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Fox News and Roger Ailes 'reversed the economics of TV news'

Roger Ailes, President of Fox News Channel, attends the Hollywood Reporter celebration of 'The 35 Most Powerful People in Media' on April 11, 2012.

The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country

Fox News and Roger Ailes aren't uncontroversial things to talk about. And we know you'll have some feedback on this interview. Click the button to right and give us your opinion -- in your own voice:

As one surveys the American corporate landscape, there are few CEOs out there as successful, influential, or powerful as Roger Ailes, the founder and president of Fox News.

He started in daytime television with Mike Douglas, back in the 1960s, got into politics with then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon, and since starting Fox News in 1996, has built it into a multi-billion dollar business and a huge political force.

Gabriel Sherman covers the media for New York magazine and is the author of "The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News and Divided a Country." Sherman says he interviewed 600 sources for his book, but Ailes was not one of them.

"He has reversed the economics of the TV business by revolutionizing how TV is packaged. By using politics he's figured out a business model that has allowed his network to generate twice the ratings of his competitors, CNN and MSNBC. His profits exceed all of cable news and the broadcast evening news networks combined, so as a business story it is an unparalleled success."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country
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Is it okay if Fox News reports on "which corporations paid the most/least in Income Taxes" like MSNBC did:

http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/01/08/companies-paying-the-most...

DJD: Notice the MINUS in front of Income Tax Expense: "-38.9 BILLION DOLLARS"

GM RECEIVED 39 BILLION DOLLARS from YOUR TAX DOLLARS. Tell me, please, that this is not CRIMINAL MONEY LAUNDERING so that the UAW can support Demmunist campaigns…

This came from an MSN.com homepage link. If Fox News reported it, it would be dismissed out of hand!

TELL ME IT ISN'T SO!!

Let me guess...
1) Gabriel Sherman doesn't like Fox News.
2) Gabriel Sherman is one of your disproportionately many guests and "experts" who voted for Barack Obama.

Let me guess...
a) Far less than 47% of the folks at Marketplace voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, even though Romney received slightly more than 47% of the popular vote.
b) Far less than 47% of the folks at APM voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
c) Far less than 47% of the folks at NPR voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

... and you think that your political and ideological biases aren't evident during the programs that you air?

I would not feel "sorry" or "sad" for a person who comes off, as described by Kai, as "bombastic, ruthless, egotistical,...mean." Nor would I consider a person who "rules by fear" an American hero. How would anyone consider that charismatic? The author appears to be a sympathizer and somewhat of a cheerleader for such an unpleasant, overbearing ideologue.

And would someone please explain to me what makes Ailes' agenda so noble? And what is he try to "save the republic" from? That is the same ridiculous right-wing rhetoric that has been perpetuated ever since President Obama stepped into office. As this country moves towards a better tomorrow, those who perceive the status quo as under a threat, launch into coded attacks as a rallying cry to like-minded sympathizers to their cause. You're not fooling anyone.

Lastly, the statistic that FNN has twice the ratings as the other news networks is misleading. Their viewers will not get their new from any other news outlet. FNN gives them what they want to see and hear in large doses. After all, these are the kinds of people who will tune in for so long that the former static logo is burned into their television sets.

Your story about Roger Ailes and Fox "News" was interesting, it missed one key point. Is Fox "News" really news? By any traditional measure, it seems more like a propaganda machine than a news organization. By the author's research, the talking heads simply parrot Mr. Ailes' opinions; they don't form their own opinions, or heaven for-fend, actually base their opinions on independent research and fact gathering. That is the true tragedy of this "innovation", that ad-homonym attack and mindless repetition of the bosses opinions supplant actual investigation and thought. In fact, doesn't this remind you of the propaganda machines of dictator ships and one-party systems?

