman Roger Ailes has shot back at PR executive Matthew Freud, husband of Rupert Murdoch‘s daughter Elisabeth, after Freud said in a New York Times profile piece highlighting Ailes’ accomplishments at Fox News that he is “ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes‘s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards…”

Of course, that set off a mini-firestorm in the media world, with allegations that Murdoch’s family is trying to push Ailes out of News Corp. and that his job could be in jeopardy. Both Elisabeth Murdoch and James Murdoch have since reached out to Ailes, according to the LA Times.

Ailes joked that Freud, who is a descendant of Sigmund Freud, “needs to see a psychiatrist.”

Interestingly, some of the most “pro-Freud” commentary on the matter comes from The Daily Beast, a publication which Freud once counted as a client. Freud also represents Fox News competitor CNN.

Based on the LA Times story — which contains strong support for Ailes from News Corp. deputy chairman Chase Carey — and a conversation PRNewser had with a source close to the matter, it is evident that clearly some Murdoch family members want Ailes out, but rumors of his job not being secure are greatly exaggerated.

Our source told us that because Fox News has “real clout,” the Murdoch kids “are intimidated by that” and “want [Ailes] out because of his success.” Now, the “loyal opposition has a voice,” and “this is all about positioning to Rupert as opposed to Ailes.”

The “feud” also involves one of PR’s most powerful agencies, Rubenstein, who represents News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch personally, as well as the News Corp.-owned New York Post.

With the opening shot fired, and the rebuttal now in place, we’ll be keeping an eye on who makes the next move.

Matthew Freud on Roger Ailes: “Ashamed and Sickened” By Disregard of Journalistic Standards

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The New York Times published a front page profile piece on Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes over the weekend. After serving as a communications consultant earlier in his career, Ailes ran CNBC before turning Fox News into the dominant cable news operator. The network makes more than CNN, MSNBC and the evening newscasts of NBC, ABC and CBS combined, reported the Times, citing analyst reports.

The story certainly heralds Ailes achievements, and the only damaging quote comes from from high-powered PR executive Matthew Freud, husband of Rupert Murdoch‘s daughter, Elisabeth:

I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes‘s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to.

mediabistro.com received this response from a News Corp. spokesperson:

Matthew Freud speaks only for himself and his views in no way reflect those of Rupert Murdoch who is proud of Roger Ailes and Fox News.

In The Daily Beast, Lloyd Grove calls the quote, “a frontal attack on Ailes and an apparent attempt to force News Corp.’s founder to choose between blood and money, between his progeny and his most-prized executive.”

Freud’s firm, Freud Communications, is the eighth largest public relations company in the UK. Last February, the agency’s New York office was acquired by HL Group.