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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 15, 2014 11:53pm-2:01am EST

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will the british wash their hands of afghanistan now? so what is the relationship? >> the answer is yes but there are elements that want to maintain a relationship. for example, britain has just set up a military academy to train the officer corps. that is a longstanding commitment. where british officers in the traitors go out to trade up a new generation of the afghan army and instill the kind of discipline and principles we would expect from a western army. whether this is the stage is
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the question. from the whole agreement two years ago the west provided to pay for the afghans but the absence of bilateral security really jeopardize is that. cars i has gone off on his own strange journey again. and i get the sense that the obama administration is almost exasperated by this it is not prepared to make any commitment beyond 2014. from my experience working in afghanistan i don't think that afghan army is yet ready to take complete control of security. they do a lot of good work at the moment because we're helping them to provide the helicopters, intelligence but without that public eye
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can see the whole thing falling apart very quickly just after they withdrew in '89 and i covered that. so long history of involvement with this part of the world. >> final question regarding the british defense counsel what is your view of the handling of the british defense spending? do you think it is significantly undercut through this late -- latest wave over the last couple of years? >> there certainly has been a lot of damage to our british military capabilities. although they have not said that, the british played a role in the libyan air
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campaign three years ago to get rid of gadaffi. added something happened to turn up to do something they would. but we are in no position at the moment to undertake the kind of enduring long term operations we have had over the past decade like iraq and afghanistan. but having said that, i see no politician willing to commit british forces in that way id earlier this year with the whole al qaeda thing blew up, it kept pointing out he was very proud of the way britain had handled libya. so the job was achieved. looking at libya today it is harder.
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but the saving is true with washington the appetite for committing the military to open-ended operations overseas is a difficult movement. >> host: day que very much. [applause] we do have copies of the book available for purchase and con coughlin will sign his book for you but thanks for coming today may look forward to welcoming you back to the fair -- to the rich foundation. [inaudible conversations]
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. . >> booktv is live from savannah, ga. home to the annual savannah book festival we will bring you several authors including mike redmond, lily cobble, scott bird, john rizzo and debra solomon. we kickoff live coverage of the savannah book festival with gabriel asherman, author of the loudest voice in the room.
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[inaudible conversations] >> good morning everyone. my name is allan and i'm happy to welcome you all to the seventh annual savannah book festival presented by georgia power and are lutheran church which is made possible by the generosity of fran and john kaine. many of you have rd attended our triptych special events with our opening a keynote addresses. today your work is cut out for you as you change -- choose which authors to visit from others that have written outstanding books in last year. we would like to extend thanks to her present and sponsored georgia power literati members and individual donors to make saturdaysaturday's free of them
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possible. if you would like to lend your support we welcome your donations to provide books for books buckets at the door as you exit. before we get started i have a couple of housekeeping notes. please take this moment to turn off your cell phones. i will demonstrate. [laughter] we would also ask that you please do not use flash photography. also immediately following this presentation mr. sherman will be signing festival purchase copies of his look at the book tent until fair square. please join me in thanking dr. john and stephanie dutton haberer for sponsoring gabriel's appearance here today. [applause] you made an excellent first choice for the 9:00 hour. gabriel sherman has stirred the
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pot with his controversial new biography "the loudest voice in the room" the inside story of how roger ailes and "fox news" remade american politics. gabriel sherman is a can and should beating editor of inert magazine and bernard l. schwartz fellow at the new america foundation. at new york magazine mr. sherman has report on cover stories media politics and business. previously sherman was the media reporter at the new york observer. he has appeared on cnn, "fox news", "msnbc," abc world news in national public radio. mr. sherman currently lives in new york city with his wife jennifer stolt. we would like to note he is the competitive marathon runner and we hope you will come backs for this event november 8. please welcome gabriel sherman. [applause]
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>> thank you to the savannah book festival for having me down to talk about my new book. it's a real treat if anyone has looked at a weather map over the last few days. really i would come down to leave new york for any reason but it's a treat to get down here to talk about my book so thank you for that. we can also thank delta airlines for losing my luggage on the way down which is why i am wearing a sweater and not a jacket which would probably more appropriate attire for such a nice venue. but we can also take -- thanked delta. anyways it's a great opportunity to be here. i spent the last three years working on this book. it's been the most challenging and inspiring part of my journalism career and i'm so excited to talk a bit about it. as a nice introduction mentioned i work it new york magazine.
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i cover media politics and business. i have covered media for a decade and i'm fascinated by how our largest media organizations the television networks, the big newspapers play such a role in our national politics and the big issues of our day. i have written stories about "the new york times," cnn, "msnbc" and rupert murdoch's media empire, the news corp.. in the whole range of those stories over the last decade there was no one story that was bigger than "fox news." it's a phenomenon that has changed both the way americans get their news and also the way our national politics works. as a business story it's also a fascinating story because "fox news" generates a billion dollars in profit. it generates more profit than all the other evening newscasts
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combined so you can think of the big three evening newscast -- newscasts on abc, nbc and abc. those three programs put together don't even equal "fox news" profits so as is the business story is unmatched. but the way to tell the story, three years ago i said i want to write it up about "fox news." i set out to write a history of the network that was launched in 1996. very early into that research i discovered that the way to tell that story, really the best way and ultimately the only way was through the life and career of roger ailes the creator of "fox news" and the chairman and ceo of the network and most people may be in this room did not know who roger ailes is. i know in the course of my research i would tell people what my book was about and they would say well who is roger ailes?
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it was such an opportunity as a reporter that i could introduce a man who has wielded such power and influence over american life and yet he remains unknown to so many people. the reason i chose to write this look through the life and career of roger ailes is because "fox news" is an expression of him. the entire network is an expression of his worldview and he runs it. his power is such that he runs it absolutely. everyone inside "fox news" takes their cues from ailes and in interviews he has said he has told "fox news" from his life experience so i set out to understand who he is and how ultimately he made "fox news" such a staggering success. i just want to talk briefly to sketch out who ailes is and then you can see how these formative experiences he has had in his
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life translated into such a success at fox. ultimately what my book is is a journey to understand what we all see on the screen when you turn on "fox news" and watch the famous personality sean hannity bill o'rielly and sarah palin and others. at i wanted to find out what happens behind the curtain and ultimately in the larger sweep of history where does "fox news" come from? is the biggest media story of the last 50 years. and so roger ailes is a man who has an american rags to riches story. he was warned in 1940 and warned all high zero. it's a factory town in northeast ohio. it was a symbol of post where of of -- post-war american prosperity. the factories are churning out cars and products. we all talked about people
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talked about how things were better back in the day but actually wore an ohio it's true. the city was the vibrant civic space. there were churches, newspapers, the factories through picnics and parties for all the workers. workers retired on generous pensions. it was the american dream. this was the world and to which roger ailes was born. his father was a factory foreman. he worked at the packard automotive plant. his father did not have a college education. so the themes that i learned i went back to warren and i went to archives and interviewed people who were in the town. i interviewed roger roger ailes brother and the theme that emerged from that experience were two things. actually more than two. one is a romance and nostalgia about america at its golden age. another thing was the incredible hardship that roger ailes knew
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as a boy. he was born a human of few yak and hemophilia in the 1940s was a serious medical condition. the average life expectancy for humane -- hemophiliac was 10 or 11 years old. his parents didn't even know he was going to make it out of childhood. the other theme that defined his childhood in addition to overcoming a disability was growing up in a household with a father who is a very volatile demanding man. he taught the boys lessons. he also was a violent man and it was that really painful childhood experience that gave roger ailes his will to succeed and to try and then to overcome and to ultimately dominate other tivo. fast-forward a little bit. he has his childhood that is marked by hardship and also a love affair with american history and culture growing up in a very proud time in america.