I usually prefer to let my comments stand and have others judge as they will, but I’ll add brief comment here in the interest of clarifying my position, which usually confuses and/or alienates about everyone. In my opinion, mainstream media has become an Orwellian propaganda machine, financed by the deepest pockets money can buy. Now, which segment of our society does that point to? This is divide-and-rule democracy at its most sophisticated. It’s the way issues are framed that, to me, is most egregious. I do try to get all viewpoints; in fact, I just finished reading David Stockman’s recent tome, and Paul Krugman’s End This Depression Now. I don’t fully agree or disagree with either of them. Confusion and disagreement are everywhere, even among historians and Nobel-prize winning economists. Much of it seems to be on the definition of terms; for example, Stockman, as with many conservatives, sees “Keynesianism” as the root of America’s problems, and dating right back to FDR. Krugman, on the other hand, supports the Fed’s continuing policy of QE—as the lesser of greater evils. (The price for the latter, however, has been a resounding failure of media and public opinion to accurately indict the main culprit: Supply-side economic policy, as first put into practice in both the U.S. and Britain back in 1980. Aren’t we really throwing good money after bad within the same failed capitalist system? I think so.) Sure, Keynesian economic policy shares technical blame, but it has been bastardized, perverted, and primarily drafted into the service of high finance within a supply-side economics ideology, the result being a tax code that is much more regressive and a net transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. The galling part is that the former are now being targeted for much of the blame. The “credit crisis” soon morphed into a “debt crisis” brought on by a burgeoning “welfare state,” and not by accident. If things continue to go as planned by our corporate and financial masters, who have turned the manipulation of public opinion into a very lucrative art—and if David Stockman has his way—the next crash will be unequivocally blamed on “Liberals.” And you can be sure it’s coming. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Both Tea Party radicals who feel marginalized by “liberals” and “the liberal media,” along with progressives who feel betrayed by Obomneycare and a decidedly right-leaning, Republican-light presidency, must realize that, behind the scenes, committed neo-cons are constantly framing media debates to keep the sheople arguing over secondary and tertiary issues—subtext—as a way of avoiding any seriously threatening discussion altogether—of class, labor, and the successful utility of public industries in this country and elsewhere. (If all else fails, bombard them with tabloid garbage!) Conservatives, liberals, neo-cons, Tea Party enthusiasts, Libertarians, Independents, and everyone should start by agreeing on one thing: This Country is way too far to the right, not the left. Obama is a tool of the right, not the left, as has been every president since Reagan, and probably every Republicratic candidate to come. For thirty years, the ruling mantra has been to get government out of business. That’s a very dangerous half-truth. ‘08 is the result. What we really need to do is to get business out of government, and government into business, divorced from private industry—make government accountable for those issues of public concern that for-profit industry will never honestly address, rather than witting or unwitting accomplices in corporate crimes via industry-staffed regulatory agencies that amount to nothing more than window dressing. That will take more than consensus. But consensus is the first step.

Greg L, a couple of thoughts for you to ponder, refute or confirm as desired.

I heard an interview of a Linguist whose society (?name?) cited the word of the year to be "Orwellian." On that most of us can agree.

You also might like a recent issue of The Economist (October, November, or December 2013, don't remember precisely) that had a picture of a giant octopus with every aspect of the economy in its tentacles with its cover proclaiming "Leviathan Inc. Government gets into business..." They note the tendency and desirability of nationalization of numerous sectors of the economy. Isn't this PRECISELY what happened in the Soviet Union? Isn't the U.K. in decline PRECISELY because of this trajectory? Isn't a "planned economy" exactly why the Eastern Bloc collapsed? China has risen and prospered only in proportion to its adoption of less planned markets and growth of their economy, second only to ours in the world.

Adam Smith touted the "spontaneous order" of free markets which provide INCENTIVE, not mandates, to get goods and services to where they are needed. Five and ten year plans cannot by their very essence take into account chaos and how reality has evolved before the ink is dry on the most recent iteration of The Plan put forward by a Central Committee of Experts.

Please show me where this has ever worked in the last 150 years since Marx and Engels. I'm open to persuasion.

JFK's showcase was the contrast between a Communist and destitute East Berlin and free and therefore prosperous West Berlin.

