On Monday, Politico ran a long story by Dylan Byers ripping into Fox News president Roger Ailes. “[W]ith his career heading toward its twilight,” wrote Byers, “Ailes is in a war for control of his own legacy.” Byers cites the upcoming publication of a biography of Ailes from Zev Chafetz as evidence of Ailes attempting to control his image, citing three anonymous sources stating that Ailes “is using the book to counteract another forthcoming Ailes bio … by Gabriel Sherman, a contributing editor at New York Magazine.” Byers cites the criticism of sites like Breitbart.com directed at Sherman as evidence that Ailes is pulling strings behind the scenes, although he admits, “To date, no evidence has emerged that Ailes ordered his employees to stir up the attacks on Sherman.” But that doesn’t stop Byers from implying that there is some vast conspiracy to take down Sherman.
The question, of course, is what prompted the piece from Politico in the first place. While Byers is free about accusing others of doing Ailes’ dirty work, it could just as easily be suggested that he is doing Sherman’s dirty work. Indeed, Byers has covered the exploits of Sherman with regard to Ailes in significant detail over the past several months. Even Byers recognizes that Sherman has a seeming “obsession” with Ailes and Fox News, pointing out, “When Sherman breaks news about internal deliberations at Fox, the news is always attributed to anonymous sources, suggesting to media observers that the reporter maintains high-level sources at Fox.”
The larger war here isn’t about Ailes. It’s about Sherman and the attack dogs like him using supposedly evenhanded outlets like Politico as tools in their partisan agenda. It’s one thing for the Soros-backed Sherman to hackishly attack Ailes. It’s another for an outlet like Politico to mirror his line, then accuse others of taking their cues from Ailes.