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fast-forward to the early 1960s. he graduates from ohio university and he takes a job at the tv station in cleveland ohio. we all today think of tv is being done in new york and hollywood and los angeles but in the 1960s tv was booming all over america and in cleveland ohio there was a new daytime variety show called the mic douglas show. ailes gets a job as a gopher. he makes 16 bucks a week as a low-level producer. this is the experience that really is something that translates into the success of fox because on the show he learned that television is about entertainment. television is about drama and spectacle. daytime television was about connecting with an audience, the entertainers of the day came through. it was a place where it ailes
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learned that television is about appealing to people's emotions. the mic douglas show was also a place where it was in the middle of the beginning of the cult cultural tumult in the 1960s in the mic douglas show was clearly on the excited of the existing old culture. it was a conservative place and again this is the environment that he absorbed with many of these ideas. so one of the things that my book shows is how roger ailes life brings together the two worlds of television and politics. now it seems like everyone, it's common knowledge that to be a national politician whether you are a democrat or a republican you have to be a compelling television performer. sarah palin speech in 2008 at
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the republican convention was a knockout homerun that introduce her to the american people and she became an overnight sensation and a celebrity. back in the 1960s this was a new concept using television to appeal to the american people was a new idea. roger ailes was really the kind of wonder kid, the person who figured it out and unlock the secrets of how to use television. he almost was like if you think now in our modern world facebook and the internet this new technology. in the 1960s one of the producers i interviewed talked about television almost like the facebook of its day. in 1968 roger ailes has this fateful encounter with richard nixon that changed american political history and changed american television history. it was on the side of "the mike douglas show" where ailes featured richard nixon and nixon
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lost the 1960 presidential election to john at kennedy and part as he had such a disappointing performance during the televised presidential debates. it was a first-time presidential debates were televised and richard nixon had the wrong makeup. he wore a gray suit with a gray background and maybe you can blame delta iv that. he had the wrong wardrobe and so he appeared almost ghostlike on the screen next to john kennedy who was tanned and he looked like a movie star. fast-forward 1968 richard nixon is running for president again and the one thing he has to do to win the presidency is to win television and this medium that brought about his political downfall earlier in his career. he meets ailes on the set of the mike douglas show and he's carousing backstage. he says it's a shame a man like me has to use it you make to get elected in this legend goes he
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snapped back if you talk that way you're going to lose again. richard nixon was so taken with this young 27-year-old producer this rash kid to talk back to him that he told in his campaign advisers would hire him. within days roger ailes had had no blue expanse. he was involved in the young republican club. the people i interviewed did not talk about him being that politically active. he found himself on the richard nixon campaign in the crucial role of producing his televised town hall debates, his town hall appearances all over america. richard nixon as we know went on to win the presidency. that experience also made roger ailes and overnight star in the political world. it's ironic that roger ailes the conservative icon in a certain sense owes his career to a liberal. in 1968 but journalists from
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philadelphia named joe macinnes was traveling around writing about the way nixon was using television to provide his political career. he wrote a landmark book that i recommend everyone in addition to reading might look called the selling of the president. it's a fascinating look, a behind-the-scenes machinations of how the television consultants helped introduce them to the american people. that book was a bestseller and a total sensation of its time. roger ailes was the most vivid character in the book. he was profane, he was rash. you was making fun of nixon. it's remarkable when you think a of 27 or 28-year-old kid would be quoted in a book making fun of the future president of the united states but there is roger ailes. the book comes out and makes it ailes a star. ultimately cost him his job. the sub 10 never got hired at
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the nixon white house. he never made it into the inner circle in part because nixon and nixon's handlers were so upset about the book but what it did is it made sub 10 a star political consultant and they wanted to hire him to do for them what he had done for nixon. sub basically he moved to new york city sets up shop and becomes a political consultant. he offers his services coaching and producer to republican candidates all over america. so you start to see the building blocks of "fox news" and ailes understands about drama and understands daytime tv is about keeping an audience engaged and then you see how he marries that was nixon and uses those techniques to tell up political story. i want to just sort of jump through a couple more things because i'm trying to show you that fox's the culmination of
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ailes's life. he gets jobs as a political consultant but the other thing he does is he tries to fulfill a childhood dream which is to work work -- he was a childhood that her. he acted in college plays so he moves to new york and in addition to being a political consultant he works as a broadway theater producer. this is another fascinating moment of his life as again we all associate roger ailes with being a conservative icon. he is the man who put sarah palin on tv. he is the man who runs the television network that is the strongest voice for conservative ideas in america but in the early 1970s when he was a theater producer some of this was as friends were liberal artists, people who had been blacked with that in the 1950s under mccarthy. people who were at their fists
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members on the american left and really what i think this shows is that roger ailes is this larger-than-life charismatic figure who will forge the somite he relationships because he is interested in amassing power but he's interested in how the world works and how media works and in the 1970s the media and the theater was controlled largely by liberals and that did not deter ailes so that's a testament to his ability to forge these might be relationships for what he learned was again the idea that performance is about drama and performances about spectacle and to keep people engaged in need to bring back theatricality to productions. his work as a theater producer ultimately did not lead to a runaway career. he produced several productions one of which was critically acclaimed. it was probably his biggest hit
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but it didn't really for him. so by the 1980s he decides he's going to get out of show business in and theater and that is the deck where he becomes the preeminent clinical consultant of his generation. he was the man who worked for ronald reagan. senators like mitch mcconnell, phil gramm and culminated in 1988 with his work for george h.w. bush. he helped to make george h.w. bush the first sitting vice president to hold onto the vice presidency since martin van buren which was by all accounts a stunning achievement. what ailes does was he revolutionized american politics in the 1980s because he brought that show business savvy and those entertainment values to his work as a political consultant. he made some of the most memorable attack ads that still today are taught in the campaign schools.
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one of his ads which i want to sort of highlight two of them that showcase the thing that i think defines him as a clinical strategist which is his use of humor. because now with "the daily show" and, wilson -- comedy central and rush limbaugh on talk radio these guys are entertainers but it's common knowledge now but again in the early to mid-1980s the use of humor wasn't so widespread and ailes was better at it than anyone so in 1984 mitch mcconnell was running for a senate seat in kentucky. he was a longshot. the seat was occupy by a good old voice who had been in the seat for years, a democrat named dee huddleston and mitch mcconnell was running on trying to appeal to the young professional class is a new voice in politics. it was an uphill battle and everyone thought he was going to lose.
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ailes created an ad that made fun of this idea that dee huddleston was traveling around the country giving speeches that wasn't looking out for the people back in his home state very at he got a pack of hound dogs in an ad called the hound dog at. he filmed these dogs running around looking for dee huddleston. it was quoted in newspapers endlessly. it became a total sensation. it was this idea that he huddleston was missing and ailes had to track them down. mitch mcconnell has been in the senate seat ever since. the other ad that i want to highlight which showcases ailes 's humor showcases his work for h.w. bush. michael dukakis was up by double digits during the meat of the campaign.
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what ailes did was he poked fun at dukakis and made him seem unelectable. the way he did it was and i think you may all remember the ad of dukakis riding around in a tank wearing a helmet. it is one of these old adage is where you never want to be photographed in a funny hat. ailes knew that most people would get that. if you are going to be in public don't wear a funny hat that there is michael dukakis riding around in a tank looking like snoopy and a helmet. he make this ad that shows dukakis riding in a tank and ultimately the ad was trying to show the dukakis was weak on foreign policy but the message and the words didn't really matter. what mattered was that indelible image of dukakis looking ridiculous in the helmet. it was that kind of image of dukakis not appealing to a lot of the majority of americans that really resonated and stuck. as we know which went on to win.
