‘The Loudest Voice’ Makes A Powerful Statement About The Media’s Influence On Politics

You’ll recognise Stan’s new drama series The Loudest Voice as the project that Aussie legend Russell Crowe packed on the kilos for but what you might not know is the real life story that inspired the show.

Based on Gabriel Sherman’s biography, The Loudest Voice in the RoomThe Loudest Voice follows the life of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes (Crowe) from the underhanded methods he employed to form the 24-hour news network to being accused of sexual assault in 2016 to his eventual death.

The series has attracted a lot of buzz for its stellar cast including another Aussie legend Naomi Watts as journalist Gretchen Carlson (the first woman to accuse Ailes of sexual misconduct), Sienna Miller as Beth Ailes as well as Family Guy mastermind Seth MacFarlane, who plays former PR exec Brian Lewis.

Russell Crowe as Roger Ailes

One of the biggest takeaways from the series is its commentary on the influence the media has on politics both back then and in the present day, particularly in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

Fox News was built on the foundation of pushing Ailes’ political agenda onto the American public to sway their way of thinking and ultimately, how they would vote.

Alex Metcalf, the showrunner for the series, recently revealed that the intention of the series is to spotlight the media’s hold over the public’s political views.

“We’re so clear about the agenda,” Metcalf told The Wrap. “We don’t shy away from showing Roger fostering and pushing his agenda, while recognising that there was an audience that would pay for that.”

“Roger was very clear about his ideological sensibilities with his people and with his organisation and in his world. Roger didn’t mince words when he spoke about politics, when he spoke about what he wanted to do, when he spoke about what he wanted to put on the air.”

Seth MacFarlane as PR exec Brian Lewis

A former media consultant to U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, the series documents how Ailes reshaped America’s cable news by honing in on a targeted demo, conservatives, as a means of manipulating politics.

“We need to program directly to the viewer who is predisposed to buying what we’re trying to sell,” he tells News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch (Simon McBurney). “In politics, it’s called turning out the base.”

As the series unfolds, you’ll see his plan worked, leading Fox News to become a powerful vehicle in the driver of conservative voters.

The episodes detail the ways in which Ailes pushed his political agenda, aided by his network of followers, including personal assistant Judy Laterza (Aleksa Palladino) and PR exec Brian Lewis (MacFarlane).

For example, he uses Fox News to further George Bush’s administration’s post 9/11 and during the 2008 election, he incites racially-charged stories about the Obamas.

The purpose of the series is to show how top dog media men like Ailes have shaped the U.S. political climate throughout history and continue to do so.

“Roger, being a political man who comes out of the sharp-elbowed political campaign world who then runs a news network with a clear conservative sensibility, had an agenda,” Metcalf insists.

Ailes’ tyranny ultimately comes to an end when Gretchen Carlson (Watts) files a sexual harassment suit against Ailes, leading several other women to do so.

Naomi Watts as journalist Gretchen Carlson

The release of the series in the wake of the Me Too movement is a particularly poignant one, especially considering Carlson voiced her claims in 2016, a year before the movement picked up steam.

In the years following Carlson’s accusations, numerous Hollywood heavyweights have been taken to task for abusing their power over the women who work for them.

Carlson’s sexual harassment claims forced the network’s parent company to oust Ailes and sparked loads of similar accusations regarding internal culture at media companies.

But despite his fall from grace and eventual death in 2017, Ailes still has a powerful hand in American politics as Fox News remains one of America’s highest-rated news platforms.

The premiere episode airs on Monday, the same day as the U.S., with new eps dropping weekly, only on Stan.

Suss out the trailer below: