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Posts Tagged ‘Gabriel Sherman’

Jeff Zucker: ‘Chaos is Good for CNN’

FEATURED JeffZuckerCNNNew York Magazine‘s Gabriel Sherman profiles CNN President Jeff Zucker, chronicling his career from NBC to CNN, his battle with serious health issues, and his current quest to revive CNN.

To try to lure viewers to CNN in prime time, he is turning over the 9 o’clock hour — which had been devoted to talk since the days of Larry King—to high-quality (and expensive) original entertainment programming. Over the past year, CNN has rolled out nonfiction series like The Sixties, produced by Tom Hanks, and documentaries such as the SeaWorld exposé Blackfish. Currently, the highest-rated show on CNN is the weekly travel program hosted by Anthony Bourdain. On September 28, the network launched a series with Lisa Ling; this week brings the debut of Mike Rowe. By next year, Zucker will have a dozen original series and six documentaries in CNN’s schedule. He even developed fictional scripts based on historical events, though those projects were ultimately scrapped. “We’re doing some things that antagonize people who are so protective of the legacy of CNN,” he said. “We have to change.”

The CNN chief acknowledges that big, chaotic breaking news is good news for the network.

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The Ticker: Vega’s Story, Rosie’s Return, Sherman’s Book

  • ABC’s Cecilia Vega, reporting on the overdose death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, told her own personal story about her father Raul. “He was a heroin addict before I was born. He was a heroin addict when I was a child. And ultimately, it got the best of him.”

  • Rosie O’Donnell returns to “The View,” tomorrow. The episode, which has already been taped, includes a declaration even Rosie thought she would never make, teases ABC. Rosie left “The View” in 2007.

‘Loudest Voice in the Room’ to Debut at #9 on NYT Best-Sellers List

Ailes bookGabriel Sherman‘s unauthorized biography of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes will debut at #9 on the New York Times Nonfiction Best-Sellers list for the week of February 2. “The Loudest Voice in the Room” went on sale last Tuesday, earlier than planned.

On “USA Today’s” best seller list this week, which collects sales data from the previous Monday through Sunday of all books, not just nonfiction titles, the Ailes bio debuts at #122.

Three other nonfiction titles from Fox News talent remain on the New York Times list: Charles Krauthammer‘s “Things That Matter”, Bill O’Reilly‘s “Killing Jesus” and Brian Kilmeade‘s “George Washington’s Secret Six.”

(h/t Playbook)

More Roger Ailes Bio Reviews: ‘Disingenuous,’ Unmemorable

Ailes bookThe New York Times made room for a second book review of the Gabriel Sherman unauthorized biography of Fox News founder Roger Ailes. This one, by Janet Maslin and published in this morning’s paper, is not as glowing as the one from Jacob Weisberg published in the Sunday Book Review.

Tucked away at the end of Gabriel Sherman’s disingenuous Roger Ailes biography, there is a note on sources that should have opened the book. Sherman has done a lot of interviewing, but there are so many citations of “author interview with a person familiar with the matter” that The Loudest Voice in The Room may set a record for blind items and the untrustworthiness they engender. It would have helped to know right from the get-go why Sherman found this kind of journalism necessary.

The Baltimore Sun‘s David Zurawik has his take on the book:

I know that understanding the life and mind of Ailes would make us smarter about our media and ourselves — and we desperately need such understanding. Unfortunately, this book fails to provide that. For all its promotional push, I don’t think The Loudest Voice in the Room will be long remembered — or even talked about past the short buzz life of most media these days.

Why Did Roger Ailes’ Brother Talk with Gabe Sherman?

Ailes bookThe Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple called up Robert Ailes Jr. the brother of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, the subject of an unauthorized biography from Gabriel Sherman.

According to Sherman, he interviewed Robert Ailes seven times between December 2011 and March 2013. Wemple asked the 76-year-old older brother of Roger why he cooperated with Sherman. “Well, I was caught off guard, to tell you the truth. I didn’t know Gabriel Sherman from George Washington.” Ailes tells Wemple he hasn’t read the book, and doesn’t know how he’s quoted in it.

Another bit from the book making the blog rounds, is about a now-shuttered site about the cable news industry called The Cable Game. In his book, Sherman writes:

[Ailes] set up an anonymous blog called The Cable Game that took shots at his rivals. Ailes assigned Fox News contributor Jim Pinkerton to write the entries. “The Cable Game was Roger’s creation,” one person close to Ailes said

ICN which closely follows the cable news industry, writes, “I do consider it telling that the blog just up and died without even a farewell message. We’ll never know for sure if The Cable Game was indeed an FNC Trojan Horse Blog. But it would not surprise me if it was.”

