The accuracy of a claim that had generated significant chatter in liberal circles regarding Fox News boss Roger Ailes having "benched" Karl Rove as a contributor in the aftermath of the presidential election is being called into question, as Rove re-appeared on the network just one week after it was alleged that he had been effectively suspended as a political commentator.
Last week, New York magazine's appointed Fox News observer, Gabriel Sherman, wrote that shakeups in the cast of "characters" featured on Fox had taken place in the wake of the election, with Rove in the de facto firing line.
Titled "Fox News Puts Karl Rove on the Bench," the piece indicated that Ailes was sufficiently angry at Rove to have put him in the equivalent of Fox News detention, and arguably read as claiming that Rove was behind a controversial on-air confrontation of those responsible for calling the election for Obama.
But the claim that Rove had been "benched" was undercut yesterday when Rove appeared on Fox News' "Special Report" to discuss the fiscal cliff, matched against Democratic strategist Joe Trippi.
The "benched" assertion appears to have its roots in confirmation Sherman obtained from Fox News that producers could no longer book Rove without approval from further up the chain on the basis that "the election's over."
However, the true effect of that booking rule appears at a minimum to have been misunderstood, and possibly overhyped, by New York magazine. The "benched" piece nonetheless helped create a narrative about Fox's contributor line-up in the weeks since Obama's re-election.
Sherman is reportedly writing a book on Ailes and Fox News.
His deep interest in the news channel, Ailes, and personalities associated with both has at times appeared over-the-top to individuals who have either been the focus of his research, or who are employed by the subject of his writing.
This past June, Mediaite reported that "Ailes' wife Elizabeth became so frustrated with her husband's unauthorized biographer, Gabriel Sherman, that she cut off his subscription to a newspaper she runs," adding that her frustration related to "his efforts to compile information on her family."
At the same time, Andrea Tantaros, co-host of Fox's "The Five," tweeted that Sherman was a "harasser" and part of the "stalker media," alleging that he had "[gone] after Roger Ailes' wife," who she defended as a private citizen.