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so fast-forward, it's the end of the 80s and sub tenants had this incredible run as the strategist of his generation. his attack ads were devastating and help dismember his client's opponent but he never lost that love for television so he wanted to get back in the television. in the early 1990s he decided to get out of politics and goes to work for nbc as the president of cnbc business news channel. this is a time when cable television is really starting to explode a cause for much of the 1980s cable television was still kind of a novel thing. cnn had started at the number of channels was limited and many americans didn't look to cable news to get their news. at the early 90s cable news was starting to thrive in ailes again. he spent two years at nbc. roger ailes as a tv producer and
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a political strategist he worked in these environments where there were no clear-cut rules. you would bring him to a large public company like nbc with his hierarchies and all of its different rules it was a very different environment. he starts feuding with executives and it's a very conflict ridden time in his career. ultimately handed that was boome
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wasn't a television news network that spoke to that audience. so ale's sort of started it at the perfect moment. it seems in hindsight but in 1996 it was really unclear fox was going to work. but ailes had the most incredible luck because two years after starting fox in 1998 bill clinton handed him an bill clinton handed him an incredible gift which is the monica lewinsky scandal. i would be curious to hear from some people in this room but in going out and talking to people around the country one of the things i would ask them is when was the first time he started watching "fox news"? one of the most common answers is okay during the clinton
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scandals in the late 90s. this is a testament to ailes genius because he totally transformed fox's lineup. he added shows a moot bill o'rielly who was struggling in his 6:00 p.m. broadcast to an 8:00 p.m. timeslot when many americans were at home after dinner and wanted to catch up on headlines. a riley exploded and became this national voice who was outraged at clinton's failings and that is when fox took up the reins and bill o'rielly's audience jumped by 400%. it was the use of storytelling to appeal to people and the clinton scandal was an epic story. in that moment continued and recounted the coverage of 9/11 and terrorism to the iraq war. "fox news" built in audience through ailes unparalleled use of storytelling techniques and
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his use of theatricality. fox is the most entertaining resource. so these were the building blocks that he brought that he used to build fox. it was crucial for me as a reporter and a writer to understand that because there has been so much written about fox. it's one of the most widely covered organizations but what i wanted to do and what the book tried to do was explain how did it work? how did this happen? how did this phenomenon get created so that is why it went on this journey to see ailes, see how ailes career translated into that success. the other thing my book attempted to do which is that "fox news" is one of the most polarizing institutions in american life. everyone has an opinion about it that but they don't have up until now are a lot of facts about how it works on the inside. this book was a journey into a
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secretive world that tried to show how this organization works, how roger ailes works and how ultimately it has influenced america. it was a challenge for me as a reporter because as i said at the beginning and my talk i have covered "the new york times" and covered cnn and nbc, "msnbc" and i approached the story with the exact same interests in trying to write about an institution. i love the way institutions work. in addition to writing about the media i write about large organizations whether wall street bank or a political figure. i love how the secretive worlds function and there are the unspoken rules and all the cultural idiosyncridiosyncr asies that exists inside of these institutiinstituti institutions. "fox news" is no different. it's a fascinating world. this book was a journey inside that world.
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roger ailes as anyone who has read the book knows is an incredibly combative and as the title of my book says a bombastic person. so this book really was the most challenging assignment of my journalism career. i was the subject of attacks on conservative web sites. roger ailes discourage people from speaking to me and really this is one of the reasons why the book took three years to report and to write as i had to go out and talk to everybody and build this measured and detailed portrait of a man and an institution that it played such a large role in our national politics. ultimately i think i delivered. i think this book is a testament to ailes' brilliance and his volatility. he is just a charismatic larger-than-life figure.
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people who don't follow the media when i talk to them about my book one of the analogies i make is in a certain sense he is similar to a steve jobs figure. a very different man obviously and obviously in politics but what jobs and ailes have is a charisma that shapes an institution in their image and they also figured out how to make their products appeal to people. it apples iphones and ipads appeal to millions of people in the same way a ailes figured out how cable television news can appeal to millions of people who didn't perhaps think they would be captivated by it. and so he is an american icon and i think decades in years from now and people look at how cable television, how television generally cable television specifically influenced national politics the man they are going to need to understand is roger ailes and that with the goal of
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my book was. i wanted to thank you for giving me a chance to speak to you and i would love to take some questions from anyone who has them. [applause] >> that was wonderful. thank you. first of all i'm trying to get past the thought of mitch mcconnell being responsible for anything funny but my question is this spectacular and polarizing nature of fox obviously creates audiences. it creates great television but does he care about what he has done to the country, what he
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does to the country with those hugely slanted stories that are shot down by other object of news sources? >> thank you for the question and i think one of the things that i was really captivated by it in reporting this book is ailes as a character. he hasn't mentioned as a charismatic figure and one of the things that my book shows is how he sees himself, he speaks of himself and fox as preserving a certain vision of america so to your point does he care? i think what i found so interesting is that he talks about fox giving his voice to the segment of america that felt left behind by the culture, the millions of people who felt that the media was not speaking for them in the whole idea of fair and balanced. this is the kind of genius and what makes fox so interesting is
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that the fair and balanced slogan will go down i think in advertising circles as one of the most savvy marketing slogans of all time. while ailes tells his audience they are getting both sides in this is sort of the key point, the true nature of foxes that it gives a balance. it's for roger ailes to help balance the rest of the media. he talks about "fox news" being the balance of the rest of the media. and so i think what he would say is that he is trying to balance out the rest of the media and that is the purpose of fox. he sees himself as almost an talks of himself as a freedom fighter and this is why he's so interested. he casts himself in these grandiose terms. i don't think he thinks of it in terms of the questioners point
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about is the slanting the news. i think he speaks of himself as crusading to advance his vision of america. >> what the to think of "the new yorker" last month with the comparison to william randolph hearst? >> well that was a very interesting essay about my book that i think is inaccurate reading of my book. we could be here all day talking about ailes' eccentricities and what make him a character but the two essays of the book i want to touch on is ailes's desire to control stories and he did it on behalf of his republican clients. he does it on behalf of the news business and fox as a way that he can control news agenda in america bottle the story he
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wants to control the most is his own. after i was at work on my book for about a year i heard from someone i interviewed that there was another ailes book in the works and i was sort of surprised because i thought my book is a roger ailes book and i didn't know that there was another one in the pipeline. it turned out that roger ailes had teamed up with the journalists who had written a glowing biography of rush limbaugh. this book was fast-tracked. he raised it out in me came out last february. it's an interesting companion to my book because you can read them and it's like a fun house mirror about how little they actually line up. what they showed was ailes, the way people told it is he couldn't stand the idea that i was interviewing hundreds of people. i was consulting archives and reading private letters and trying to build this historical record of his life and career. he wanted to control his own
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story by working with a rider that would need more amenable to his desire for control. what "the new yorker" essay touched on was the same historical parallel to hearst because hearst hated the idea that the media would define his legacy, that journalists would ultimately help shape his legacy hearst commissioned a sympathetic but graffiti and in a very similar fashion so i think both in ailes' desire to control his own story there are these kind of fascinating historical echoes of hearst and i was really captivated that "the new yorker" talked about that in their essay. >> i have heard you interviewed a couple of times and i would like you to share with the audience the story about the blondes because i think the blondes show exact way what fox
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is and also on a hopeful note, it if you told the story about the demographics and the fact that his audience is dying which i think is great. [laughter] >> i will get to both. the second that might deal little bit morbid for 9:00 in the morning but we are in church so we are okay. so to the question about his female anchors and the beautiful blondes that ailes casts almost in a hitchcock fashion, that is again it point that hearkens back to show business career. that is part of the building blocks of fox that ailes use of show business techniques and one of the techniques is that you casts beautiful people for television. what i found two interesting as a reporter is how explicitly the
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use of beautiful women figured into the way fox works. there's an episode in the book where i recount how during one of the newscasts the desk that the anchors were using, there were papers on the set and ailes was watching the television and called down to the control booth and screamed at the producer, tell the anchors to move the papers because we can't see her legs. he literally wants his women to be physically beautiful and attractive. he wants them to show off on the screen because that is what fox' audience which is often a male audience, wants to see or at least ailes thinks that they want to see. to the point about the demographics this is something i get into at the end of the book because my book is this epic journey from ailes' childhood to the present and places the rise
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and eventual fall into that. ed: . fox's audience tends to get older and older. the median age of the fox viewers the late 60's. ailes understands how to produce television for that demographic but what he is shown a weakness for is producing television that kenneth appealed to younger viewers and ultimately move beyond television because we are at the dawn of the next media age which will be defined by social media and whatever comes next. they don't experiment with new technology the way other media organizations do. the real question for the future of fox and that style of politics is what happens when that audience continues to get older and older. and ultimately what happens to fox news because roger ailes turned 74 this may.
