tv Piers Morgan Live CNN January 14, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PST
piers morgan live starts now. >> this is piers morgan live. welcome to our viewers around the state and around the world. you're looking live sat chris christie bridge over troubled waters and tonight those waters are getting even more troubled. bridgegate is a growing headache for the big man and the governor faces a new scandal tonight, allegations that he used snowstorm sandy relief money to produce tourism ads starring himself and his family. tonight i'll talk to the lawmakers leading the bridgegate allegation, and the woman who ran against christie and lost. and this is a blockbuster that roger ailes doesn't want you to leave. i've got a prime-time exclusive with the author, gabriel sherman, who says that fox news is a political machine that employs journalist.
and the gift that keeps on giving, except people aren't laughing anymore. dennis rodman. i'll talk exclusively to one of the only people on earth who might be able to explain exactly what rodman's been up to. candy anderson is with him in korea. dennis rodman arrived back in america tonight. it left people around the world trying to figure out exactly why he was there and what he was thinking. rodman made the trip to korea with seven-of his former nba colleagues, kenny joins me now. i'll be perfectly honest with you, kenny. i watched the scenes where dennis rodman was singing happy birthday to this tyrant. no other way to describe him. and i felt pretty sick, and i'm not even american. what were you thinking when that was all going on, and particularly when you saw the way this all played out? >> i think the night before, when the cnn interview came, and i had called home a few hours before that, i was like, man, what have i got myself into?
you know, my family back home, you know, all the backlash, and you know, my kids at school was getting approached, so my main focus was just doing a good deed. going over there, being a good deal, just playing basketball. that's what i've been doing all my life. and that's what i was doing. let's see what dave robertson said to reporters on his way back from north korea. watch this. >> i'm sorry about all the people that's going. i'm sorry. i'm not the president. i'm not an ambassador. i'm dennis rodman. just an individual, just showing the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day. i love to see -- >> i mean, many, many people very angry with dennis rodman, but they're also angry with many of the others, including yourself, that went on this trip. how did dennis rodman persuade you to go on? you know him, you're a neighbor of his, you live near him? >> first of all, i do camps and clinics with kids in the north
miami area, and dennis has helped me out. he came and spoke to the kids and helped me out. when he reached out about the north korea thing, i wasn't even sure if it was going to get done. and then all of a sudden -- it happened -- the turnaround happened so quick. so i was just aiding a friend. so he knows now good i am with kids and instructions and clinics and camps. so that's why i got, you know, put on to this trip. >> but what did you know about north korea, about the regime? >> nothing. and that's the way i -- you know, i hold myself accountable for, you know, my -- i didn't do my due diligence with the trip, and i would like, you know, to apologize to david stern, the nba. my supporters, my fans, and americans out there that i did not know the politics of north korea. >> you know, kenny does these camps year-round. he does them around the world. he does them in south florida. travels around the world, and he just -- he goes to play basketball. i mean, that's kenny as a person.
anybody that knows kenny, that's what he's about. >> but you're his agent. i mean, did you also know nothing about north korea, about the regime? >> well, i knew nothing about kenny going to north korea. >> would you have stopped him? >> i would have stopped him, correct. i would have, yes. i didn't know, i actually found out that he was -- the last tweet i saw from kenny was wheels up. and then i, you know, started scrolling up his twitter, and i noticed that he was out of the country. so then i saw it on the news, that kenny anderson was part of the -- >> people were sort of laughing the first time dennis rodman went out there and couldn't really make much of what he was really doing. but then it took a bit of a sinister turn with this interview with cnn's chris cuomo, the one you alluded to earlier. i wanted to play a clip from that and discuss afterwards. >> if you understand what he did, do you understand what he did? in this country. and -- no, no, no, you tell me. no, no, no, i'm just saying. i don't [ bleep ], i don't give
a rascal what [ bleep ] you think. look at these guys! look at them! they dare to do one thing! they came here! they came here! >> i mean, he was clearly drunk, clearly very animated and overemotional, but also, pretty sickening in what he was saying there about an american citizen who's being not seen now for a very long time. he's got health problems, he was an american missionary, captured by this very evil regime. that was the moment when everyone in america went, what the hell is going on? these are american sportsmen, shaming their country. >> that's why, you know, as you know, i boycotted that -- you know, i was off the set. i didn't want to participate in that interview. i was -- that moment, i just wasn't, you know, i thought something was going to pop off. and i said, i didn't want to be a part of it. >> i think it's important, you know, that you recognize, that kenny recognize that there was something wrong with dennis at that point, right?
