A review of “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” by Zev Chafetz
If anyone has a Midas touch, it is Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News.
He was the first to create brilliant political advertising that set the standard for a generation and elected the forty-first president of the United States, George H.W. Bush.
Then he went on to create the most successful television network in the past half-century, Fox News. In fact, he has yet to fail at any major endeavor he has tried.
How does he do it? What motivates him? What kind of a person is he?
A new book — “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” by Zev Chafets answers these questions without either sycophancy or negativism.
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.
When Ailes has flaws — his temper, sensitivity to criticism, impulsiveness, and ego — Chafets portrays them.
And when he has strengths — creativity, instinct for what will sell, loyalty, energy, and competitiveness — those come through also.
These same strengths have allowed him to build the most powerful brand in cable news.
Chafets’ book shows Ailes full dimensions — how the combination of a remarkable personality, creative genius and business acumen have helped him make Fox News.
He acquaints us with the hard-nosed single-minded focus that makes him successful. Chafetz explains how Ailes performs the most difficult task of any successful media person: To live at the upper crust economically and not to lose a feel for what the average person wants and thinks.
Rudyard Kipling phrased the dilemma best in his poem If: “To walk with kings nor lose the common touch.” Ailes does indeed walk with kings but remains at core a common man with ordinary values, sensibilities, tastes, and outlook.
That he could preserve these assets and life at his level without losing his values is a massive tribute. Chafets does a lot to explain how Roger has remained true to his core values while becoming one of the most influential Americans.
Every Fox News fan should read this book to get the real truth about the man who shapes their news — and his relationship with many of the key Fox players like O’Reilly and Hannity.
And every Fox News critic should also delve in Chavets’ biography. They may surprised by what they learn.
Roger Ailes is a man of many accomplishments, but what shines through in “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” is how one person who loves his family and his country, who believes in the founding principles, can make a difference for all Americans.
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