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Gabe Sherman on Roger Ailes: ‘He is the Quintessential Man Behind the Curtain’

RSAilesShermanMore details from Gabriel Sherman this morning about his forthcoming unauthorized biography of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Sherman was a guest for the first 25 minutes of CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” In summary, Sherman told Brian Stelter, “What I learned is that Roger Ailes has created a political organization, that employs journalists.”

Stelter asked Sherman what he thought about CNN president Jeff Zucker‘s comments about Ailes Friday: “I think Zucker would kill for Ailes’ ratings, every executive in TV would.” Sherman then discussed a few of his other revelations, which some may not find very revealing at all:

Another thing he does which was fascinating to me, is he has a secret e-mail address that he e-mails Fox talent and producers when he wants to push his right-wing messages. He wants plausible deniability so when he wants to push something on to the channel he sends it from a fake e-mail address, it’s the name of his maternal grandfather so if it leaks he can say ‘that’s not me.’

I was fascinated to learn this: one of the most powerful people inside Fox News is his executive assistant, a woman named Judy Laterza. She attends every major meeting and sits there taking notes. When Roger Ailes says something explosive, what one executive said to me — what one producer said — was that Judy will roll her eyes — dismiss it as a joke. Second thing: she’s going write down what Roger said and then the third thing she’s going to do is take notes of every person who is in that room… If it leaks, he has a record of everyone who was in that room.

A Fox News spokesperson responds: “This latest effort appears to be another example of the agenda-driven cottage industry built on attacking Fox News. The author’s failure to secure an interview with the principal subject does not absolve his fact-checking obligations with the network.”

In wrapping up his interview, Stelter asked Sherman, “It does sound like you’re describing a villain. Do you worry about sounding unfair to this man who has built this incredibly valuable enterprise?”

“No. Brian, I’m a reporter. I’m describing a character, a subject that I have intensely reported on for three years. Roger Ailes’ story is an amazing American story of power. Whether people think he’s a hero or villain, I want them to read the book and come to that conclusion. What I think he is is a fascinating and powerful subject. He’s an American original.”

“The Loudest Voice in the Room,” which comes out Tuesday, was not discussed on FNC’s media criticism show, “Media Buzz.”

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