>> people would say, look, i don't want to be too harsh on you, kenny, because i know you're the main culprit here. but i felt that, you know, for all these stars to go out there and embrace this guy, who is a pretty evil man, running a very evil regime. you yourself met him, kim jong-un, and shook his hand, right? when you were doing that, did you not think to yourself, if you only knew the kind of fury that was going on. did you think to yourself, why am i doing this? >> i'm over there now. i had no way -- you know, i stay at the hotel, i boycott, i was cloudy. you know, i'm over in another -- >> you still shook his hand. >> i had no choice. i was going to do it, regardless. >> why did you have no choice? >> because i feared -- you know, you fear what you don't know. and you know, like i said, i got the phone call, a few hours before the game. my wife was crying. she was like, don't play. she was scared for my safety. so i had no choice. you know, when we got there,
they took -- you know, they take our passports away, you know? and i just -- i had to finish what i started. >> did you feel ashamed as you were doing it? >> i felt bad. i felt bad. i felt very bad that, you know, for my family, you know, for my close friends and americans and people that looked up to kenny anderson. >> you've been a hero to. you've been a sporting icon. a great role model in many ways. and you know, you come bravely on the show. i don't want to pillory you too much for it. but, on behalf of the others, who haven't spoken out, what do you think everybody feels about it? do you feel that dennis, in a way, suckered you into something that you just really should never have been in? >> first of all, i'm 43 years old. i make my own decisions. and like i said, i keep going back to it -- i was upset with myself, just not doing my due diligence about this trip. i didn't think it was going to give me so mush backlash. >> what reaction have you had from people?
not, like, why did you go? you know, did you know? so, you know. like i said, my main thing was my wife and my kids at school, when they was getting approached. and i'm -- all i do is play basketball, and you know, the game that gave me so many opportunities that, you know, that's what i've been doing. since retiring, traveling around, playing games in different countries. >> the nba commissioner, david stern, issued a statement, saying the nba is not involved and would not participate without the approval of the u.s. state department. although sports in many instances can be helpful in bridging cultural divides, this is not one of them. i want to play a clip now. this is when dennis rodman -- to me, this is the worst moment. when he sings happy birthday to kim jong-un. let's watch this. ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ happy birthday to you
♪ happy birthday to you >> i mean, it's awful imagery, isn't it? when you look at that, what are you thinking, kenny? because you look like a bunch of puppets, stooges, people who have been taken out there to basically prop up and support an evil regime. you're clapping like the way they make their people clap. >> now looking back on it, you know, we were. we're over there now. you have no choice. you know, i just did as, you know -- >> it must make your skin crawl, doesn't it? >> it bothered me. >> when you watch it now, what do you think? >> all the information -- >> you're standing there clapping this monster. >> let me interject. >> yeah? >> if i may. you know, like i said, at the beginning of the interview, kenny is about the kids, okay? >> well, he wasn't about the kids out there. >> let me finish. >> i don't mean to be harsh, but he's not out there helping the kids. he's helping --
>> that's what i was told that it was going to be clinics, camps, you know, dealing with kids. that's what i was -- >> but when you watch that video, to have that moment, actually, what you were doing was being used as a stooge and a puppet for this regime. >> a puppet. >> look, can i ask you a question? >> sure. >> what would you do if they took your passport at a hotel and you went there, under false pretenses, if you will. not really knowing what you got yourself into. but you're in north korea. what does one do? >> let me ask a different question. how much did you guys get paid for this? >> it wasn't about the money. i've got compensated on so many different tours i've made. >> but how much was the fees for the players that went out there? >> different guys got different fees. >> if you were being honest, what did you get? >> i got a few thousand dollars for it. >> five, ten? >> a few thousand dollars for it. under $10,000. >> under $10,000. people will say, kenneth bay's family will say, look, this is as pretty close to blood money
as you can get. our father, our husband, this guy's friend is out there, being denigrated by dennis rodman, on behalf of kim jong-un, this monster, and he's duped all you guys into going along with this, and you're all part of it. >> there is nothing we can do right now. you know, like i said. i'll go back, and it bothers me that i didn't do my due diligence before making this trip. but like i said, i've been going on these trips since i retired in 2005, playing different countries. i've been doing it, you know, around the world. and this trip, i didn't feel it was going to get this type of backlash. and now i'm feeling it. >> will you give the money back? maybe give it to charity instead? >> you know what, i will do a portion to a charity. i will -- >> why don't you give it all to a kid's charity. >> i will give a portion to a charity. >> give it all. >> i will give a portion to a charity. >> you wouldn't want to earn money from this trip. >> not all of it? >> i will give a portion to a indicator. >> not all of it? >> i will give a portion to a charity.