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one of the most common questions i ask people interview is what is going to happen next? who is next in line? is there someone who is a show business visionary like ailes that can appeal to the audience the way he has? the question -- the answer they came back was essentially nobody knows. roger ailes has yet to name a successor. he says he has one but its secret so i think the big question mark is can fox appealed to younger younger demographic and also what happens to "fox news" if roger ailes leaves the stage? >> i think you may have just answered my question but frank wrote it column a few weeks ago saying that the power fox and roger ailes is definitely waning. so if you could comment on that. >> it's connected and i read that piece as well. it's really a compelling
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argument and my book covers a lot of that ground. the end of my book talks about the 2012 presidential election which really showcase the limits of fox's power. roger ailes told his inner circle in a meeting before the 2012 election he declared i want to elect the next president. he had said about making fox the voice of the opposition. he wanted to stop barack obama's agenda. he had told, roger ailes told his inner circle that obama was destroying america and it was ailes job to fight back and preserve the vision of america that he knew as a boy. ailes said about help the republican party tried to defeat obama. but what they did is because the
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type of programming that ailes puts on the screen at fox is a very populist angry divisive kind of politics it ended up harming the very goals that he set out to achieve. mitt romney who throughout his political career as the governor of massachusetts was essentially a moderate republican but to win the nomination, to get to the republican nomination he had two-quart roger ailes and i show in the book what happens if you cross roger ailes and i just want to talk about what happens if you don't get on board with the "fox news" agenda. john huntsman the former governor of utah was also running for the republican nomination in 2012 when he was running on a campaign that was trying to run on a moderate message not an appeal to republican primary voter but tried to appeal to the general election voter. he came to new york city to see roger ailes when he was in the
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early stage of this campaign. john hudson had steak doubts a unique physician in the republican party a being vocally supportive of efforts to curb climate change and at least acknowledge the scientific evidence is pretty solid that the climate is changing and humans are causing it. roger ailes -- john huntsman comes to new york to have a meeting with roger ailes and it does not go well. roger ailes essentially says why are you talking about this climate change staff? it is a hoax and basically buries him for having an ailes view a progressive position. john huntsman got only about four hours of screen time at fox compared to a candidate let's say herman cain who took very conservative positions 999 and all that stuff and wanted to build a fence at the border very
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conservative positions. he got more than 10 hours of airtime on fox during the primary. their campaigns were essentially essentially -- lasted for the same amount of time. that shows you if you are not on board with fox ailes will limit the amount of time you can get on his channel and therefore you're going to be in front of republican voters for shorter period of time and it will damage her real the t. to win a contested primary. romney fast-forward to the general election very much campaigned on the "fox news" style message and was ultimately that style of politics that turned off many voters in the year when many political analysts would say it was a tossup. republicans had a very clear shot to win. my book the pointed ends on is politics and television are very different things. what makes great compelling television and entertaining television is oftentimes not a winning political message.
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in that sense i regard roger ailes as a tragic character because he is out there crusading for his beliefs and he's trying to help the party he has devoted his professional life to serving, the republican party. ultimately fox is damaging the republican party so he is bringing about an outcome that is not of his interest even though he is out there everyday working for it. i write in the book with a little bit of sadness because he has devoted his life to this cause and now the future does not look so bright for him. >> good morning. this is exactly what i thought you were going to look like create so thank you. and also to hear these questions you think the body politic in savannah georgia was overwhelmingly liver of.
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it ain't so. you are getting the wrong picture and i'm a liberal. i want to talk a little bit about mr. sherman about mr. sherman. he to me is the hero of the book he is the only one of all the characters who really stood up to roger ailes. i didn't expect it and also i have to say in interviews i don't think that any of those people read your vote because i was totally surprised at the objectivity and admiration i thought that you had for roger ailes. it was a wonderful story from seeing both sides of the picture even though some of it is not very prudent and i love the way you did that. in regards to the early 19 -- i thought that when roger ailes and fox tried to get in the new york market and were shutout by
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time warner that was a brilliant time for him because he started started -- headed straight to the midwest is kind of people and if anything that was i thought the key time in his successful, the success of fox. he was able to come back later and get new york but in most times without new york he was dead. i have worked for guys like roger ailes and some of the things you say they are all true, brilliant, strong, paranoid and i mean really paranoid. >> one of the quotes i love is roger ailes paranoia is essential to his character. even rupert murdoch tells his executives that ailes is paranoid. when someone confronts ailes about it he makes a joke. i love what he says, roger you are here annoyed. he says i'm still here aren't i? paranoia while taken to extremes
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can cause problems it has been one of the things that has fueled his career and is what makes him such a fierce competitor is that the leaf that enemies are out there trying to plot against him but he uses that as a fuel for his drive. >> you might talk a little bit about as housing garrison. i think that is fascinating. this is my last point grade i just wanted to say if anybody hasn't read it is a great read and if you are old like me you will have to stay up and lose sleep so thank you. >> that's very kind, thank you. since you asked about his home in garrison i will talk briefly about it. it's one of a favorite sections of the book. it's towards the end of the book i write about roger ailes' adventures in a small town in upstate new york. he bought a weekend home, he built a scrolling mansion on the
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hillside with the most beautiful view of west point. one of the other themes that i talk to is roger ailes long-time love of the military and is hemophilia kept it out of it created you wanted to serve in the military but he was kept out. he builds his vacation home overlooking the military academy and gives him panoramic views. in 2008 he and his wife by a small-town newspaper as sort of a hobby site project. what i love about this story is that roger ailes in a microcosm you see how he uses media to create political conflict on a small scale in a small town. i don't know what the newspapernewspaper s like here in savannah but in this town of only about 10,000 residents the name of the town is philipstown. roger ailes looks in a hamlet
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called garrison. the political tension has simmered at all low-level and people have had differences of opinion on things like schools zoning and taxes. roger ailes buys this newspaper and almost overnight the town il conflict. the conservatives think that progressives are trying to turn it into a commune in the progressives think they conservatconservat ives are trying to turn it into a tea party state. and so the town is split in conflict because the newspapers are covering issues in a very aggressive and polarizing way. and so roger ailes becomes this kind of bogeyman around town especially to the liberal residents and to fast-forward to the line about his house he builds this mansion and one of the things roger ailes is concerned about is his physical safety. he travels with a bodyguard.
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he travels by suv in his office at "fox news" is behind in arms locked security door. he has this mansion and builds a security bunker under it. i know out in the country panic rooms are popular but this is the panic room on steroids. it's described as almost an underground complex with different rooms in a food supply for six months. i love this detail because it's something that is straight out of the movie. roger ailes is the next centric figure and when he talks about fearing for his physical safety because he is such a conservative icon he actually acts on it and it builds these very elaborate, takes these elaborate steps to protect himself. ailes had told someone i interviewed in the look that he trained his german shepherd named champ to patrol his property so every time they arrived at the vacation house they let the dog out first.
