Two years before Gabriel Sherman published his book about Roger Ailes, the now-former Fox News CEO amassed a 400-page dossier on the New York magazine editor seeking to discredit him and his work, according to news reports.
"We always wondered why Ailes was so obsessed and paranoid about Gabe's book," a former Fox News reporter told CNN's Brian Stelter.
Sherman's work — "The Loudest Voice in the Room" — was first published in January 2014.
When reminded of the lawsuit filed last month by former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson alleging sexual harassment that ultimately led to Alies' subsequent resignation, the ex-reporter then said, "maybe we know why."
Ailes, 76, has denied Carlson's accusations. He remains a Fox consultant through 2018.
According to Stelter, the document was a book-length memo dated Jan. 5, 2012. He likened it to "opposition research" against an adversary in a political campaign.
The memo was headed — "To: Interested Parties." "Re: Gabriel Sherman."
CNN obtained the document from two sources "who insisted on anonymity because they said they still fear retaliation by Ailes," Stelter reports.
"Both said that when they received it, they were told it was from the Fox News public relations department."
Sherman's book included on-the-record accounts of Ailes telling one potential hire in the 1980s: "If you agree to have sex with me whenever I want, I will add an extra hundred dollars a week."
It also said Alies made otherwise suggestive comments to another woman, according to Stelter.
The book, however, did not disclose the accusations put forth in Carlson's lawsuit. Sherman's effort has been reissued as an e-book with a new cover reflecting the former anchor's legal action, Stelter reports.
It was not clear who completed the actual research, but Fox's Irena Briganti "denied any knowledge of the research memo" to Stelter on Friday.
She took over the network's public relations department shortly before the Sherman's book was released.
"The Fox News PR department was never involved in conducting or executing any opposition research against Gabe Sherman," Briganti said in a statement. "It's been widely reported that there was a separate team not associated with PR which conducted extensive operations unbeknownst to anyone whose official job was to deal with the press."
Susan Estrich, Ailes' attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.
Sherman told Stelter that he had heard about such information being complied by Ailes but that he had never seen it nor doubted its existence.
"I don't take it personally," he said. "As I report in my book, Ailes was determined to control his story.
"This appears to be more evidence of that."
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