“Gabe Sherman is Jayson Blair on steroids.” That’s one tough assessment of Gabriel Sherman, the over-eager reporter and from-a-great-distance biographer of Roger Ailes. Who said it? A well-placed source close to Fox News. And the source makes a very strong case.
Jayson Blair, of course, was the serially dishonest reporter for The New York Times who was fired, finally, in 2003.
Today, in the opinion of many, Sherman is following in Blair’s disastrous and disgraced footsteps. On December 17, under the headline, “Rupert Murdoch Wants Stricter Gun Laws After Newtown, But Fox News Doesn’t Get the Memo,” Sherman falsely claimed that Fox News had put out an “edict” against discussions of gun control in the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting. The next day, Sherman’s claim was knocked down here at Breitbart.com, among other news outfits.
Now, having been nailed for his incorrect story, Sherman is currently scrambling to save his reputation by enlisting his Fox-phobic allies in the MSM.
But first, a little background on the December 17 piece, as well as some insight into its author, from the source close to Fox. In that piece, Sherman asserted that a “rift” had opened inside the News Corporation, parent company of Fox News. He declared that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch favored more gun control, while Fox News--and by implication, Fox chief Ailes--was opposed. But that’s baloney, says the plugged-in Fox source:
“There’s no ‘rift’ at Fox. That’s bull. Rupert has his views, which he has made clear. In the wake of the shootings, Rupert tweeted them out when he was in Australia for his mother’s funeral; she died at 103. Okay, those are Rupert’s views. But Rupert has never sought to impose those views on Fox.”
The Fox source continued:
“Nobody at Fox has any idea what Roger’s views are--nobody here has ever heard him speak on the pros and cons of, for example, an assault-weapons bans. All Roger has ever said is, ‘Cover all sides, and all angles of the story. And, of course, after a tragedy, comport yourself with good taste and sensitivity.’”
So much for the “rift.” So much for Sherman’s attempt to conjure up a controversy to help him get clicks now and sell books next year, when his “biography” of Ailes will be published.
The Fox source further added:
“The person who has the least insight into Roger’s opinions is Gabe Sherman. Roger has never consented to an interview with Sherman, and never will. And nobody who really knows Roger is talking to Sherman. But Sherman figured he could get away with asserting that there was a ‘rift’ between Rupert and Roger on the gun issue because he figured that a) Rupert would seek to impose his views on Fox and that b) Roger would be an automatic kneejerk pro-gunner. Well, Sherman was dead wrong on the first point, because Rupert doesn’t operate like that, and on the second point, that’s a mystery. Plenty of people at Fox have strong opinions on gun control, for and against, and many of them are on Fox air. But as for Roger himself, he’s not on the air. He keeps his own counsel.”
In other words, Sherman is writing his biography through guesswork. The author, who attended Middlebury College in Vermont--a school that puts the liberal in liberal arts--made another gamble, as the Fox source made clear:
“Sherman got his hands on one out-of-context e-mail from one producer at Fox and thought that he could use that to claim, in his New York magazine piece, that Fox had squelched any discussion of gun control on its air in the wake of the Connecticut shootings. Obviously Sherman doesn’t understand how Fox operates, or how talent and contributors operate. And so the even bigger flaw in Sherman’s ‘reporting” is that Fox featured at least 13 segments on gun control in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.”
But how, Capitol Confidential wanted to know, could Sherman get away with reporting that Fox had squelched discussion of gun control when there were those 13 segments on the air? The Fox source answered:
“Note how Sherman weasel-worded his original story. He cited one e-mail concerning one segment--there are typically seven segments in a single hour, by the way--which he then described as an ‘edict.’ And yet even then, in his very next breath, Sherman admitted that the supposed edict ‘wasn’t universal.’ So he was sort of covering himself.”
That is, Sherman was seeking to attract attention for the scoop on the purported “edict,” even as he was allowing, quietly, that it wasn’t really an edict at all.