In defense of Marketplace - frankly, I don't listen to any major U.S. cable TV news station anymore except, maybe, PBS. It's all tabloid journalism, at length discussions of tactical political strategies, and/or liberal vs. conservative social issues, which I care little about. But the notion that Marketplace and mainstream media are essentially left of center, with Fox News providing a refreshingly neutral or unbiased perspective of the news, is a little too much to stomach. Mainstream media purges any host who isn't sufficiently right of center, by my observation, but right and left mean different things to different people these days. I still see Will Kane on CNN from time to time, but no Eliot Spitzer. Lou Dobbs is gone--not particularly right or left, but certainly populist, and so a threat to corporate America; Dillan Ratigan is gone, from msnbc. Right or left? You tell me. My liberal friends were never very interested in his message of a Congress totally corrupted by high finance and big business. And, hey, didn't Marketplace recently lose Robert Reich? Any host or political candidate that really speaks truth to (corporate) power is soon shown to the door, I'm afraid. People seem to be arguing at cross purposes, though: Less government means more corporate and financial power for crony capitalists. The masters of high finance are the true freeloaders in our society.

Greg L, thanks for your well balanced expression of the Liberal viewpoint. I hear you and I respect your take on things.

Right and Left tend to meet on the other side of the telephone pole or globe at Libertarianism. Most folks don't want government in their lives telling them how to think, or depriving them of freedoms to live and be who they really are. I get that.

My rather conservative viewpoint is that BOTH ends of the political spectrum, and the moderates in both parties deemed "traitors" by the purists, are owned and managed by BIG MONEY of one stripe or another.

I do have to smile a bit when you have a "right of center" litmus test for hosts. Has anyone spoken truth to Nancy Pelosi who seems incapable of it? Is she a "corporate stooge?" Is Chris "Tingle up my leg" Matthews right of center?? Rev. Al Sharpton?? And yes, I miss Lou Dobbs, who ran afoul of his fairly liberal boss. I also have to smile a bit when between MSNBC and Fox News, Wolf Blitzer's CNN tries to bill itself as the "reasonable center." Didn't Candy Crowley have to jump in and bail out the President in the debates with Romney? Kinda hard to have a fair contest when the referee is wearing the jersey of the other team.

As a T.E.A. Party enthusiast (Taxed Enough Already), I want neither huge corporations bribing lawmakers to twist laws and regulations to their benefit, nor government robbing us blind through a predatory IRS that only serves to "feed the beast" of an ever-more-appetitive government to enact programs that re-elect incumbents. Seems a perversion of what the Founders had hoped for.

[See David Horowitz’ books “New Leviathan” and “Radicals” as well as David Mamet’s “The Secret Knowledge” for how this works. They, Mark Levin, and many others have awakened and rejected the Crony Capitalism funded Marxism that drives this perverse arrangement.]

Crony capitalism is here to stay, regardless of the party in power. Campaign contributions to fund increasingly expensive TV ads require our elected officials to prostitute themselves to the highest bidder. It's a mess, and I'm not sure the answer here. Citizens United opened the floodgates for corporate and union sponsorship.

In an ideal world, minimalist government would be enough for a citizenry that takes care of themselves, their families, and their neighbors. Now government is a self-propagating Frankenstein that threatens us all, at the behest of crony capitalists and union thugs. BIG MONEY on both sides will rule the day unless ALL OF US, right-left-or-center, DEMAND OUR GOVERNMENT PAY ATTENTION TO US, and not merely the next campaign contribution from deep pockets with an agenda.

Thanks for your perspective. Hope you will find mine worthwhile as well.

Regards,
DJD

Mr. Ryssdal -- I have enjoyed your program for years and listen frequently, but I'll have to say that the interview of Gabriel Sherman about his new book on Roger Ailes was one of the most liberal-biased program I have heard on an NPR station in many years. The thought that Mr. Ailes has divided this country is pure hogwash. The programs of the far left democrats to convert a free nation into an entitlement society is what has divided this country. To tax and over-regulate the successful and mortgage our future for the benefit of those who feel they are entitled to a cradle-to-grave carefree life is what has divided this country. And further, this Division has been led for the past five years by a President who uses any means to obtain this entitlement and socialistic society through most blatantly lying about just about everything. Those of us on the right are fighting to keep our freedoms and equal opportunity for personal success by taking responsibility for our personal actions and outcomes. It is just these principles upon which our founding Fathers developed this country, and upon which Mr. Ailes, and others on the right, are attempting to maintain.

Roger Ailes: Loudest voice in the room.

