Fox News Contributor and Democratic pollster Pat Caddell wrote a scathing editorial over the weekend exposing Gabriel Sherman, author of a forthcoming hatchet-job biography smearing Roger Ailes and Fox News, for “lazy” and “inaccurate” reporting.
At one point, Caddell even accuses Sherman of being too “obtuse” to use a Google search for basic research.
What has Caddell fired up, and why does he care about the little-known author?
Sherman has been awarded a well-paid fellowship from New America Foundation (a George Soros-backed organization) to write his anti-Ailes biography; as a part of the research, he’s reportedy been calling, emailing, tweeting, and emailing numerous employees and associates of Fox News.
Thus far, Sherman has been denied access to Fox News employees and Ailes–leaving him few sources for his book. Instead, Sherman has been allegedly “stalking” Beth Ailes (Roger Ailes’ wife) and tweeting random Fox employees.
Here’s where Caddell comes in.
After a seemly uncontroversial and unrelated editorial from Caddell about a speech from President Jimmy Carter, Sherman accused Caddell of misquoting Gordon Stewart, a news executive and former speechwriter for President Carter.
Caddell’s editorial pointed out that Stewart was publicly taking credit for writing Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech (also known as the “malaise” speech), a point Caddell contests.
Sherman challenged this fact in a phone call and email to Caddell, and tweeted: “So far I haven’t been able to find an example what Caddell is accusing Stewart of… If anyone has seen an interview where Stewart has ‘claimed to be the author’ of the malaise speech, please send along. Thanks.”
During his call, Caddell claims Sherman also said, “I know that Roger Ailes put you up to it (writing the article on the “malaise” speech).”
Put him up to quoting the New York Times?
The source Sherman was looking for was, indeed, the New York Times–one of the most widely published papers in the world. As Caddell points out in this weekend’s article, Stewart wrote the following in a July 14, 2009 op-ed in for the Times:
Meanwhile, mostly secluded in a cabin, sometimes working day and night shifts, my colleague Hendrik Hertzberg and I wrote and rewrote what we had no idea would still be known 30 years later as “The Malaise Speech.” (emphasis added)
When you google “Gordon Stewart Jimmy Carter Malaise Speech,” the third result is the Stewart op-ed from the Times. Caddell minced no words in his weekend editorial, saying, “The Times might not be nearly as important as it once was, but it’s still a pretty big paper, and Sherman, a resident of New York City, ought to be more familiar with it, and what’s in it. And if not, there’s always Nexis and Google to help out.”
If Sherman is this “lazy,” Caddell writes, maybe we shouldn’t trust his upcoming book either:
We might ask: What sort of book is Sherman writing? Is he really so unable to do basic research that, instead, he has to “crowdsource” a factual question through Twitter?
Indeed, such cluelessness, or laziness–or, perhaps on the side of the equation, purposefulness and relentlessness–ought to make people wonder about every article that Sherman has ever written.
What possible reason could he be doing this? Could he be simply ignorant–or intentionally ignorant?
Sherman’s book will be published by Random House on May 21.