Who advised the White House adviser on the fight with Fox News?

By Chris Ariens 

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Where to begin?

There’s a lot in Gabriel Sherman‘s 6,000-word New York magazine cover story on Fox News, specifically its chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. There’s what led up to Glenn Beck’s departure; the dinner Ailes hosted at his upstate manse attended by Gov. Chris Christie and Rush Limbaugh; or the former Fox News producer who, in 2008, was pulled off the air for her coverage of VP nominee Sarah Palin. Her report wasn’t “Fair & Balanced.”

But we’ll begin with former Fox News executive, David Rhodes, who is now president of CBS News and the battle touched off by former White House operative Anita Dunn, when in October 2009 she remarked, “Let’s not pretend they’re a news network.”

Rhodes, who had left Fox to run Bloomberg TV, told Dunn the White House was making a mistake in attacking Fox. “You guys have this all wrong,” Rhodes told Dunn. “Everything you’re doing is anticipating that they’re somewhere having a meeting which is like, ‘What if Beck says something that embarrasses us?’ That’s an NBC meeting. They have eight guys in suits in a conference room, and you’re playing this like an NBC meeting. Now, let me tell you what a Fox meeting is: A

Fox meeting is, ‘Boy, he’s really emotional. Now he’s tearing up. What if he gets really emotional and doesn’t do the show and we don’t get the ratings, what are we going to do?’ ”

Still, both sides walked away claiming victory. “[Ailes] is great at making the mainstream press feel guilty about their liberal bias,” Dunn later told me. “Fox had taken on a thought-leader role in the national press corps. What we could influence was the way everyone else looks at Fox. Frankly, that’s the real problem.”

How does Sherman know so much about Fox News? He’s writing the upcoming, The Loudest Voice in the Room, an inside account of the rise of Fox News.