Breitbart News has been covering the Gabriel Sherman vs. Roger Ailes story closely, because, well, it’s important. How so? Three reasons, two of which Breitbart News has previously covered, along with a new angle that hasn’t been examined yet.
First, Sherman’s journalistic jihad against Ailes and Fox News shows the extreme lengths that an aggressive young leftist reporter will go to make a name for himself. Sherman figures that if he can take down the legendary Ailes in his forthcoming book, he will be a hero to the leftist chattering class–and he’s correct in that calculation.
Second, Sherman’s anti-Ailes effort has been financed by a new kind of support mechanism for liberal-left journalists: tax-exempt foundations are now replacing faltering mainstream media outfits as the place to harbor reporters. In Sherman’s case, a coterie of billionaires has created the Washington-based New America Foundation (NAF), where Sherman is a “fellow,” to carry on with their leftist agitprop work.
NAF is hardly unique, but it is particularly egregious insofar as its chairman is Obama-crony Eric Schmidt of Google, while other top funders include Nazi-facilitator-turned-one-world- advocate George Soros, as well as Bernard Schwartz, whose former company, Loral, seems to have helped Red China gain our missile technology in the 90s. Google’s Schmidt is too smart to use the deep-reaching power of his company to advance his personal political ambitions, but on his own time, he is obviously happy to use his personal wealth to move the liberal ball forward, alongside Soros, Schwartz, and the rest of the liberal hive. We might call them the “S-Men”–Schmidt, Soros, and Schwartz.
It’s NAF, engorged with S-Men billionaire money, that has moved Sherman way up in the liberal-left world. In 2012, the former junior magazine scribbler found himself with a big book contract from Random House. Sherman had hoped to have his attack on Ailes done by May 2013; Sherman’s paymasters obviously hoped that their hireling would put a devastating word-torpedo into both Ailes and Fox.
Unfortunately for the “S-Men,” the fourth “S” in their grand scheme, Sherman, has fallen short. Sherman has proven to be an erratic and unstable messenger for their desired anti-Ailes message.
Over the past few months, Breitbart News has chronicled Sherman’s descent into dubious deeds and dangerous demagoguery. Sherman has been knowingly described to Breitbart News as “Jayson Blair on steroids,” the disgraced New York Times reporter who was fired in 2003 for fabricating stories. In addition, Sherman’s aggressive–even intrusive–reporting has led responsible journalists to accuse him of being a “harasser” and “stalker,” who has targeted not only Roger Ailes, but also his wife, Beth, and the rest of Ailes family.
Even in the rough-and-tumble world of politics and media, that’s too much; going after the family is definitely a no-no. But Sherman is shameless, as Mrs. Ailes herself tweeted on March 13.
Yet despite the enormous resources at Sherman’s disposal–Breitbart News has closely chronicled this new system of tax-sheltered reporting–Sherman has nevertheless been convincingly accused, by iconoclastic Democrat Pat Caddell, of lazy and sloppy reporting.
So it’s interesting, and revealing, that the publication date of Sherman’s book has been moved back; as we have seen, it was once scheduled for this month, but now it’s been delayed until January 2014. In the book world, that’s not a good sign; typically, it means that the publisher deems the manuscript to be unacceptable. In this particular instance, it probably means that Random House, hoping for verifiable “juicy bits”–that is, juicy bits that can garner buzz and withstand a lawsuit–has told Sherman to go out and find some more good stuff.
So now we come to the third reason why this story is so interesting: in it we can see the Terminator-like determination of Sherman to nail Ailes. This third reason, though, speaks more to the intrigue of personal duplicity, as opposed to any larger issue of dogged ideology.
There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that Sherman could now be in cahoots with one Matthew Freud, who happens to be the son-in-law of Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corporation and the owner of Fox News. It was Ailes who envisioned, and Murdoch who financed, the creation of Fox News back in 1996–and so changed America and the world.
