Thursday, January 23, 2014

Roger Ailes, Then and Now

Sometimes we just go on with politics as usual and then something comes along that changes everything.  In our lifetime, the political landscape has shifted on its axis several times. The Nixon- Kennedy debate for one. It changed the perception of television and what it takes to win an election.

Certainly advocacy journalism, or “yellow journalism” as some have called it, has been with us since Gutenberg cleaned the ink off of the first printing press. Pamphleteers once ruled the ballot box. Years later, Hearst was quoted as saying to one of his reporters, “you provide the pictures, I’ll provide the war.”

Long before talk radio, the likes of Father Coughlin, Walter Winchell, and Lowell Thomas would use radio news to shape and shade the public's perception of the events of the day.

But before 1996, this kind of journalism had not been able to manipulate the power of television. The barriers to entry had been too high and the public perhaps too wise. But all of that would change in the hands of a former Nixon ad man and NBC executive named Roger Ailes. With money from Rupert Murdoch, he would bring to television news a product that was neither fair or balanced.

How Ailes did it and why, is at the heart of a Gabriel Sherman's book The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country.

My conversation with Gabriel Sherman:

Bookmark and Share