Hello Kai:

Loudest voice in the room? Wonder if anyone has done a recent decibel check on Chris Matthews (or his alter ego Will McAvoy from Newsroom), Lawrence “Crazy Eyes” O’Donnell, Wolf “Brownie, YOU’RE INCOMPETENT!!” Blitzer, Keith Olbermann, Martin Bashir, or “The Reverend” Al Sharpton. How about Harvey Weinstein’s “The Senator’s Wife” which he boasts will make the NRA “wish they were never alive…” [ http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=847726 ]

Many Americans, especially those from the middle three quarters of America, share Roger Ailes’ sadness at what America has become. The Federal Government has become a WEAPON used by the Left to silence or destroy political opposition. NSA, DOJ, IRS, FBI, EPA. Each with their own ominous scandals, they are the most feared acronyms in the English Language. The First Amendment has been twisted to the point where Marxist Orthodoxy is protected, but anything other than the Politically Correct Party Line is “hate speech” and therefore banned. Any human flaws exhibited by Republicans are above-the-fold front page headlines, but those of Democrats and points further left are buried on A19 of the NYT, the newspaper of record—unless it’s so egregious that even Democrats protest against it. Anthony Wiener and Mayor Filner and Governor Spitzer come to mind.

Amendment I [archives.gov]

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

If this God-given freedom applies to the radicals, degenerates, and rapists of the Occupy movement, it surely applies to the pastors and grandparents of the T.E.A. Party movement. Not to mention news organizations of ALL editorial viewpoints. And not merely those who propagandize and militate against the very fabric of America.

Unfortunately, “Loudest Voice In The Room” sounds from your interview like another Jewish hit-piece against anyone who DARES to vary—at all—from the Marxist Orthodoxy.

Please read ex-USAF ex-CIA counter-intel and counter-terrorism expert Kent Clizbe's "Willing Accomplices" [Ashburn, VA: ANDEMCA Press, 2011, available on Kindle from Amazon_com or in paperback from KentClizbe_com] or Steven Koch "Double Lives" (1993) about the obviously successful propaganda and psychological programming campaign of Willi Muenzenberg from the 1930s on straight out of Dzerzhinsky's Cheka, the predecessor to Lenin's KGB, aimed directly at the heart of American culture. Re-evaluate everything you've ever learned about Political Correctness, the most prized construct of the Left to overwhelm the once formidable common sense of the American People. If PC and Marxism were infused into Hollywood, the NYC media, and Academia by an actual ENEMY in order to divide and disarm us from within, is it possible that Dzerzhinsky and Muenzenberg, and Saul Alinsky, and therefore Axelrod and his Chicago-style shyster salesmen JUST MIGHT NOT have a program which is in the best interests of the American people? Please Google "Felix Dzerzhinsky" and "Willi Muenzenberg" to see what you still find on Wikipedia and elsewhere. Or have their entries been expunged, just like Rachel Maddow lamented over the expunged Wiki entry "Forward/Vorwarts!" just before the November 2012 election? Any guess as to why “Forward!” was the campaign slogan?

Roger Ailes has built an empire in the marketplace of ideas. His viewpoint, and that of Laura "Right Wing Slut" Ingraham [thank you, Ed Schultz], Mark Levin, Jonah and Bernard Goldberg, Michael “Savage” Weiner, PhD, David Horowitz, David Mamet, Norman and John Podhoretz and innumerable others are absolute Kryptonite to those who would enforce an Orthodoxy that only allows one worldview. [How erudite, open-minded, altruistic and Liberal of you, NPR…]

There is a small glimmer of hope, but only if the “silent majority” of Americans wake up, get off their sofas, and DEMAND that government and the NYC Media also allow their viewpoint, priorities, freedom of speech, freedom of faith, freedom of conscience, and all that has made America Reagan’s “Last Best Hope of Freedom.”

If not, then…

Congratulations, NPR and Marketplace!! You are now (and have been all along, just ask Daniel Schorr) “Willing Accomplices” to the final take-down of the once-Godly, once-freedom-loving, once-prosperous, once-Constitutional Republic formerly known as the United States of America. Welcome to the Ash Heap of History.
Sad thing is, it sounds INTENTIONAL.

VERY Sincerely,

David Jones, Detroit, MI 48201

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