The Fox source continued:
“What Sherman was really counting on was that nobody in his target audience, the folks who will review and hopefully buy his book--that is, liberals who hate Fox--was watching anyway. So they would never know whether his claims were true or not. They would just wanna believe anything bad about Fox.”
Then the source further amplified this point, emphasizing that Sherman the book-author had a narrow audience to please:
“Sherman knows that his book will rise and fall, next year, on the opinion of a few liberal-left gatekeepers. So he is writing for the benefit of, say, Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington, and the New York Times. None of whom watch Fox, of course, so Sherman can pretty much write whatever he wants about the channel and get away with it.”
Or so Sherman thought. Yet some in the media, including The Hollywood Reporter, were on to Sherman. Less than four hours after Sherman’s story ran on the 17th, THR’s wide-awake reporter, Paul Bond, was the first to catch on to Sherman’s falsehoods.
So Sherman has had to respond to such unwanted fact-checking, seeking the help of the whole liberal media “hive,” all of whom are now buzzing and whirring away, like busy bees, to try to rehabilitate his credibility. The Washington Post, for example, and Mediaite --and, of course, the evermore left-wing Politico -- have all been working hard on Sherman’s behalf.
Speaking of liberal hives, it’s not generally noted--can’t imagine why--that in addition to working at New York magazine, Sherman is also a “fellow” at the George Soros-funded New America Foundation. So with masters such as Soros and the other liberals who fund the New America Foundation, what could one really expect? How could Sherman not turn his journalistic output, and his forthcoming Ailes biography, into a one-sided hit-piece? He wants good reviews, doesn’t he? He wants to sell books, right?
Yet it would seem that Sherman’s determination to curry favor with the left has come at the cost of his credibility. As pointed out here at Breitbart.com on December 11, Sherman “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.”
Others have been even more emphatic: Back in June, Andrea Tantaros, a Fox News contributor who recently launched her own talk-radio show, reacted to reports that Sherman had been skulking around the home and workplace of Roger Ailes’ wife Beth. Tantaros, in a pair of tweets, described Sherman as a “harasser” and a “stalker.”
Meanwhile, on December 18, Breitbart.com determined that it was a “fib” that Fox News was in any way squashing the gun control debate, although, of course, no mere fib would stop lefty media types from treating the fib as the truth if it suited them.
And just on Thursday, December 20, Sherman was at it again, headlining a new piece entitled, “Fox News Spikes Pro-Gun Column; Writer Told Issue Is ‘Too Sensitive.’” Sherman cited the fate of one opinion piece, from pro-gun author John Lott, that that Foxnews.com allegedly would not run. Whoa! Wasn’t Sherman just claiming that Fox was pro-gun?
Apparently, to Sherman, Fox-phobe that he is, anything is fair game--whether it makes sense or not. Thus the fate of a single op-ed submitted to the Fox website is a big deal. If that’s Sherman’s perspective, we can only imagine that Sherman’s book will be a tome of tendentious trivia.
Yet once again, Sherman promised more in the headline than he delivered. Sherman had to concede that Foxnews.com has published many of Lott’s pieces this year alone; indeed, Fox has published ten, just since September.
And although Lott told Sherman that he, Lott, had been told that his latest-pro piece was “too sensitive” to publish, that’s simply not the case, according to the Fox source. “Lott is a smart guy, and he knows his stuff, but it just wasn’t that good a piece. It wasn’t that it was ‘too sensitive,’ it’s that it was ‘too technical.’ As in, too many points about this gun and that gun. That’s a nuance that perhaps Lott wasn’t able to hear.” Fox has previously published ten pieces by Lott.
Yet to Sherman, any little twig of news, or pseudo-news, can and must be used as a club to clobber Fox. It’s the same dismissal of the truth that got Jayson Blair into so much trouble. As the Fox source said, “Gabe Sherman is Jayson Blair on steroids.”