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the dog is trained to control the perimeter and report back when it's safe to get out and they all get out of the car. someday i will have to adopt these measures myself, we will see. >> you may have spoken about this a little let i think it's very clear that fox is a cult of personality built around -- and those things have a shelf life. they don't last forever and i remember years ago the beginning of the moral majority. everyone is terrified in wondering what was going to happen. i had a two-hour lunch with him and i found him to be astonished with brilliant, charismatic, polite arrogant and therefore very frightening because he had a lot of power. all of a sudden this man with so much power just imploded. ailes is old and he runs fox
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from his own personality. the ratings are slipping and the demographics are leaving so it seems to me even though it has done huge things and some people say damage and some people say good things for the country it does seem that it's very dependent on one man and his vision and even if he names a successor it is his baby and that must be odd to think it could disappear. i mean it really could change drastically with this illness, death or retirement or however. >> it's a very smart observation because the way i explain the culture of fox in the book again is that it all revolves around him and we talked about this a bit earlier. if you take them out of the picture is a giant russian market about what happens next and i think that's the best answer i give people.
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it's this question mark as i don't want to predict the future. there could be another roger ailes waiting in the wings although no one knows who that is but the most likely outcome is that it can exist in its present form without him. i just real quickly want to tell folks how it works. the way fox's program does that roger ailes has a morning news media that takes place at 8:00 every morning and the monologues about the news and associates about what is right in the headlines and what he thinks about it and his top guys, all of his top producers sit there observing those ideas and then go out throughout the day those messages filter out to the channel. if you take ailes out of the picture you don't have the driving force, that driving ideology. none of his top producers have the charisma and ultimately the brilliance to kind of scripts the storyline that will work.
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i as a writer would be fascinated to see in the years to come what happens to fox if ailes is no longer running it if it will continue. >> you were never able to get an interview with ailes and i wonder if you would talk about that is such a major omission. >> yes, of course. it wasn't for a lack of trying. i contacted ailes in person and in writing more than a dozen times in the course of my research. i wanted to sit down with him and i offer to discuss every fact in the book. he repeatedly declined. ultimately i see that as a reflection of him. i found it very revealing because while he may not have intended it, it showed me that a was so focused on trying to control his story because i wouldn't put any -- i said i wanted to talk to
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everybody and i wanted to pull measurement and account of the life and career. i wasn't going to make the book contingent on that and to the point of how i can go forward as a reporter one of the amazing things about being a reporter in america is that you don't need to ask permission to write things. what we need to be reporters is to be fair and to be accurate so while roger ailes did not agree to cooperate with the book i made sure that i went out and i told the story that was rigorously reported in fact check. i had it team of professionals that checkers that spent more than 2000 hours betting every work in the book, the people interviewed, consulting documents ,-com,-com ma secondary sources and it's interesting to point out that fox is not challenged any specifics in the book. they have issued a couple of general denials that they have not challenged any of the
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reporting because it's accurate. just on a final point to your question about how could i go forward without his cooperation, by that standard that would completely nullify the entire nature of the historic biography. we wouldn't have biographies of thomas jefferson or any of the iconic americans who have played a role in our national life rated i felt that roger ailes has played such a big role in culture that now is the time to have a reported biography of his life and i wasn't going to wait for his permission. the fact that he is still alive does not change the standards by which reporters and writers can go out and rigorously researched a subject and whether the subject cooperates or not does not change my responsibility to getting the facts right. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. >> gabriel sherman everybody. [applause] >> if you would like to meet mr. sherman in person and have him sign your book please allow him to quick weight exit the church that he may head to the author signing tent in the middle of telfair squared. thank you. [inaudible conversations] that was gabriel sherman talking about roger ailes and "fox news." we will be back with more shortly.
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>> we are not in a post-feminist
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era. i'm very concerned about the quote war on women. we are growing back access to reproductive rights. there is no and to the regrettable statistics on violence against women. we have not stopped shaming girls about their bodies. we have so much sexism in the media which implies you have to have a certain shape to be loved or popular. the problem in defining feminism is it is true that what unifies a lot of women globally is what is done to women and i don't want to identify feminism as about victimhood. that's a very important critique you don't want victim feminism. .. but there is so much work to do and globally at the statistics are frightening in terms of the lack of access everything from
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education to health and information about their options. our live coverage of the savanna book festival will continue in just a few minutes. >> i was more political than religious. but i feel like before 9/11 i would call us accidental muslims because i think that many of us
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are perhaps of a certain religion through an accident of birth and i think what 9/11 did them and i'm not alone in that way i think it did that too many american muslims a sort of forces you to grapple with the notion of what it means to be american islam after 9/11 was on trial. and every pundit and on tv was an expert suddenly and you were told that you c when is muslims and i thought if being musli shet something that we are as a family because of sort of industrial loyalty then why put
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him through that challenge? and that begins this journey. >> so they blew up two beautiful buildings in our city, our state and our country. what is the impact on you living a comfortable life in manhattan would impact does that have on you and what do you think of those people? >> the audience barely gets to hear from people like you what you tell us what you think of these terrorists and how they have affected your life lacks first they affect the lives of people they took away. from my own personal perspecti perspective, those lost in the terror in that day it is
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compounded by another challenge by virtue of calling ourselves muslim we were guilty by association is said that was difficult. and as a mother even more so as you grapple with trying to make sense of it all. her first day at school was the morning of 9/11, the first official day of kindergarten and i read about this in the book where i packed a miniature her aunt and her backpack as a kind of protect my daughter thing. >> at uthat's like a christian
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carrying a cross. >> and it was a big oversized backpack with a teeny tiny koran. and i remember thinking that what i packed so lovingly in my daughter's backpack was being used to wreak the havoc and the hate and distraction and the jokes to the -- juxtaposition was mindnumbing and confusing at a very access control level and at the parenting level so the journey has been for me turning my religion and understanding the issues and.
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when you have stereotypes out there. there's a lot of people shying away from celebrating in the office. >> and that is a natural reaction. it's a difficult journey. by taking my children along on this journey and insisting that we take them along as we learn together and slowly they have chosen to self identify as muslims, and i think that by
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doing that they can hold america accountable to its higher ideals as they can hold islam accountable. it can be agents of change for a better world. you are looking at the inside of the lutheran church. the site of this year's savannah festival. more coverage in a couple minutes
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i would say that i am working from nine to three. those that say they are writing for seven hours a day are exaggerating.
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you can't. because the edges of your imagination starts to blur after i would say that this case about three hours. but even when you are writing a nonfiction book you may be put putting three good hours and then the rest of it is research, looking at e-mails, making another cup of coffee, that sort of thing. fiction usually begins with a theme for me. identity, fame, things like that. but the whole process picks up steam when i start to ground some of my thoughts in a character who will become the protagonist and that character becomes sharper and sharper to
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me. it is because it leaves a piece of yourself behind. say that you are blogging the fruit or 20s and almost no one reads it but almost 20 years from then you will have children and you can show them what you wrote and they will understand things about you that they might not understand otherwise. i always say that writing, even in its most basic form, a letter or poem or a note to someone we have all had experience of loving someone and of losing them as opening a drawer and finding a card design or letter they wrote into thinking still alive in some way. any regrets about anything that you've written?
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>> i think regrets are things i like to think i am a good columnist get out before she publishes. in other words you spend a fair amount of time at the computer backstopping yourself. when you are writing about your family constantly coming and even when you are writing about event part of your brain is thinking how will this feel in ten years and how equivocal do i want to be about certain things so i think you do a lot of -- is more taking the long view. and because of that i don't have any regrets about anything i pretend. >> any advice for writers? guess, don't wait for inspiration. i don't know where she is, but she's not coming or at least she's not coming here.
