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THE FOX EFFECT by David Brock


How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine

by David Brock & Ari Rabin-Havt

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-27958-3
Publisher: Anchor

A thorough catalogue of Fox News president Roger Ailes' misdeeds as head of the controversial network.

Brock, the founder and CEO of Media Matters, and Rabin-Havt, the organization's executive vice president, have reason to despise the man at the center of their new book. In the epilogue, they detail the well-publicized and vicious personal smears Ailes authorized in retaliation for their organization's critical coverage of Fox. According to a psychiatrist brought onto a Fox News talk show to assess his mental health, Brock is a “very dangerous man.” Brock and Rabin-Havt paint Ailes as a petty, vindictive right-wing ideologue whose ruthlessness is untempered by any sense of obligation to truth, fairness or basic human decency. Given that their book draws on years of research and includes comprehensive footnotes, unlike Fox News' widely debunked on-air reporting, the authors’ damning portrait of Ailes is quite a bit more credible than the assertions of various Fox News personalities that Brock is “full of self-hatred” and President Obama attended a radical madrassa and may not have been born in the United States. While the majority of the book is well-documented enough to be convincing, Brock and Rabin-Havt occasionally draw on sources of questionable merit—e.g., Gawker. Their most devastating source is Fox News itself, a network that makes little secret of its own bias.

Worth reading for anyone who suspects Fox News of distorting the truth and is eager to spend hours sifting through the evidence. For those observant and literate enough to have seen through Fox from the beginning, this book feels like an exhaustively researched exercise in stating the obvious.