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January 13th, 2014
11:02 PM ET

Roger Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman: "Mitt Romney's war room was being run out of Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan"

One day before the release of his new biography on Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, on Monday evening Piers Morgan invited journalist and author Gabriel Sherman to join him "In The Chair" for a primetime, exclusive interview.

Asked by the host about the notion that Ailes "effectively runs the Republican Party," Sherman detailed the role the 73-year-old former GOP media consultant played in the most recent general election:

"He [Ailes] said to his senior executives, we're going to have to do a lot to get this guy elected, meaning Mitt Romney. And he said to Bill Kristol, the editor of the "Weekly Standard" and at the time, a FOX News contributor, that he did not think Mitt Romney had the spine to, quote, 'rip [Barack] Obama's face off.' So Ailes, through FOX, took it upon himself to run Mitt Romney's media strategy," explained Monday's guest. "For the first time in American history, a Republican candidate's war room was being run out of the headquarters of a news channel. Mitt Romney's war room was being run out of Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan."

On the heels of several recent political missteps by perceived 2016 GOP front-runner Chris Christie, Morgan noted that FOX has in large part avoided covering stories that other networks have seemingly pounced upon. According to Sherman, such producing is a testament not to Ailes' fondness for the New Jersey Governor, but rather his desire to level the cable news playing field and protect the Republican party:

"This shows at the heart how FOX is a political messaging organization. Personally, Roger Ailes has no love for Chris Christie. On election day, in 2012, when it looked like Romney was going to lose, Ailes grumbled to his most senior team, 'thank you, Chris Christie.' He blamed Christie for the photo-op that he gave Barack Obama with Hurricane Sandy," Sherman told the "Piers Morgan Live" host. "But Ailes is smart enough that he knows that he has to balance the rest of the media...if the media is covering Christie's 'Bridgegate,' it is FOX's job to go in another direction."

Sherman's book, entitled "The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News–and Divided a Country," will be released on Tuesday. Watch the above clip for more of Morgan's interview with the man who wrote it, and for the next episode of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN at 9p.
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Filed under: In the Chair
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. motherofthegroomoneggshells

    I take exception with the assertion that Fox News has not been covering Christie's Bridgegate. I am a regular Fox viewer too, watched Christie's entire news conference on Fox News and have even changed the channel a few times since because I was tired of hearing about it.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • verycreative

      Dear mother,

      You mistake the showing of Christie's news conference with coverage of his "bridgegate." Just go over to Fox's website and you will not see an iota of Christie's "bridgegate" except fora very tiny graphic in one corner. Fox is the shame of journalism. I would encourage you to watch PBS newshour for a balanced and in-depth look at the news.

      January 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Scott

        Verycreative,

        Your statements reflect no attempt at research or any interest in truth. You clicked on Fox’s website and did not see a huge banner and use that as proof. Pretty silly but go ahead and do the same thing on MSNBC or CNN, the first page on either did not have much. Are you saying they are not covering the Christie story?

        Do a little real research before you spout uneducated propaganda. Do us all a favor and turn FOX on for an hour, I promise it will not kill you. You will discover that your statements are dead wrong.

        January 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Scott

        Also forgot to comment on your PBS suggestion. First take a look on their first page, not a mention of Christie. But you watch news like PBS or MSNBC for one reason and that is because you do not want to hear or learn anything that may be contrary to your liberal beliefs. If you want to live in that box, go ahead. Just don’t go online spouting it as gospel.

        January 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sanford

    While Piers is looking for ammunition to attack Ailes in particular and and Republicans in general, Sherman's statement, above, "According to [Gabriel] Sherman, such producing is a testament not to Ailes' fondness for the New Jersey Governor, but rather his desire to level the cable news playing field and protect the Republican party," Piers is part of the biased, unbalanced main stream media that frequently and generally support and promote the Democratic agenda in the U.S., to which Ailes is merely trying to level the playing field.

    In my view this is a very necessary thing, as it is quite inappropriate for 5 of the nations 6 leading TV news channels to promote only one political or social viewpoint. At this point Wolf Blitzer is just about the only MSM (main stream media) news caster, outside of Fox News, that makes any attempt at objectivity or balance at all. The MSM is completely responsible for the existence of Fox News. If the MSM were as balanced as it was 30-40 years ago there wouldn't be a Fox News juggernaut today, maybe a little wimpy version of FN would exist today instead.

    January 14, 2014 at 3:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. brasstacs

    There will be many attacks against Fox news this year in an attempt to discredit Fox news because of the 2014 election..Fox is a island in a sea of liberal propaganda posing as legitimate news sources,and this includes even the network news and not just cable news.

    January 14, 2014 at 8:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • SideWaysView

      And so we have to assume – by the logic of brasstacs – that Fox is countering this 'sea of liberal propaganda' by offering a view that is balanced, accurate and reflective of the general public opinion.
      I am not an American citizen but a frequent visitor and I have watched with utter dismay the likes of Glen Beck, listened to Rush Limbaugh and am astonished how much garbage they – and others – spew forth to insular, gullible and a largely ignorant sector of middle America. The very same people who have to arm themselves against a potentially rampant and rogue government that might wage war against them.

      January 14, 2014 at 9:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • brasstacs

        MSNBC offers nothing but 24/7 nonstop GOP bashing without any opposing opinions...this is propaganda and nothing else...where Fox news offers many opposing opinions and in fact has many paid liberal commentators on their staff..which you so conveniently leave out in your little dig.