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occasionally there is a flyby and then she's gone again and it's all just about hard work. the hard work part doesn't largely consist of thinking about it. people say i'm thinking about writing a book and know what ever gets written by thinking about it. at some point you just have to sit down whether you feel like it or not. people think if you're going to write well it must be because you wake up in the morning and your heart sings. mine doesn't because i constantly think it isn't going to be good into takes at least an hour before i think here i go. if you wait for that moment to come before you sit down, you won't do it.
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now from the annual savannah book festival. mike ritland describes his experiences with elite navy seals k9. >> good morning. i am happy to welcome you to the seventh annual savannah book festival presented by georgia power an ended to the new venuet the lutheran church of ascension, which is made possible by the generosity of john and fran came. many of you have already attended our special addresses. today your work is cut out for you as you choose which offers
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to visit during this day that offers renowned writers that have published outstanding books in the last year. we would like to extend a thanks to our special sponsor georgia power, the individual donors that makes saturday's festival events possible. if you would like to lend your support, we welcome your donations and have provided yellow bucks for book sbuckets. please take this moment to turn off your cell phones. [laughter] also, we ask that you please do not use flash photography. and immediately following the presentation, he will be signing festival purchased copies of the book tend. please join me in thanking the
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appearance here today. [applause] mike ritland, the author of "trident k9 warriors" is a former navy seal who trains selected blogs for training missions. his memoir is an exciting account of highly trained dogs, their extraordinary loyalty, courage and lifesaving role they play in the military missions. he'd crew up in waterloo iowa and joined the navy in 1996. it was during combat deployment in iraq that he saw military dogs in action and he knew he found his calling. he served active duty before finding the international where he is the trainer that served in the department of homeland security, u.s. customs, border patrol and the department of
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defense. mike ritland also founded the warrior dog foundation for nonprofit special operations retirement foundation. please welcome mike ritland. [applause] >> good morning. first i would like to thank the savanna that festival for having me here. i think what they are doing is a marvelous thing and it gives a lot of access to venues like this to be able to talk about what they do and what they are passionate about. so first and foremost i would like to thank them for bringing me here and everybody that is sitting out here for taking interest in what it is that i do in the book i wrote into the message i like to convey in terms of the importance of
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military working dogs and of the things they are capable of without your support. this wouldn't happen to think you for supporting me in the book. as it relates to the working dogs i grew up in northern iowa and there isn't a lot to do. there's farming and hunting. so it was kind of a i wouldn't say a destiny as picking one of the things there are to do so i got involved with bird dogs. we had a black lab growing up that i talked about in the book and kind of the gateway into the dog world.
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but at a very early age i recognized and appreciated the traits that all of them possessed in terms of their ability to use their nose into their steadfastness in terms of what they were willing to go through from an environmental standpoint bursting through brush and thorns and they were just motivated to do the type of work that we were asking them to do. they would use the wind to their advantage and would find things that for me was very surprising and it was kind of a foreshadowing in terms of what i do now and where it led me ultimately, and that fascination for them to use their nose is frankly why they are so valuable
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from the military standpoint. i didn't realize at that age to me it was just cool to see a dog in the dead of winter because he would've buried his nose told him just to the snow and find a ketchup packets that had been buried six weeks before. it was neat to see something like that and obviously the applications that i got involved with later on. i spent a number of years with friends and the dogs would go out and we would do dog or bird hunting of some sort and i just always marveled at their ability to do what they did. once i graduated from high school, i joined the navy and a 17 right out of high school as soon as i graduate i went to boot camp. six months after boot camp after my initial training i went in to the basic underwater demolition
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training. i completed that and after that i worked through more specialized training until you get to an actual seal team, and i was there for a number of years. while i was there and prior to that i got involved in hunting dogs etc. which i talk about in the book of hope, and again i found myself marveling at the physical characteristics that they possess but now there was an added element in that there was a natural attrition that they possess towards other animals and i found myself impressed by their tenacity and will to succeed and to win and take down animals two or three or four times their size. it was at that point that i got
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into the animal husbandry aspect of the dogs where i paid really close to nutrition and conditioning from a veterinary aspect i learned a lot after they would get injured etc. and i just learned just about every aspect of raising dogs from an animal husbandry standpoint the same way a dairy farmer would. and i started to get into the genetic theory of bloodlines and how they affect the different aspects of a breeding program and why it's important to pay attention getting into the weeds as far as breathing is concerned. after that i got more and more involved in every aspect of managing and i have a number of dogs in which i bred and raised
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and trained for working purposes and in iraq deployment there was a marine detachment of headache single explosive purposed attention dog and what he did was he essentially alerted on a complex there was a small doorway not much bigger than one person could get through at a time. the dog was going back and forth with changing behavior you could tell he was onto the targe on tt odor and it maybe if we write inside the doorway he sat down and stared which is the indication that there is an explosive odor present. upon close inspection of the doorway there was a clump of grenades attached to a booby trap right inside the doorway. for me without question that was my life such moment in terms of really realizing the potential
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of these dogs and the role that they were able to play in augmenting mankind overseas in the battlefield and from that day forward i was starved for knowledge in terms of working dogs as it relates to military and police type of work. i found it very fitting and powerful. it's one of the things i mention in the book is from the earliest reported times of the battle, there is one constant in terms of what we still use even today. we have billions if not trillions of dollars invested in smart bombs and drones and laserguided everything and any omissions and explosives. from the earliest recorded times when man battled each other
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there is a constant and that is the use of canines even as far back as egypt is concerned they used dogs to augment themselves in battle. and to me it really speaks to just a truism of man's best friend not only are they great pets and companions but they are also dogs that could save our lives and we literally depend on them to help keep us safe in a number of capacities. when i was finished with my time i moved onto an instructor role in to the nice thing about that is it gave me a little bit of a break from an operational standpoint i was able to get into the weeds of job training as it relates to military work. i trained with a number of different clubs and groups and units and organizations etc. that gave me a well-rounded
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perspective of what dogs did and how they did it, all the different multitudes of ways that they were incorporated into the military service and there's truly the sky is the limit in talladega. i realized very quickly and the only thing that limited us as human beings but we could do was if we looked at it from a training perspective and put our minds to it there is almost nothing we could do with these dogs. it was eye-opening to me the level of capability and capacity. as i transitioned to get ready to get out of the navy is when the regular seal team started implementing their own k9
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program. it's frustrating from a military standpoint and has a special operator that all the programs were used before in the special warfare communities back in that he there was a number of units that used them. they got to where and they knew how to train the dogs and get them where they need to be and like a lot of programs that are expensive and from a building standpoint they are hard to maintain and when the budget cuts come, programs like that are one of the first things to go because they are labor-intensive and expensive. there wasn't a single operations unit that still used canines from the end of vietnam until post-9/11. with few exceptions where
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military police and handlers with augment the different units for certain capacities, there was no self-sufficient entities in terms of canine programs. canine programs are no different than a police unit, special operations group, military branch and that it's not a light switch type of application. you can't turn it off and 20 years later say let's get them back going, flip the light switch on and now you are a unit that operates in the same capacity that you did before you turned it off. no different than a special operations unit. you can't expand the operations after the military conflict is over and then ten years later something happened and put them back on. it doesn't happen that way. after 9/11 it has become very apparent that with all of the work that we were doing in afghanistan and then later on in iraq the military working dogs were something that were of enormous value.
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first they started using military police dogs trying to incorporate them in that capacity that they were limited in terms of the ability of the dogs because they are not special operations and so there can be a conflict in terms of dynamic nature that you can operate. when each unit to figur securedt they needed their own program each one devised their own program and because each group, whether it is rangers were green berets or special warfare or any of the other counterterrorism units out there is a different mission where each group really needs its own program. it's all run in-house. it isn't a part of the program. they are all self-sufficient from the ground up with each prospective unit.