>> you don't feel comfortable earning money to go on that trip, do you? >> it wasn't about the money in the first place. >> if it's not about the money, why are you accepting it? >> because i got compensated for doing something. i got compensated -- >> but, kenny -- >> everything i've done after retiring -- >> kenny, with the greatest of respect to you, i can understand that you were ignorant about north korea before you went and you made wrong decisions, as you've admitted and you're ashamed of them, as you say. what i find harder to understand is that now you know about the evil nature of this regime, and now you know how you were duped and used, as even your kids at school were getting attacked for what happened, wouldn't the best thing to be to take no money and just say, you know what, this was just fundamentally wrong and i'm not going to accept being paid for it. >> but you're now turning a clear mistake on kenny's, you know, kenny made a bad decision, as i say others did. i can't speak for them, and day did get compensated, although
not by the government -- >> shouldn't you as his agent be recommending what i'm recommending, that you just basically don't take the money or that you give it all to charity? >> i'm not in the position -- it's his money. >> okay. listen, i appreciate you coming in, kenny. i know it's been a tough ordeal for you and i know you wish you hadn't done it. and at least you had the guts to come in here and face the music. i appreciate that. >> thank you. thanks for having me. >> when we come back, another big man who's facing big troubles tonight, from bridgegate to the investigation of his sandy ad, chris christie is under fire. i'll talk to two people who are leading the charge against new jersey's governor.
the governor faces a federal investigation over his use of superstorm sandy relief money and the threat of a subpoena in the bridgegate scandal that threatens to grow as big as the traffic jams on the george washington bridge. joining me now, two people leading the charge against christie. john wisniewski believes that laws were broken when christie's aides ordered those lane closures at the george washington bridge. also state senator barbara buono. she ran against christie for governor. let me start with you, barbara. what do you think here is chris christie personal culpability based on all the evidence we now know? >> well, you know, this is a pattern this governor has demonstrated since the beginning of his term. and that is that he puts his own political ambitions ahead of doing what's right for new jersey. there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, as you know. we certainly, assemblyman wisniewski has done a great job of gathering as much information as he can, but so many of those e-mails are incomplete, they're redacted.
there's a lot of information we don't know. but one thing is for sure. i know chris christie, i know his administration, i've dealt with him for four years. he runs a very tight ship. it's almost a paramilitary organization and to suggest that this governor had no knowledge that the head, the new york appointee of the point authority wrote a letter and thought that roads had been broken because these lanes were closed without authorization strains credulity. >> and in terms of this new allegation that the feds are investigating the suggestion that christie deliberately chose a more expensive advertising campaign after hurricane sandy, using him and his family to promote himself politically, does that seem to you a fair stick to beat him with? because the agency itself has come out and said, actually, we never included in the original proposal any mention or suggestion of using the governor. the decision to include the governor arrived after the
contract was awarded based on federal expenditure rules. assertions to the contrary are simply incorrect. and also said that their final proposal came in at $22 million while the runner up's proposal was more expensive at $23 million. so it wasn't even the most expensive. given their statement, do you feel that that is a legitimate stick to go after chris christie with? >> well, i did during the campaign against him. and the fact of the matter is, every single penny of sandy relief money should go to the families that i met time after time, people are still living in trailers. and yet, this governor, through the woman that headed the bidding committee, made the decision to choose the bid that was $2 million higher. the critical difference being that it featured chris christie and his family in the ad. now, i think that that was a misuse of the $2 million. i think it should have gone to the families that are living in trailers. and i raised that during the campaign. and i'm glad to see that the federal government is finally opened its eyes to that and will
conduct a full investigation. >> john wisniewski, let's turn to bridgegate, as it's now being termed. where do you think this is going to lead? there are suggestions today that no actual criminal law may have been broken. do you agree with that, or do you think that ultimately, there will be a legal case to answer in a criminal court? >> this is an abuse of power. and an attempt to cover up that abuse of power. we have a high-ranking official in the christie administration who used their personal e-mail account to direct that lanes on the george washington bridge be closed for the simple person of harming the town of ft. lee. no matter how you look at it, it's not a proper use of government resources to close lanes on a bridge for a political vendetta. and that's what happened here. so i take exception to any notion that no laws were broken. what we don't know are how many laws were broken and who broke them.
