Fox News sources are firing back against both Brian Lewis, the recently-fired Fox News executive vice president of communications widely reported to be Fox News chief Roger Ailes’s right-hand man, and Gabriel Sherman, a New York magazine contributing editor and the author of The Loudest Voice in the Room, a forthcoming book about Mr. Ailes and the rise of Fox News.
Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Mr. Lewis was hammering out details of a separation agreement with the network after he was “fired and escorted from his office last month over what insiders are calling financial issues and other performance problems.”
Fox News confirmed the story, adding that he was terminated for cause on July 25. “After an extensive internal investigation of Brian Lewis’ conduct by Fox News, it was determined that he should be terminated for cause, specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract,” a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.
Mr. Sherman weighed in on the news in a NY Mag blog post, where he summarized how Mr. Lewis’s one-time influence on Mr. Ailes had waned of late. As evidence, Mr. Sherman recounted a 2012 conversation he had with Mr. Lewis in which the communications executive explained that he disagreed with his boss over suing Fox News mole Joe Muto, who wrote about the network for Gawker (and then got a book deal).
But maybe Mr. Lewis had one too many conversations with Mr. Sherman. “Sources with knowledge of the situation” told Politico’s Dylan Byers that Mr. Ailes suspected Mr. Lewis of leaking intel to Mr. Sherman. And that may have at least contributed to the breach of contract that cost Mr. Lewis his job.
And maybe, contrary to what Mr. Sherman (and many other reporters) seemed to think, Mr. Lewis wasn’t even that high up anyway.
“[Mr.] Lewis and Gabriel Sherman are the only two who believe that Lewis was actually the right-hand man to Roger Ailes,” a senior Fox executive told Mediaite.
The blog post explains that “[Mr.] Sherman’s the author of an upcoming book on [Mr.] Ailes that will likely contain a majority of negative anecdotes” and the author got a lot of his information from talking to Mr. Lewis.
“If Gabe Sherman’s book comes from the mind of Brian Lewis, it’ll be fiction,” the Mediaite source said.
There you have it. Brian Lewis, who was suspected of being a main source for a book that Fox News is already upset about (even though it hasn’t been released yet and the publication date, which was supposed to be in May, has been postponed until January 2014, according to Amazon), is also an untrustworthy source who wasn’t as highly placed as he claimed. And most negative details in said book are a result of talking to Mr. Lewis.
Now that’s how you discredit something! Looks like Fox News is doing just fine without its head of communications.