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it's something that from the big picture standpoint i think it's hard for a lot of people to understand why there is such a difference puts kind of the nature and the beast and that the level they operate freely dictate each group has its own program. it was a stumbling process at first for a number of groups because unlike any other tool coming in to use the word tool not in a disrespectful manner but in the fact that they are a remarkable and incredibly valuable tool that we use to help augment us and stay safe overseas and in that it is just like anything else you have to learn how to use it properly. dogs unlike any other thing used to get weused to get a weapon s, night vision vehicles, whatever platform you want to apply are pretty cut and dry.
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it's usually a piece of mechanical equipment from having used other similar pieces of it and. when you get to the dog is this a completely different animal than a pun intended. but it is being able to truly understand what the dog is communicating with and from his body language is something that takes years to develop. it takes an enormous amount of experience from both the volume standpoint and the disparity between different blogs because they are all individuals the same way you and i are. they have different characteristics and traits into past life experiences that forge and dictate how they respond to certain scenarios and until you have experienced these different environments it is difficult to understand what he is feeling and thinking and how he is going
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to respond. the only way that you can manage and dictate how they respond is to first understand where he's coming from and then also use our body language to communicate back what is expected of them and that transfers to pet dogs, any type of working dog in that animals are almost overwhelmingly nonverbal communicators and so it is our job to be able to communicate back to them what it is that we expect of them. you have to reinforce the behavior to get it to occur again and it's really that simple, but to teach somebody that it's not a weekend course or three-day seminar. it's years of experience. and so there were a lot of lessons learned the hard way, dogs not doing what they needed to be doing, going overseas with them and then not performing up
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to par what we needed them to do it was a very steep learning curve and a lot of the handlers and trainers and other operators for that matter were drinking from the firehose in terms of what they were learning. once the bugs began to get worked out, there was a very fluid operational capacity that dogs now played. most of the operators had been overseas and operated before and knew what to expect. the dogs had been operating for several years and everything was getting hammered out and started to transition very smoothly and now it got to the point where every unit has multiple dogs and they are doing a fantastic job with them, be it parachuted or any number of high-level
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different missions in the environments that we operate with them and the guys that operate within its remarkable and it speaks to the versatility of dogs in general in terms of what you can get them to do. moving forward, i was at a crossroads personally. at the end of 2,008 i could either stay in the navy and become one of the handlers early on and become a part of the program or i could separate from the navy and start my own company and try to have a larger impact in terms of training, supplying the different scenarios and training courses for the military and it was a tough decision for me personally. it's one that from a selfish standpoint if i'm looking at it just selfishly i wanted to stay
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and be a handler. it was a very tough decision for me to make instead of getting that one-on-one time and doing the dance with them and they did try to make a bigger impact to get out and form a company and provide a multitude of services and ultimately and obviously that is what i ended up doing. it was important and dear to my heart to make as big a difference as i could. no different than when i joined the navy to the reason i went into the team is because i wanted to make the largest impact i could. i have always kind of taken that train of thought with everything i've done as that is going to make the biggest impact and thus far it has worked out pretty well. but it was still a difficult decision for me to say i'm going to forgo what i want to do personally and i'm going to to transmit a larger impact and do
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thtodo that greater good for the entire community. i started my own company. we did a lot for a host of different clients and in a number of different capacities. some of them are going into drug dog programs for the border patrol and some of them were going into the land security for airports to and some of them are going to the department of defense for military work and i realized very quickly that again this is something the level of impact they can and act in the role they play is much bigger than me or anyone person and that's why there are a multitude of people like me that do the exact same thing. there's a number of vendors and companies that provide similar services. a few years and we secured the training contract for a special operations unit.
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myself and one other employee went out and we were trainers for a period of time and for me i would say that was kind of the best of everything for me in that i have put several years into the company and now i was back to where i owned the company that was providing the trainers and dogs and training for the same group by group a thing and it's something i will always be very proud of and just tickled to death to have been part of because they put everything together for me. once i decided to write the book i was essentially approached by my publisher to write it and one of the reasons was the amount of information or misinformation or lack of information that has been out there as it relates to military dogs especially in special operations groups there
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is a ton of misinformation out there and there's also a lot of just american citizens that have no ideas that the dogs are used at a minimum in the capacity that they are. it can't be overstated how important they are. there are literally tens of thousands of american troops who are here today because of dogs like these. and it just -- for me it's important that it was and still is important and everybody realizes that so for me it was a tough decision to write the book because of the amount of exposure that it gives. the guys like me are not typically ones that want to be in the spotlight and want people to know who they are or what they do or what they have done. so again i was kind of at a crossroads and not do i stay keeping the low-profile just providing the work or does it
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make sense to put a highlight on these blogs and make the entire public understand just how vital and important they are and how lifesaving they are and again it would have been easier to just keep doing what i was doing and that none of you would be sitting here and no one would know who i am. but again, when i look back at post-vietnam programs getting turned off or here in the next year or two when things are rounded down to the point where from a penny pinch her standpoint it doesn't make sense to keep these expensive k9 program, i hope, and michael is that there is enough interest and passion behind the general public to keep these programs going because they are so vital. once i decided to write about it is largely been a great experience for me in terms of
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the feedback that i've gotten and the questions i get asked and got e-mails and messages i get from people that say i have absolutely no idea that the dogs were used to the way they are and people are just behind. they are excited about it and they support it. from the time i started with dogs and providing all these dogs from day number one, it was always on the front side essentially and i put a lot into providing job training services etc.. one of the things i realized very quickly was that on the back and, there wasn't much of a support structure and there was essentially none as it relates to special operations working dogs. once they are done whether it be from combat injuries, combat stress-related mental issues or just old age just like the guys
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like m me gets get to a certaind can't do the job they are doing at the level we need to anymore it is time to write out of the e pastor and go do something else and dogs are the same way. what i realized is that there are not any support structures for those dogs and it honestly happened by accident and that there was a unit that approached me and said we have to dogs both of them have been wounded and are almost nine years. it's time for them to retire. we don't have the capacity to do what we need to do with them. a lot of people when they hear that are angered by that and let me clarify that one thing you have to realize about any operational unit is that their job is first and foremost is to be operationally ready at the highest level possible. while nobody wants to know that there'there is not a place for e dogs to go, which there is, but i think a lot of people assume i
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don't have the units take care and the reason why is because if it detracts from being operationally ready because we are taking the care of the dogs and we can't get the resources necessary to train and equip the existing dogs than that is one of those necessary evils and a conflict of interest etc. where you have to make the right decision for those that are going down range all the time and put the resources into the actual operators. where i came in they said we need a place for them to go and i wasn't really set up to accommodate that but given the circumstances there is nowhere for them to go we need somebody to take them. that was almost four years ago now and we've been doing it ever since. we have an actual foundation that organized into ten nonprofit that rehabilitates or if that isn't possible to act as
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a sanctuary essentially for them to live out their years in an environment where they are not asked to do anything. they can be a dog. our place is in texas and it's a great facility in terms of it is on 20 acres and it's surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of pastures and wooded areas where we let them just unwind and get to be dogs whether it is being chasing cows were running through the lord's having a blast playing ball, going for rides etc.. ideally we'd like to rehabilitate them if necessary and home then. sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn't. one of the questions i get asked frequently is due dogs get ptsd and the answer in short is yes. it's different in that dogs are simple association animals. they don't have the ability to reason the way people do.
