Who is the man Barack Obama fears most? If the White House’s actions toward Fox News are any clue, it’s Roger Ailes.
Ailes is the creator and chairman of America’s No. 1-rated cable news channel, Fox News. A just-released biography — “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” by Zev Chafets — gives the first and most revealing account of the battle between Fox News and President Obama.
Rush Limbaugh says it’s the best book ever written about Ailes and Fox News, disclosing stories never before told.
Among these stories is the dramatic struggle that has been taking place between Fox News and Obama.
To say that the president hates Fox News may be an understatement. Early in his first term Obama actually sought to ban Fox News from the White House press corps, ripping away its press credential. Even liberal media were aghast at the president’s authoritarian move. The Obama administration backed down and Fox kept its White House seat.
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But no love has been lost between the two sides. Ailes tells Chafets what he really thinks of Obama.
He doesn’t mince words, saying the president lied to him at their first meeting, which took place in 2008 at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel with News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch in the room.
Ailes also called the president “lazy,” based on the president’s own evaluation of himself to Barbara Walters. Chafets recounts the private meeting between Ailes, Obama, and Murdoch. The author gives a blow-by-blow account of the tense confrontation that ensued.
As Chafets recounts, when Ailes confronted Obama about his plans for unilateral arms cuts, Obama denied he ever made such a statement. Ailes described Obama’s response this way: “He said this looking me right in the eyes. He never dropped his gaze, which is the usual tell. It was as good a lie as anyone ever told me.” Obama became icy and his press secretary jumped up to end the meeting.
Chafets’ book is drawing high praise not only for its penetrating look at the man credited with building Fox News into the top-rated cable news channel, but also for the significant revelations it offers about Ailes, the fight with Obama, and other fascinating vignettes.
The book also carries credibility. Chafets is not a conservative — a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and a former columnist for the New York Daily News, he was given unprecedented access to Ailes and others at Fox News with no strings attached.
Some of Chafets’ many surprising revelations include:
- Obama’s obsession with Sean Hannity for “battering” him on radio and TV shows;
- How Glenn Beck’s exposé on Van Jones led to the White House efforts to ban Fox News;
- Obama’s surprising remark at a White House Christmas party, telling Ailes that he was “the most powerful man in the world;”
- The truth about the George Soros-backed efforts to torpedo the “two Great Satans” — Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh;
- Why Beck really left Fox News to start his own network;
- Fox and Hollywood: the funny account by Ailes of the time he went to dinner with Al Pacino and Shirley MacLaine;
- White House Days: Ailes’ time as a media adviser to Richard Nixon and why chief of staff H.R. Haldeman and Nixon’s inner circle kept him on the outside;
- Ailes’ role in saving Ronald Reagan after his disastrous debate performance against Walter Mondale;
- Nancy and the Gipper behind the curtain: a side most people never saw before;
- The Rush Limbaugh television show and the advice Ailes gave to Rush when dealing with the liberal media — Rush has never forgotten it;
- O’Reilly wars: the inside story of how Fox dealt with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and why, to this day, Bill O’Reilly hates his liberal critics at NBC;
- Backfire: O’Reilly’s push to sue Al Franken for his book criticizing Fox and how it helped Franken gain best-seller status;
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- Kennedy clan: Ailes’ surprising relationship with the Kennedy family that goes back more than four decades.
Chafets talked with hundreds of Ailes’ friends and enemies, and constructs an intimate portrait of the man who has been called “the most powerful in news.”
He offers revealing insights into Ailes’ relationship with News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and Fox stars such as O’Reilly, Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, Megyn Kelly, Brit Hume, Shep Smith, Bret Baier and others.
Ailes gave Chafets his candid take on many of his closest friends, including Limbaugh, and Chafets chronicles Ailes’ relationships with U.S. presidents Nixon, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
And there is Ailes’ candid take on some of his critics: He called Vice President Joe Biden “dumb as an ashtray.”
Chafets notes that Ailes, who served as a media consultant to three Republican presidents, “used his populism, his showbiz savvy and his political strategist’s canny understanding of creating narratives to build Fox News into a huge profit machine for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., while helping to steer the country’s conversation to the right,” The New York Times observed in a review of the book.
Limbaugh said Chafets’ Ailes biography is “great because Ailes opened up to Zev like he hasn’t opened up to anybody else.”
Limbaugh has encouraged his listeners to “get ‘Roger Ailes: Off Camera’ and you find out who this Roger Ailes guy is.”
Veteran political analyst Dick Morris has also touted the book, saying in a recent column: “Most of the time when a biography of a famous man mired in current controversy comes out, the reader asks an odd question: Is it favorable or not? Chafets’ is neither. It is accurate.
“Chafets’ book shows Ailes’ full dimensions — how the combination of a remarkable personality, creative genius and business acumen have helped him make Fox News.”
Morris adds: “Every Fox News fan should read this book.”
The Media Research Center said the bio is “required reading for anyone looking to gain insight into the mind of the man who created the number-one cable news channel in America.”
Note: You can get the best-selling "Roger Ailes: Off Camera" from Amazon at a great price — Go Here Now
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