Sherman was a guest on “The Colbert Report” last night where Stephen Colbert began by saying, “I have sources at Fox News… this person says, you’re not a good guy. Defend yourself. Are you a good guy?” WATCH:

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‘Loudest’ Book Reviews: Lack of Direct Ailes Quotes Hurts Sherman’s Portrayal

Ailes_10.7Two new book reviews for Gabriel Sherman‘s “The Loudest Voice in the Room” are out. One, from Rupert Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff, published in Slate, the other in The Washington Post by media reporter Erik Wemple. Both agree Sherman’s lack of direct, on-the-record quotes from Ailes, (Sherman says he reached out “more than a dozen times for comment”) along with the author not backing up claims Ailes has divided the country, hurt the portrayal.

In Wolff’s review, he says Sherman offers nothing new from others who’ve pursued the Fox “whale.”

Sherman’s story is most vivid when it quotes Ailes himself. But, in a fairly underhanded way, only at the end does Sherman reveal that Ailes refused to talk to him. The book is, in effect, a compilation of Ailes’ memorable public barbs and bon mots. These are often presented as direct quotes, creating a puzzling effect: You want more, but the author, with only his Ailes bits and bobs, can’t give it.

Wemple offers a similar point.

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‘Reliable Sources’ Draws Second Lowest Demo Number in Nearly Four Years

Brian Stelter Reliable Sources debut_304x200“Reliable Sources” drew its second lowest A25-54 demo number in close to four years on Sunday, as host Brian Stelter interviewed “The Loudest Voice in the Room” author Gabriel Sherman for the show’s first 25 minutes.

341,000 total viewers and 61,000 demo viewers tuned in at 11am, those numbers dropping 20,000 total viewers and 31,000 demo viewers from lead-in “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

The opposite trend occurred on Fox’s media-counterpart “MediaBuzz” with Howard Kurtz: the show, which didn’t cover Sherman’s book on CEO Roger Ailes, was up 5,000 total viewers and 37,000 demo viewers from lead-in “Americas News Headquarters.”

The performance for “Reliable Sources” was down compared to Stelter’s debut over a month ago: down -15% in total viewers and -48% in demo viewers.

Gabriel Sherman’s Piers Morgan Interview: ‘Roger Ailes Has Surpassed the GOP’

Morgan ShermanOn CNN last night, Gabriel Sherman detailed the “most brutal” reporting assignment of his young career: the unauthorized biography of Roger Ailes “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” A three-year long project, that hits store shevles today.

But if you read this site regularly, you may find there was not much news in Piers Morgan‘s interview with
Sherman, which focused largely on Ailes’ politics: “Roger Ailes’ personal politics, as I report in the book, are actually very quite extreme,” Sherman says. But because Ailes is a “brilliant political strategist,” he goes against his own views to back more moderate candidates with winning elections in mind.

Sherman also suggests Ailes was an active political player during the last presidential election.

“Roger Ailes has surpassed the GOP, you know, and during the 2012 election, he said to his senior executives, we’re going to have to do a lot to get this guy elected,” Sherman said, adding Ailes didn’t think Mitt Romney had the “spine” to “rip” Obama’s face off.

In an interview just after the 2012 election, Ailes told TVNewser about how the network covers the president: “If he runs into a burning building tomorrow and saves four kids, he’s gonna be the biggest goddamn hero Fox News ever saw. But if he leaves four guys behind on the battlefield but can’t explain it, then he’s gonna have a problem with Fox News.”

Sherman’s book got a positive review from The New York Times, but he’s also generating criticism. The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple points out that during an interview with “CBS This Morning” last week, Sherman didn’t back up his own claim that Ailes has divided America.

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NYT Book Review of Ailes Bio: ‘Actually Fair and Balanced, Carefully Documented’

roger_ailes_a_lWith “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” Gabriel Sherman‘s unauthorized biography of Roger Ailes set for release tomorrow, New York Times media reporter David Carr uses his Monday column to discuss his own coverage of Fox News and its founder over the years:

I’ve dealt with Mr. Ailes while covering the news media, and beyond his charms and smarts, he is animated by a belief that just about everyone would like to see him laid low. Even as he has vanquished his opponents, he clings to the role of aggrieved underdog, and Mr. Sherman’s critical book reinforces that worldview.

Jacob Weisberg, the chairman of the Slate Group was asked to write the New York Times Book Review on “The Loudest Voice in the Room.”

What drives this need to create conflict? In his actually fair and balanced, carefully documented biography, Sherman struggles to come up with an answer. (He does so, it bears noting, without the cooperation of his subject, who set a new benchmark for biographical obstruction by working with the journalist Zev Chafets to rush a more sympathetic portrayal out first.) Ailes’s father, who was abandoned by a father with a degree from Harvard, spent his career working as a foreman in the maintenance department at Packard Electric, an automotive manufacturer. But Ailes himself grew up cared and provided for in an intact family

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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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