August 5, 2013
Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch
Fox News chief Roger Ailes, left, and Rupert Murdoch (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

How do you pen a negative review of a book that hasn’t even been published yet?

Just click on booksaboutrogerailes.com, and you’ll find out. Though the site appears to be dedicated purely to basic informational needs for those interested in books about the Fox News chief, it has something of an editorial tilt.

For instance: It speaks highly of the book “Roger Ailes Off Camera: An inside look at the founder and head of Fox News,” by author Zev Chafets. That book covers Ailes’ professional and personal life and includes a great deal of input from the Fox News chief himself, who gave a great deal of access to the author. The result was a book that fans of Ailes, including Fox News staffers, adored.

Here’s how booksaboutrogerailes.com breaks down “Roger Ailes Off Camera”, in a July 26 posting:

Roger Ailes: Off Camera is worth a read for people who want to understand Roger Ailes, rather than people who want to read about what others think of the man and, as public as Ailes’ career has been, there is not [sic] shortage of people who have opinions about the man they have never gotten to know.

Bold text added to highlight an apparent slight of the as-yet-unpublished Ailes biography by reporter Gabriel Sherman: “The Loudest Voice in the Room: The Inside Story of How Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics.” Sherman’s look at Ailes will be a highly unauthorized.

Booksaboutrogerailes.com also applies its critical faculties to the book published by the semi-famous “Fox Mole,” former “O’Reilly Factor” producer Joe Muto. Titled “An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal’s Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media,” the book highlights the good and the bad of the conservative network. Before writing the book, however, the “Fox Mole” got in trouble with his employer, and eventually the law, for having spilled some Fox News secrets in tell-all posts on Gawker. That whole episode gets prime billing on booksaboutrogerailes.com:

While Zev Chafez was given direct access to Roger Ailes, other writers have been more, shall we say, creative in trying to write about their topic. Joe Muto, the Author Of An Atheist In A Fox Hole, plead guilty to the crimes of attempted theft and attempted computer tampering which he says he committed while embedded a mole, working, and being paid by for Fox News, while he was acting as a spy, feeding information to Gawker, the gossip site for which he was paid $5,000 (which he was ordered by the court to give to charity, after he plead guilty).

The Erik Wemple Blog has dutifully tracked the weird pre-counter-publicity regarding the Sherman biography of Ailes. In January, for instance, we noted that someone had gobbled up domain names such as GabrielShermanBook.com, GabrielShermanBook.net, GabrielShermanFoxBook.com, RogerAilesbook.com, Molebookaboutfox.com, JoeMutobook.com and others. Expect such sites, and perhaps new ones, to start filling up with posts slyly trashing Sherman’s book, which is due out in January.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.