Roger Ailes biographer: "He's like Citizen Kane meets P.T. Barnum"

For nearly 50 years, Roger Ailes has been a power player in American media and politics. He is best known as the chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel.

Now, a new, unauthorized biography explores his career and influence. It's called: "The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News and Divided a Country." Gabriel Sherman is the author. He spoke about his work to the "CBS This Morning" co-hosts.

"It's a reporter's dream to write this book," he said. "He's the most unexplored subject, the most powerful man in America that most Americans don't know but they should… He's like Citizen Kane meets P.T. Barnum."

Sherman spent nearly three years researching and writing the biography – a book that Ailes declined to be interviewed for – and spoke to hundreds of people, including members of Ailes' family and people inside Fox who've never talked before.

He discussed how Ailes has been influencing politics for the last three decades – whether as a political consultant, or as a television executive - by using the medium of television to effectively deliver a message.

"When he puts something on the air, it drives the agenda," Sherman said. "Now, in the 2012 cycle, with Mitt Romney, his strategy was, rather than trying to build Romney up, it was an attack strategy against President Barack Obama… Obama was obviously a very ripe target, and if you look at Fox's programming throughout the last election cycle, Ailes was driving that message."

He cites how by focusing on the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation, Benghazi, and the green energy scandals, Fox News kept the base animated and ready to turn out.

"Everything that winds up on the screen starts with Roger Ailes. It is his vision… and so to understand Fox and how it has changed America, you have to understand the man," Sherman said. "Roger Ailes is an American icon."

To watch the full interview with Gabriel Sherman, click on the video above.

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