        January 14, 2014 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • SideWaysView

      While brasstacs makes a comment about the bias of MSNBC, I am unable to make an informed judgement as I do not watch this on a regular basis. I do however watch CNN and I think this debate is about this station and Piers Morgan in particular. I frequently see guests on his show with opposing views and on the very same show he had a Republican supporter of the Chris Christie saga debating that issue. I frequently see Republican supporters on CNN articulating their points of view. In any case I am making the point that Piers Morgan was interviewing someone who published a book about the overly powerful political influence of Roger Ailes. I am about to start reading the book and will make my own conclusion. It appears that most of the commentators on this blog have formed an opinion without having read the book – it was released today. Why is the author an anathema or the simply the fact that such a book was even written raise the ire of conservative thinkers? It might very well reveal the truth – as unpalatable as it might be.

      January 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Scott

    I am in general a fan of the Piers Morgan show, although I do disagree and catch him in some untruths from time to time. But I must say last nights show was almost laughable with a completely propaganda filled show, I was almost ashamed to be watching it and will have to decide if it is worth watching in the future. Mr. Morgan you should be ashamed.

    January 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Chris

    I love reading the comments that celebrate the conservative bias of Fox News as a counterpoint to the supposed liberal bias of other media. Conservatives love to claim that Fox is balanced, but when confronted with strong information of its bias they can only argue that "two wrongs make a right." Disingenuous, to say the least. I have also noticed that a lot of conservatives seem to put an awful lot of trust in two sleazy media moguls who have repeatedly shown that they have vast resources to defend themselves. Personally, I would fret over whether Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes feel like Fox News is being picked on.

    January 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • SideWaysView

      Chris is spot on. The levelling of the playing fields – according to the conservative right – will be achieved if disinformation and instilling fear about rogue governments and rampant socialism is used to defend their position against the 'liberal press and the democratic party. As far as they are concerned 'two wrongs make a right' is part of their philosophy.
      An example is the Obama debacle regarding the complete hash of the NSA saga and deservedly being punished for it. He is being bashed continuously in the conservative press, who conveniently forget to include Murdoch, who owns Fox, as having employed similar tactics by hacking into people's personal mobile phone conversations in the UK in order to satisfy his gutter press.

      January 15, 2014 at 1:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • Scott

        I always find it amazing how people justify lies that support their views with even more statement that cannot be back up with any fact. Ex. “confronted with strong information of its bias.” The fact is, this particular Piers Morgan show had zero to do with fact. Piers made comments like, Fox has not covered the story on Governor Christie, when in fact the coverage has been on all day and for days. The only difference in the coverage on Fox compared to CNN and MSNBC is FOX puts on competing views of the subject unlike CNN and MSNBC. But I would imagine both Chris and SideWaysView would not know this because they would never watch FOX to find out for themselves, they will just take CNN and MSNBC’s word for it because those channels overwhelmingly support their views and if it supports their views it must be true.

        It is true Fox is very much unlike CNN and MSNBC and leans more to the conservative side. But coming from a person who watches both CNN and FOX and on occasion MSNBC, the big difference is FOX almost always has a person from both the left and the right to give their perspective on most important stories. CNN does this selectively and MSNBC almost never puts on anyone with a apposing view. My suggestion would be to watch Fox and CNN for an equal amount of time for a week and find out for your self.

        January 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • SideWaysView

        Scott – I can promise that I watch Fox on a regular basis – I find them amusingly entertaining on many occasions and I agree that they often include opposing views but that is not my argument. My argument is that many of the ideas and comments expressed in articulating these points of view are laughable and absurd and this I find very entertaining – and disturbing!

        January 15, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Scott

        SideWaysView
        I can sort of agree, but on which news channel can that not be found. Beck who is not on fox, is pretty darn extreme and that is why he did not last. Hannity is up there but like all news channels, most things need to be taken with a grain of salt and if you only get your news from one place and not researching it, I guess ignorance is deserved. I guess my confusion with your statement comes from your statement, “Many ideas and comments expressed are laughable and absurd. I would love to here some example. I spend about 40% of my news watching on FOX, 40% CNN and 10% MSNBC, and find that both FOX, and CNN give mostly accurate and informative information, although from a different side of the fence, MSNBC is another story.

        January 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    Correction: Meant to say "would NOT fret."

    January 14, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Lordhavemercy

    Can't stand CNN – trashy tabloid journalism – but love Piers Morgan....just wish he could use his brilliance, wit and humour on a TV station worthy of his talents.....Come on Piers – why u wasting your fine self on this GARBAGE TV station...Even the Founder of CNN (chicken Noodle News it was once called) Ted Turner is disgusted at the level of intellect the entire CNN program hs fallen to....I don't allow this station in my house, don't allow most American news stations for that matter but every now and then catch it at a friend's house when there is absolutely nothing else on the Tube......Piers come to Canada where we have no use for sensationalism, preferring wit and humour.....We's waiting for ya, Piers.....oh yes!!!

    January 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • SIdeWaysView

      And where does Fox fit in with your characterisation of ' trashy tabloid journalism' ?
      Trying to be an objective outsider – not living in the USA – I have been appalled by the likes of Glen Beck and the trashy journalism that permeates that organisation. I watch them occasionally to amuse myself at what I think has become a never ending sitcom.

      January 15, 2014 at 1:48 am | Report abuse | Reply

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