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and so more so than ptsd it is essentially a negative association with different types of experiences that they've had overseas via to gunfire or helicopters, fire crackers, you name it. there are certain things they've been exposed to and have had enough negative experiences that they associate that with that you see issues and problems when they are exposed to those types of things. sometimes it can be something as simple as being in a crate or loading up into a vehicle or trailer. there's a host of things you can see the dogs both have issues with the nice thing about a dog is that generally speaking, you can't unwind the process in two simple ways. number 100 don't ask the dog to do anything. you don't put pressure on him to be obedient. you don't send him to do any of the complicated maneuvers or
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training scenarios he has done in the past and you just do the things we know as all the people what they like which is throwing balls into taking them for walks, letting them run around without any obedience tasks being given to them. that's first and foremost. once you let them unwind a little bit, then we find out what it is the negative association is and then we very slowly bridged that gap and say okay we will use gunfire for an example. gunfire is a defaults to the aggression where he is fighting anybody that he can when he hears gunfire which is not an uncommon thing. so now we are going to desensitize into it where there will be gunfire 2,000 yards away while we are playing ball and then it thousand, then 500. and once you get enough repetitions of positive associations with these things that previously they had negative associations with, you
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can't unwind and essentially untrained those negative reinforcers with a dog. so we found while some of them may not be of the temperament and the capacity to be home with an average family, they are now no longer a danger to everybody around them and themselves, and from a mental stability standpoint they are much more relaxed and calm and confident dogs. so for me it is something i hold very dear to my heart because as a special of -- special operations guy trading but that after vietnam versus now begin the polar opposite, i feel it is every bit as important to do the same thing for these dogs because they are no less of an operator than any of us special
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operations or any military member for that matter as they play just as big a role as anybody does. one of the things that's also important i think for everybody to understand is the level of respect and care that is given to these dogs if they are wounded and when they are retired if they are killed and an action it mirrors the human counterpart. when they are lost or injured, they are lifelike it if need be and stabilized wherever they need to be and then they come back here for more advanced rehabilitation type therapy. they are the exact same way. a lot of people unfortunately have the idea that if a dog is injured or wounded they are disposable we will put and down and move on to the next one.
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i assure you with 100% guarantee it's nowhere near that. some of the dogs i've retired have been shocked and essentially blown up in explosions and they were sent out from a stabilized, wi-fi why flighted, rehabilitated for months to be able to retire them. so for me it's important that everybody understands, you know, not only do they play that enormous role, but the level of respect and care that is given to them is no different than their human counterparts. on a more grave note, the same thing with if they are lost. the special operations command generally have memorials set up where they will have humane names on one side and k9 names on the other side. and it's like this. it's not in balance at all. we are a team and they are
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considered operators just like the rest of us and so again it's important for me to relay that to you. i would like to finish before i open up for questions you know, again, going back to the importance of these dogs i can't speak from personal experience that i am standing here because one of these dogs saved my life. what i can tell you is i have dozens of friends if not in the hundreds it's impossible to quantify because if a dog comes onto an explosive device and finds that it's there, how do you determine how many, that's impossible. but there are a ton of people from a fellow american citizens and our service members who volunteered to get their hands dirty that are standing here
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today because these dogs have been trained and equipped and managed effectively into these canine programs and its something that i hope as a nation we not only never forget, but also that we move forward and be steadfast in our allocation of funds and resources across the spectrum. as things wind down overseas to a certain extent, things are focused on a little heavier back here and there would be an enormous success and victory for any unit that can find a place to use dogs for their safety to implement the program and use them because they are phenomenal at what they do.
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i can't thank you enough for being here. before i get into the q-and-a, one thing i want to bring up is as far as any questions that you want to ask, historically speaking i found people are afraid to ask the questions in terms of how do you justify sending dogs that there is absolutely nothing off limits. to me if you have a tough question or you think it's tough fire it away because my job and my goal is to relay information so you don't have to ask -- you can ask me whatever question you want. it can be as simple as what kind of food do you feed or sleep in terms of theoretical discussion as you want to get. but i encourage anybody to take that and run with it because i -- that's what i'm here for and i'm happy to answer to whatever
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degree i can from an operational standpoint there are things i can't and won't answer, but if it is something i can answer, i'm happy to do it. so moving forward, are there any questions? >> yes. >> [inaudible] >> that's a question -- for those that couldn't hear is what breed or three do you prefer. the answer is i prefer the breed of dog that passes my selection test. having said that, the dutch shepherd and a german shepherd are the only three in my experience that have passed my selection test. i don't have a preference for any of those three. use the military and police work now there are more and more dutch shepherd's being used and again it's not a preference, it's the fact that for a number of reasons, which i want to believe her or get into, there
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is a higher prevalence for those dogs testing the unit selection criteria. >> are you involved with training service dogs? the question was am i involved in the training of service dogs for veterans with ptsd. right now the answer is no. there are a number of groups i've been introduced to and have spoken with in the last 18 months or so that do that and i would love to get to the point where we have an involvement in some capacity. i will see the type of dog that is going to be a good personal protection or military dog etc. is usually not in the same category as a dog that is good
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for a fellow soldier with ptsd. there are two different missions in terms of how the dogs perform with their temperament and character trait but obviously it's a very important thing and we are taking it one step at a time doing the providing and retiring. it's not to beat a dead horse but it's a whole different animal. anybody else? >> do the enemies target the dogs and how do they view that whole issue? >> they do. here's the short answer to what our enemies do. they target everything we have. they don't use any discretion in prioritizing necessarily. if we have something whether it is a truck, weapons truck,
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convoy, group of soldiers patrolling they are going to target. is there anything that we have is a target. yes. >> i came in a little late so i apologize if you addressed this. i have a friend that is very active in all of these now. he feels that the training of the dogs has not kept up with the technology in the military, and i wonder do you agree with that and has it changed dramatically from vietnam to malpractice >> the short answer is yes and no. the interesting thing about dog training is that it's just like any other aspect. it depends on which unit is conducting the training. some are incredibly productive in the use of the commissioning and employing all four quadrants in the reinforcement quadrant
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and using the body language and reinforcement training. some units are still very old-school and much more compulsive than their training methods. so in some respects, yes absolutely there are some that are doing it t the same way they were in vietnam and some are doing it on a much higher level and capacity to. >> i would like to thank you for your service and the dogs that you train. [applause] with depending wind down in the far east, what are the implications for us maintaining some programs and not have what happened in vietnam and what implications does that have for your company because obviously
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if they switch off, what do you do? and finally how many do you process in the retirement? >> to speak to the first part of the question of the conflicts internationally winding down and how it impacts us is very simply alternately it shouldn't come as no different than bringing the troops home from anywhere we shouldn't say let's cut the military and half for the reasons i depicted earlier it is imperative that we keep a level of maintenance at the capacity that we are working now. it can be tricky because there is a bare minimum of infrastructure trainers and facilities and training area equipment etc. but has to be maintained whether it is 30 dogs
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or one dog. i'm hopeful that given the success record of these dogs they won't turn the light switch off and i see a falling back to the bare minimum to maintain the capability, but instead of having 30 dogs, you have four or five which is how i see is panning out. ..
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and unequivocally at the end of the study, the use of k9 knowledge was above any piece of man-made equipment and the interesting thing about a dog's nose is a use of dogs period, it is not just their nose that is valuable. their ability to apprehend people and be as mobile as they are and the possession of the ming general lacked as an enormous deterrent for a lot of police forces and military units. they are getting a lot of bang for your buck with a dog's nose. >> you have already mentioned
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the nose part, the main selection criteria. what a the other main selection criteria you use to choose the dogs to train and how do you go about doing that? how do you decide which one is better equipped than another one? >> basically we have a end product that is our ideal and we work backwards from that. to give you the four or five most basic different kind of sections, i guess, that i look for, i look for confidence first and foremost. i want to see a dog that walked around like he owns the place no matter where he is, interact with me very confident we. he is social, is paying attention to me, not defaulting to aggression towards me just because i am a stranger in close to him but a happy medium. the don't want him to be aggressive. don't want to be shy or aloof with me either. so he has to be confident and he


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