Janet Maslin didn’t much care for Gabriel Sherman’s critical biography of Roger Ailes. In her review of “The Loudest Voice in the Room” for the New York Times on Sunday, Maslin was sympathetic to Ailes and argued that Sherman’s tome was hollow. But what Maslin didn’t note is her decades-long friendship with an Ailes employee.
Gawker’s J.K. Trotter reported Wednesday on Maslin’s close bond with Peter Boyer, the former Newsweek reporter who joined Fox News as an editor in 2012. In a statement provided to Gawker, a Times spokeswoman dismissed the idea that the relationship posed a conflict of interest.
“Janet Maslin has been friends with Peter Boyer since the 1980’s when they worked together at The Times,” the spokeswoman said. “Her review of Gabe Sherman’s book was written independent of that fact.”
Boyer actually appears in Sherman’s book.
The author detailed Boyer’s reporting on a 2011 story for the New Yorker about Ailes’s acquisition of the Putnam County News & Recorder, a weekly newspaper in Cold Spring, N.Y. that became a right-wing propaganda vehicle under the Fox News chief. Boyer’s profile pleased Ailes, but Sherman noted that residents of Cold Spring — many of whom were unsettled by Ailes’s radical transformation of the paper — “felt Boyer got spun.” Nearly two years later, Ailes hailed Boyer’s arrival at the conservative cable news empire.
“I have followed Peter’s work throughout his storied career. He’s a talented and insightful journalist who will add weight and depth to our investigative reporting,” Ailes said in a press release.
TPM asked Sherman this week about Maslin’s review, which also focused on the author’s inability to land an interview with Ailes.
“By [Maslin’s] standard, we wouldn’t have biographies of Thomas Jefferson if that was your standard to write a deep portrait of a consequential figure,” Sherman told TPM.