January 8, 2014
Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch in 1996, at a press conference announcing the creation of Fox News. (Richard Drew/AP)
Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch in 1996, at a press conference announcing the creation of Fox News. (Richard Drew/AP)

The New York Times has gotten ahold ofThe Loudest Voice in the Room,” the much-anticipated biography of Fox News chief Roger Ailes. In a revelation that will surprise no one, the Times says that the book, written by journalist Gabriel Sherman, puts Ailes, the controversial former political svengali turned broadcast exec, in a “critical light.” Sherman spent more than three years on the book, and it contains more than 100 pages of source notes and bibliography, according to the Times.

As the rundown explains, the book digs in a bit on a classic Fox News moment from late May 2012, about five months before the presidential election. The clownish morning show “Fox & Friends” debuted a stunning four-minute video titled “Four Years of Hope and Change: Impact of President Obama’s First Term.” Now, according to Fox News, “Fox & Friends” doesn’t necessarily purport to be balanced news programming — that stuff allegedly runs after the morning show, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In this case, “Fox & Friends” took full advantage of its license for tendentiousness; the video, as we noted at the time, came off like a Mitt Romney production. The impact of Obama’s first four years, it argued, was misery all around in the form of higher levels of unemployment, and debt, escalating food prices. And don’t forget the gas prices, either!

Even though the thing ran on a non-serious platform like “Fox & Friends,” it kicked up a great deal of outrage, to the point that Fox News was forced to issue one of its classic statements, which read like this:

“The package that aired on FOX & Friends was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show’s producers.” — BILL SHINE, Executive Vice President of Programming

According to the Times: “Mr. Sherman writes that the video ‘was Ailes’s brainchild.’ ”

You tell me: Is there any reconciling Sherman’s revelation with the Fox News statement?

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