>> what is clear is that, at the moment, there is no smoking gun, which links chris christie directly what happened. albeit, we now know a large number of his own staff and friends of his in senior position at the port authority clearly were all in the know. do you think it stretches credulity that he knew absolutely nothing about this. or are you prepared at the moment to take him at his word, which is a very fulsome and extensive word of, i'm very sorry for what happened, but it had nothing to do with me. >> it's hard to believe the governor's statement. we have to put all of this in the context that this man was running for re-election against senator boneno at the time this happened. word went out from his office and went back to his office, all from people in his inner circle whose job it is to keep him apprised of situations that come up as governor and during the campaign. you have a letter from the port
authority saying laws were broken, and that was sent to among other people, his now new chief of staff. it's hard to imagine that they all saw this damning information, this questionable conduct, and nobody in this entire circle, who's paid to watch out for his best interests every raised the issue. it's not believable. >> not to mention the fact it's five weeks out in the political campaign. you're not going to tell your boss that someone is alleging that laws have been broken? it's absurd. >> exactly. >> but if you were in chris christie's position, and you obviously lost to chris christie. some people would say, you would say all of this, wouldn't you? because you want to embarrass him. which may or may not be the case, which may not be relative either. >> but i wouldn't use my power to punish political foes either. >> but you're making an assertion that has not yet been proven by the facts, in the sense that if you were being supportive to chris christie view. it is, look, clearly my staff here have behaved reprehensibly, but i didn't know that they had
done it. and there was nothing at the moment which contradicts it. now, i agree. if proven to have lied about that, then, clearly, i would say that he's toast, politically. but if he hasn't lied -- >> and that's why we're having the hearing. >> right, but if he hasn't lied, do you accept that in the end, he could actually emerge from this stronger than he started in the sense that he would have shown decisive leadership and fired the people who had credited the problem? >> no, quite the contrary. i think either -- the choices are not pretty. either he's lying, he's not being truthful, or he's incompetent. i mean, can you imagine if he was in the oval office, and let's just assume that he's telling the truth, and his closest allies went rogue on him and misused government power to the detriment, putting people's lives at risk. can you imagine the potential ramifications if he had been in the oval office? so, no, i don't think he comes out of this unscathed. and you know, chris christie has a reputation for being vindictive and for using the levers of power against his political opponents.
you know, there are incidents after incidents of this. and i could tell you during the political campaign, when i was trying to raise money, i would call people up, and they would say, you know what, i can't contribute above the $300 threshold, where it would be reported publicly, because i'm afraid if i'm on that list, this governor will seek retribution against me. >> okay. well, john wisniewski, what's interesting about this is that in new jersey, his approval rating has definitely taken a hit. so you now have an approval rating of 47%, compared to back in january when he was the most popular governor in history. but conversely, the national polls are not really moving. people really don't seem to care nationally about this. what do you think is going to happen with this investigation and, indeed, the political career of chris christie? >> piers, this is not about polls. we started looking at the efficiency and operations of the port authority in an important bistate agency. and the mismanagement and abuse of power has taken us right into
the governor's office. and as senator buono correctly pointed out, there are two options here. heater this is a man who is not in control of his own senior staff or he's not telling the truth. this is an important issue and the fact of the matter is that while we've been talking about this for probably two weeks, this governor strenuously and mockingly denied any involvement in this for months. and now it's come back that people in his office plotted it, used the apparatus of his office to try to cover it up. it's an abuse of power, it's a cover-up of the abuse of power, and this governor ought to be true to his words in his long apology and be very cooperative in making sure every document is turned over, so that my committee and the legislature can look at this thoroughly and decide for itself what his involvement was. look. there may not be direct involvement from him, but what it does show is a man not in
control of his own staff. he can't run a bridge, how does he want to run a country? >> john wisniewski, assemblyman from new jersey, thank you very much, barbara buono, thank you very much as well. we asked for some republicans to come on and defend chris christie, and still waiting for them to accept that invitation. if you want to come on today or tomorrow, we'll happily have you on. coming up next, why aren't members of christie's own party stepping up? battle on that, next. well ladies, now there's big news
having gone through this, i know that you've got to answer every question. you can't leave any question unanswered. i think that he can now move on, as long as another shoe doesn't drop. >> john mccain, pretty much hitting the nail on the head, as he often does. will another shoe drop or will chris christie come out of all of this unscathed? we're breaking down news tonight with cnn commentator, mark hill. also with me, the blaze, will air every show, dana, the exciting new program addresses everything from politics to pop culture. and political commentator and washington correspondent for the new yorker, ryan lizza. so all-star panel. let me start with you, mark lamont hill. pretty telling that we couldn't get anybody on the republican side of any eminence to come on here and defend chris christie. why won't day do that? >> because nobody wants to go on the record defending something that may ultimately be disproven in a week or two or four or six.
and that's essentially the problem. there are many people i have spoken to privately who say, they're open to the possibility that chris christie has essentially told the truth, but no one is entirely sold, i know, because there are too many questions marks. the biggest one being how can someone who runs such a tight ship in new jersey have something going on under his nose that he is entirely unaware of? >> ryan lizza, how damaging has this been to chris christie politically? i mean, let's go over these polls. because they are quite fascinating for the politics, both locally and nationally for him. the local one, monmouth university, january 10th through the 12th, favorable opinion on chris christie is now 44%, down from 70% in february. so a big drop there in his local popularity, with 89% of new jerseyans paying close attention to the scandal. and in the past few days, has your opinion changed, the vast
majority saying they haven't changed opinion. so not much movement there. but what does this say for his chances of surviving the scandal and, in fact, continuing to become possibly the republican nominee in 2016? >> well, look, what's taken a hit here is the chris christie that he wanted to present nationally. and look, right now the audience he really cares about, he cares about local new jersey audience, because he wants to get stuff done in new jersey the next few years. but he's starting to court the national republican audience. and the story he wanted to tell to them is, he's a different kind of republican that can
attract non-traditional voters and that even though new jersey has this reputation as, frankly, a state that's full of corrupt politicians, he's something different. he won two terms in that state by overcoming all of that, by changing how business worked in that state. and, obviously, what we're learning over the last week or so, is putting a pretty serious accident in that reputation. >> okay, dana lash, you tweeted this. you said you don't have to be a christie fan, and you're not, really. i think we know that from the start, to note the startling difference between handling a bridgegate and irs/nsa benghazi. do you think there's a double standard in the way the democrats are going after christie, given the way those three other scandals played out? >> well, i knew you couldn't quote me, piers. but to answer your question, yeah, i do think that there's a difference. and i wanted to add, too, to mark's point, which i actually agree with. i think there's a little bit of political retribution going on here with the republican party as well, after the early funding with hurricane sandy. but i do think there has been a double standard. i, myself, have asked many times. i wish that we could get more answers as to how involved the president was with the irs. when we knew that his top aides knew. when it went all the way up to the top. even the irs' chief council. when i asked that question, i'm attacked and other conservatives are attacked and their characters are maligned. i have the same question with chris christie. i, like the other two on this panel, don't think all the
questions have been answered. i still think there's more to come out. but when i ask that same question, what did christie know, when did he know it, i don't see any of that criticism. and bridgegate, in comparison to the things that we've seen with benghazi and first scandal and fast and furious, there was a lot more at stake with those other scandals. >> i think there's like a verbal tick among conservatives, that whenever you mention anything with a republican, they have to say benghazi. >> a verbal tick. you call four dead americans a verbal tick? >> no, no -- >> mark, let me say something. i think dana raises a perfectly relevant point. there is a hypocrisy there. having lived through these three other scandals that she cited, i do remember the way the democrats behaved over that. and now, suddenly, it looks like it's a different cite, even though you could argue that bridgegate is just as serious as the others. people's lives could have been lost there. it may be arguable that some of them were.
>> let me be clear so i'm not mischaracterizing. i'm not suggesting that four dead americans are unimportant. i'm suggesting that the connection between president obama and also the state department and those deaths are not the type of connection that people have alleged. that's the concern here. the irs -- it comes down to accountability, doesn't it? it comes down to accountability. >> if you're the boss, if you're the president or a governor, how accountable should you be -- >> you should know! >> -- for the actions of people working for you? >> you should know what's going on and you should also be responsible for the culture you create in that place. that's why i think it was important to critique hillary clinton in the state department. i think it was important to question barack obama with regard to the irs. but what's baffling to me is this idea that conservatives keep offering that somehow we won't talk about benghazi. all we ever talk about is benghazi. >> though, we don't. we're just now finding out. >> -- what about benghazi. >> mark, i have to disagree with that. we just found out that "the new
york times," apparently, had someone there on the ground and they were interviewing people who were apparently participating in the attack and that came out a year after this happened. and we're just now finding out. how long have eyewitnesss been held back by the state department? i think it's a perfectly legitimate valid to ask these questions, but yet we don't want to talk about that. so you can't say that we have talked about benghazi endlessly, because we haven't. we are still learning information about it. so, i think it's perfectly -- >> okay, let me bring in ryan. ryan, i want to ask you just about the other big thing that broke today on the christie story, which is that the feds are investigating whether he misused money raised from the sandy hurricane relief fund. i've got to say, i can't get too exorcised about this at the moment. am i right to see this as a bit of a side show or not? >> yeah, i think the question here is -- look, i've been talking to new jersey politicians all week, and the phrase that keeps coming up is new jersey is a pay-to-play state. and it's not like chris christie came in and reformed the whole system and changed that. to be a successful politician, a successful governor in new jersey, you have to master a lot of levers of power and you kind of have to live with the system
as it exists. and it's pay-to-play. so the question here is, did the firm that got this contract, did they get it because of their ties to chris christie? did the government officials who gave it to them, and there's some breaking news as i was just coming on here, new details about this coming out, did they award it to this one firm for reasons that weren't above board? that's the question. >> i don't buy it. honestly -- >> okay, dana, let me ask you this. as a conservative, many people on the right the share with the view of the left. that chris christie is bad news, because they blame him for stiffing mitt romney, by putting his arm around barack obama, after the hurricane itself. they also think he's, you know, probably too moderate for their liking. maybe he's too moderate for your liking. but many republicans also feel that he may have stood the best chance of actually winning a general election. what do you think his chances are now of winning the republican nomination and secondly, perhaps winning a general election, if it were against, say, hillary clinton? >> well, i know there are a lot of different stories going back and forth, of how he's polled against hillary clinton. i think it's way too early to say that for 2016. i know everybody's running a behind-the-scenes campaign, but ultimately, i think it depends on how this plays out and the investigation into those funds, i think that ryan brings u w w so there's som > comes out on chris christie lin brid could sti nominee? >> absolutely. i think that nothing else is going to come out. if nothing else -- excuse me, if nothing else comes out about bridgegate -- >> so yes from a mark. ryan, what about you? >> i absolutely agree with that.
that's right. if his statement at his press conference stands as 100% accurate, i think he'll be fine. >> okay. so, battered but maybe not beaten. and absolutely blasted the republican party, because they wanted to investigate why 25% of this relief funding was pork. you were having millions of dollars go towards areas that weren't in new jersey at all. alaskan fisheries and repairing the smithsonian institute roof. that had nothing to do with victims that needed money. and christie went out and blasted people. even michael bloomberg disagreed with chris christie on this point. so there's some ill will there. some republicans like him, some don't. >> okay, i've got to leave it there.
