PLEDGE NOW
Fox, MSNBC And The Roger Ailes Story

Gabriel Sherman on Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes and our polarized American media, from Fox to MSNBC.

In this Sept. 29, 2006 file photo, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes poses at Fox News in New York. Propelled by Ailes' "fair and balanced" branding, Fox has targeted viewers who believe the other cable-news networks, and maybe even the media overall, display a liberal tilt from which Fox News delivers them with unvarnished truth. (AP)

In this Sept. 29, 2006 file photo, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes poses at Fox News in New York. Propelled by Ailes’ “fair and balanced” branding, Fox has targeted viewers who believe the other cable-news networks, and maybe even the media overall, display a liberal tilt from which Fox News delivers them with unvarnished truth. (AP)

Gabriel Sherman’s big new biography of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes is making buzz all over right now.  Fox is buzzing mad.  Charging a smear.  Sherman says he’s nailed the man and his conservative cable news network.  Ailes as controlling, angry, fear-mongering, manipulative.  His creation, Fox, as having divided the country.  Of course, Fox isn’t alone on the field of politically-charged cable news.  There’s MSNBC, doing its thing round the clock. This hour On Point:  Gabriel Sherman and more on Fox News, its mastermind Roger Ailes, MSNBC, and our polarized cable news universe.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Gabriel Sherman, contributing editor at New York Magazine. Author of “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — And Divided A Country.” (@gabrielsherman)

Kelefa Sanneh, staff writer for the New Yorker.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Republic: Roger Ailes Is Not That Powerful — “It is to Sherman’s credit that he both elicits sympathy for Ailes, and quickly dispels any hope that Ailes’s story is an uplifting one. This book is not about overcoming one’s odds, and rising above pettiness. No, pretty soon young Roger is off working for The Mike Douglas Show and then Richard Nixon, who had a similarly rough upbringing, and who happened to have all the qualities that Ailes would eventually develop: pettiness, self-pity, and paranoia.”

Slate: The Troublemaker — “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.”

The New Yorker: Twenty Four Hour Party People — “The decisions that Maddow makes go a long way toward defining what MSNBC is, too. Phil Griffin, the president, calls Maddow “our quarterback,” the person who sets the tone for the network. A few years ago, MSNBC had a different quarterback: Keith Olbermann, a former ESPN anchor who rose to fame during the Bush years, delivering urbane, fuguelike denunciations of a President who was sometimes known, on his show, as “you, sir.” Olbermann and MSNBC agreed to a no-fault divorce in early 2011, and Griffin has spent the past two and a half years reinventing the network in Maddow’s image. At almost any time of the day, you can turn it on and encounter someone whose liberalism is earnest, upbeat, and perhaps a little wonky.”

Cable News And Cultural Diversity

Bryan Monroe, Washington editor of opinion and commentary for CNN. (@BryanMonroeCNN)

Read An Excerpt Of “The Loudest Voice In The Room” By Gabriel Sherman

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 27, 2015
Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi raises his hands as he sits behind glass in a courtroom, in a converted lecture hall in the national police academy in an eastern Cairo suburb, Egypt, Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP)

Sentenced to death in Egypt for espionage, respected academic Emad Shahin joins us with a big take on Egypt, ISIS and America’s response.

May 27, 2015
The logo from the new film, "(Dis)Honesty," which is also the logo for the Dishonesty Project. (The Dishonesty Project)

Are we natural born liars? Is it human to lie? Inside the new documentary, “(Dis)Honesty”.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 26, 2015
The saola is an exceedingly rare mammal found in the mountains of Southeast Asia. (Wikicommons)

Endangered species and the search for one of the world’s rarest creatures deep into the wilds of central Laos.

 
May 26, 2015
Blogger and activist Pamela Geller speaks at a conference she organized entitled “Stop Islamization of America,” in New York on Sept. 11, 2012. (AP)

Two new books on free speech–one by a former New York Times correspondent, the other a Fox News contributor. They don’t see eye to eye—and tell us why.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment