Just in time for the long weekend, Gabe Sherman’s anticipated article on Roger Ailes’ ouster at Fox News is out: The Revenge of Roger’s Angels: How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.
It’s Sherman’s most detailed writing yet about “the 15 days it took to end the 20-year reign” of Roger Ailes at Fox News after former FNC host Gretchen Carlson filed her sex harassment lawsuit against Ailes.
Among the details in the new article: Carlson used her smartphone to record conversations with Ailes, starting in 2014. Sherman dismissively calls Carlson “among the least likely” candidate to have brought down Ailes, what with her being a 50-year-old former Miss America, “blonde, right-wing and proudly anti-intellectual.”
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As Carlson’s legal team prepared her suit against Ailes, Sherman wrote, one of her lawyers “instructed an IT technician to install software on her firm’s network and Carlson’s electronic devices to prevent the use of spyware by Fox.”
“We didn’t want to be hacked,” Sherman quoted.
Ailes had Fox’s head of engineering install a CCTV system that allowed him to monitor Fox offices, studios, greenrooms, and back entrance, as well as his homes, Sherman wrote, citing executives.
Citing two sources “with direct knowledge of the incident,” Sherman writes that Fox’s “general counsel, hired a private investigator in late 2010 to obtain the personal home- and cell-phone records of Joe Strupp, a reporter for the liberal watchdog group Media Matters.” A spokesperson for the general counsel, Dianne Brandi, has denied it.
Though FNC reps have insisted otherwise, “as part of his counteroffensive, Ailes rallied Fox News employees to defend him in the press,” Sherman wrote.
The headline of the article is a references to Laurie Luhn, who now says she underwent years of psychological torture by Ailes. Luhn lured young female Fox employees to take one-on-one meetings with Ailes, Sherman writes, reportedly after Ailes said he wanted her to find him “Roger’s Angels.”
Ailes lost control of Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump after Fox aired the first GOP debate that brought his network historic ratings, Sherman wrote. Trump’s attack of Kelly for her question about how he talks about women caused Kelly to start getting death threats. Kelly, in turn, even speculated, Sherman wrote citing a Fox source, “that Trump might have been responsible for her getting violently ill before the debate last summer.”
“Could he have paid someone to slip something into her coffee that morning in Cleveland? she wondered to colleagues,” Sherman wrote.
Though, at the time, Ailes released a statement defending Kelly, Sherman said that, privately, Ailes blamed her for creating the crisis with the “unfair” question, Sherman said, citing an unnamed Fox anchor. Kelly felt betrayed by Ailes, and by on-air colleagues who did not rush to her defense, as has been widely reported.
Sherman described FNC as the merging of news, politics, and entertainment “in such an overt way Ailes was able to personally shape the national conversation and political fortunes as no one ever had before.”
“It is not a stretch to argue that Ailes is largely responsible for, among other things, the selling of the Iraq War, the Swift-boating of John Kerry, the rise of the tea party, the sticking power of a host of Clinton scandals, and the purported illegitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency.”
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