ryan, let me ask you, quickly. do you think, if no more dirt comes out on chris christie linking him directly to bridgegate, do you think that he could still be republican nominee? >> absolutely. i think that nothing else is going to come out. if nothing else -- excuse me, if nothing else comes out about bridgegate -- >> so yes from a mark. ryan, what about you? >> i absolutely agree with that. that's right. if his statement at his press conference stands as 100% accurate, i think he'll be fine. >> okay. so, battered but maybe not beaten. thank you all very much. when we come back, this very unauthorized biography that's rocking fox news on why roger ailes doesn't want you to read it. my prime-time exclusive with the author, gabriel sherman, that's next.
that's undoubtedly the direction of roger ailes, not just the man at the top of fox, but might be the man at the top of the republican party. but a new biography is making waves at fox, which is the competition. the book is "the loudest voice in the room," how the bombastic roger ailes built fox news and invaded the country. now a prime-time exclusive. gabe sherman, you've certainly rocked a a few boats and ruffled a few feathers with this book. are you surprised, or is it exactly what you expected? >> thanks for having me. anyone who's covered roger ailes knows he's the most combative man in the american media. and going into this, i knew it was going to be a very challenging reporting assignment, but i did not know how challenging it would be. it has been the toughest, most brutal reporting experience of my career. >> tell me, ways the point of the book? and why should we take roger ailes so seriously? why is he not just a very clever guy running a very successful cable news show, which actually
is watched by 3 million or say, 315 million americans. why put him on a pedestal of power? >> that's a great, fascinating question. and it gets to the heart of this book. the reason i reported this book is that roger ailes speaks to every single american, whether they watch fox or not. his ability to frame the news and drive a message is so powerful through fox that he is affecting every single news story, whether viewers watch fox or not. so it is of tremendous importance for viewers to understand who this man is and how he thinks. >> the weird sort of dichotomy, perhaps, of roger ailes, is that everyone knows him well, it certainly comes through in his book, believes that he's actually quite moderate and likes moderate conservatives, and yet he panders and encourages to more extreme tea party types and extreme members of the tea party, like sarah palin and others, because
they're good for viewers. is that a conflict, do you think, that he has? or does he just ignore that and get on with it? >> well, i would put it slightly differently. in fact, roger ailes' personal politics, as i report in the book, are actually very, quite extreme. but he's a brilliant political strategist. and he knows, throughout his career, that he has had to work through moderates to win elections. you know, his political hero is george h.w. bush. probably the gop's last great moderate. and so roger ailes is this brilliant political might not, where his politics are way out on the right. but to win, he works through con mentional establishment gop candidates. and that's a fundamental difference. and what we saw in the 2012 election, what broke down, is that fox's politics got so extreme, ailes' world view was dominating the screen, that it was a wave crashing over mitt romney, and he was not able to break out of that right-wing image that fox had created. and so, in fact, romney was a moderate establishment candidate, and yet, fox had painted him as a far-right candidate. and that was a break. that was a fundamental break
that we saw from ailes' career, because earlier in his career, he worked with moderates, he was able to advance the interests of moderates. and ultimately, his extreme ideas were in conflict. >> i used to his boss, rupert murdoch, on a british newspaper. and roger ailes, a very divisive character and very powerful. and his politics less extreme than people think he is, in many ways. that was from my personal dealings with him. but in terms of the position of fox now and the republican party, many think that roger ailes effectively runs the republican party, decides who they should put up to be their nominees and so on. is that true? and if he is so powerful, lily, how come he's effectively then lost the last two elections? >> that's a great point. roger ailes surpassed the gop. in the 2012 election, he said to his senior executives, we're going to have to do a lot to get this guy elected, meaning mitt
romney. and he said to bill kristol, the editor of the "weekly standard," and at the time, a fox news contributor, that he did not think that mitt romney had the spine to, quote, rip obama's face off. so ailes, through fox, took it upon himself to run mitt romney's media strategy. and what was fascinating was that really, for the first time in american history, a republican candidate's war room was being run out of the headquarters of a news channel. mitt romney's war room was being run out of sixth avenue in midtown manhattan. >> we're seeing not much coverage of the christie scandal since it broke on fox. certainly nothing like the coverage that we've seen on something like benghazi, for example. is that an example of roger ailes exercising his power to be protective to somebody he thinks the may well end up being the republican nominee? we know from your book that he favored chris christie or general petraeus, actually, before he was brought down by scandal over mitt romney, for instance. >> yes, this is fascinating. now, this shows at the heart how fox is a political messaging
