Pick Of The Week: The Loudest Voice
The Loudest Voice is a seven part docudrama chronicling the life, career and downfall of FOX News CEO, Roger Ailes. Starring Russell Crowe, the show presents an eviscerating expose of one man’s largess, and is a brutal reminder that history is selective and increasingly being written by the better story spinner.
The Loudest Voice is a seven part docudrama chronicling the life, career and downfall of American television executive and media consultant, Roger Ailes. Ailes was a former Republican media strategist who was hired by Rupert Murdoch in 1995 to establish Fox News, a primarily right wing channel which adopted the motto of “fair and balanced” news in an attempt to preserve and give voice to conservative sentiments in the country. He was eventually fired from his position as CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations in 2016 for his involvement in multiple sexual harassment cases with over 20 known victims.
Russell Crowe in one of his finest roles yet, plays the brilliant but predatory 60 year old Ailes, who in a TRP driven system can afford to be manipulative and is rewarded for gaslighting his way into becoming one of the most powerful men in America. The show starts off by CNN firing Ailes due to the sexual allegations internally piling up against him. Conveniently enough that is not the end of Ailes’ career. Instead he lands up with a network of his own, where he can ask female employees to not just twirl for him but also meet with him in fancy hotel rooms, all the while holding their careers ransom.
Ailes is portrayed as a Machiavellian at heart. He understands the pulse of the American population better than anyone else but seeks glory by toying with human emotions, employing sensationalism and fear mongering as his able sidekicks. He doesn’t think twice before releasing gory, first hand footage of the 9/11 attacks onto Prime Time news when people are not yet emotionally ready to consume nor knowledgeable enough to make sense of the facts. He buys out a local newspaper because he knows he is powerful enough to dictate the way a community thinks. Preying on the psychology of capable but vulnerable women, Ailes represents the type of male entitlement that the #metoo campaign pursued and raged against. But Ailes is also behind the boundary-pushing, cruel wit that to this day makes Fox News so watchable for so many, introducing the idea that television news can be more than edifying, it can be entertaining.
In its seven part structure, the docudrama takes audiences through two decades of American media politics, viewed from the conservative lens. Based on the biographical book by American journalist Gabriel Sherman 'The Loudest Voice in the Room,' the show presents its audience not just with an eviscerating expose of one man’s largess, but also perspective on the enabling complicity of multiple societal systems.
Most often than not, popular media - whether entertainment or news - fails to accurately represent the aftermath of harassment. We felt The Loudest Voice too fell prey, wrapping up the dramatic end of the Roger Ailes story in a fact based epilogue. On the credit roll, be prepared to feel awestruck, infuriated and left with a restless dread that the lack of a complete ending to his tale means there is more to come. This show is a brutal reminder that history is selective and increasingly being written by the better story spinner. Working with brilliant actors like Russel Crowe, Naomi Watts, Sienna Miller, Seth Macfarlane as a smooth Brian Lewis and Annabelle Wallis as a terrified Laurie Luhn, in 'The Loudest Voice' creators Tom McCarthy and Alex Metcalf have on their storyboards, a powerful and essential contender for a “fair and balanced” spin on the narrative of today’s world.
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