organization. personally, roger ailes has no love for chris christie. on election day, in 2012, when it looked like romney was going to lose, ailes grumbled to his most senior team, thank you, chris christie. he blamed christie for the photo op that he gave barack obama with hurricane sandy. so now, personally, ailes and christie, no love there. but ailes is smart enough that he knows that he has to balance the rest of the media. now, someone very close to ailes that i quote in the book says that ailes' meaning of fair and balanced is that fox is a plans on the rest of the media. so ailes sees it as a political messaging device, that if the media is covering christie's bridgegate, it is fox's job to go in a different direction. similarly, with benghazi, this is a story that ailes thought was very important. he told people that, you know, obama hung these guys out to dry. so he saw it as fox's role. he told his executives that fox had to drive this story. so there you see that ailes is willing to put his personal
politics aside, him and christie have had a falling out, but he's helping him and protecting him for political purposes. >> let's take a short break, again, and come back and talk more about the book and what fox news is saying about you and the book. and also, the extraordinary stories in it, including one where roger ailes' father tells him to jump out of a bunk bed from the top and refuses to catch him and i'll tell you why he did that, after the break
a biography of roger ailes has fox news in turmoil. back now, gabriel sherman, author of "the loudest voice in the room" let's talk about the nature of what fox news has become. people say is it now a political entity masquerading as a news channel. is that a fair assessment? >> i think that's a fair assessment and that's what my reporting told me after 600 interviews. the nature of fox has the changed through the 17-plus years that the network has been in existence. the seeds of its political nature were there in the beginning. but in the early years of fox,
rupert murdock's original thought was a news post on cable news. now roger ailes who amassed power within the empire, he got more and more latitude to run the channel as he saw fit. and over the years some of the checks and balances on ailes' rule were release it and now it's just basically ailes' vision unfiltered and unplugged. we see the real unvarnished roger ailes and that's how the views have changed over the year. >> a statement says is it an agenda cottage industry attacking fox news. that is the charge you didn't submit the manuscript for them to fact check. how do you plead to that? >> i reached out to roger ailes more than a dozen times in
person and in writing. i travelled to meet him in over other states. he declined every request and it's roger ailes and fox news' decision not to engage with the book. i had a team of two professional fact checker vetting every word in the book. ultimately, fox news is the one that did not fact check the book. the book was strictly fact checked. the book has more than 100 pages of end notes. ultimately this is fox news' decision. >> there are incredible stories about roger ailes personally. the one i like the most which is the most motivating thing you can imagine. his father says to jump off the top of the bunk bed and he flings himself off and the father doesn't catch him and says now, learn the lesson, never trust anybody. when i read that, i was like, that is brutal.
>> is it a harrowing story and at the heart of the book is a human drama. this is a book about a man who has transformed america through the media. at the heart is a citizen kane like story. roger ailes grew up with middle class means and he has a story of rags to riches to the highest corridors of american power. >> is it possible to abhor what he stands for while admiring his success and ability to crush rivals? >> this book is a testament to his talent and genius. it is up to readers to decide his legacy but it's i hope this is a record of how he has changed the country. >> the book is called "the
loudest voice in the room" it's a fascinating book into a fascinating man. that's all for us tonight, i need proof of insurance. that's my geico digital insurance id card - gots all my pertinents on it and such. works for me. turn to the camera. ah, actually i think my eyes might ha... next! digital insurance id cards. just a tap away on the geico app. could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. everybody knows that. well, did you know that when a tree falls in the forest and no one's around, it does make a sound? ohhh...ugh. geico. little help here.
good evening, everyone. tonight, "360" investigates the strange disappearance and suspicious death of a young african-american man in texas. serious doubts being raised now about the investigation. also tonight, a major scare and screw-up in the skies. why pilots dropped this airliner on to a runway built for a cessna. they were lucky no one got hurt. the question is, why did it happen at all? and later, another alleged scammer accused of cashing in on the newtown shooting tragedy. he is missing. drew griffin is on his trail. we are "keeping them honest ode tonight. we begin with a investigation only on this program. it starts in rural texas with one family's serious questions surrounding a man's disappearance in november and the disco