Freud married Rupert’s daughter Elisabeth in 2001; he lives in London, and makes a good living in public relations. And yes, he is Sigmund Freud’s great-grandson; he wants everyone to know that connection, because many might think that the young Freud has some special kind of mind-power. Yet in fact, Freud’s real power comes from a different kind of nepotism; if you’re in the PR business and can claim a connection to Murdoch and the News Corporation empire, it’s easy to convince clients that they need you.
Shrewd Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff, writing in the left-leaning Guardian newspaper, has described Freud as “the most famous, and most famously slippery, PR man in London.”
Slippery is, indeed, the operative word for this operator. Even as he married into a family fortune, Freud has long been an avowed enemy of Ailes and Fox.
In a January 2010 New York Times profile of Ailes that was otherwise mostly positive–the headline read, “A Fox Chief at the Pinnacle of Media and Politics”–Freud gratuitously inserted himself into the story with this nasty quote: “I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of… journalistic standards.”
Three years ago, this Freud vs. Ailes storyline proved to be catnip to the MSM, which has always been delighted, of course, to trumpet any attack on Ailes. Indeed, Freud’s attack soon metastasized into the media-meme that Ailes might be pushed out of Fox.
The very next day after the Times story, The Daily Beast, run by the super-trendy British-born liberal Tina Brown, published a gleeful follow-up of its own, asking, “Is Ailes Finished at Fox?” No fewer than three sources assured the Beast’s Lloyd Grove that Ailes might well be on the way out. One of those sources seemed oddly familiar with Rupert Murdoch’s morning routine and his way of thinking:
“Rupert picked up his Times at the breakfast table, saw the story above the fold with the big photo of Roger, and probably choked on his coffee,” one insider told me today, noting that the 78-year-old media mogul reflexively bridles when the hired help outshines him.
The next day, Mediaite dismissed the Beast story, pointing out that Rupert and Roger had always gotten along fine, and that in any case, Fox was far and away the most profitable part of the News Corporation empire. Indeed, Mediate further pointed out that Freud’s PR firm was on retainer to The Beast. Small world!
Soon enough, News Corporation itself put a stop to this foolishness. Chase Carey, the company’s chief operating officer, declared, “News Corp. is 100% behind Roger Ailes–we hope and expect he will continue to lead Fox News well into the future.” That was the end of the Ailes-is-a-goner story; Freud sulked back into silence, at least in public. Meanwhile, in October 2012, Ailes signed a new four-year contract with News Corporation to stay at the helm of Fox.
Okay, so Freud failed on that anti-Ailes gambit, but one could probably safely assume that Freud has it in for Ailes despite that setback. Indeed, as we shall see in the next installment, Freud also appears to be not the least bit loyal to the family that he married into.
Yet for the time being, we can focus on Freud vs. Ailes–and where Sherman fits in.
Because now, lo and behold, Sherman, searching for more material for his book, has been in London. On April 25, he tweeted: “In London they have espresso shops that double as real-estate offices. Sounds like something that would thrive in Brooklyn. Housepresso.”
Okay, those little thoughts of Sherman are a wee bit precious, but in and of themselves, they are certainly harmless. The interesting thing here is not Sherman’s thoughts about coffee in London, but that he was in London in the first place.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that Sherman needs Freud, bad. It wouldn’t be surprising that Sherman and Freud have talked in the past, but now, as Sherman is desperately seeking new and juicier material, he might be groveling to Freud seeking his help.
Alas, such desperation is taking its toll on young Sherman’s mind; he is becoming careless, or reckless–or downright self-destructive. Why would he alert the media that he is in London? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who else is in London.
So why would Sherman blow his cover? One answer, of course–not to get too Freudian about things–is that sometimes the pressure of a mission can get the best of a guy. So giving the game away to the world is a sort of perverse cry for help, the twittery equivalent of “Stop me before I do it again!” If so, that might elicit some sympathy–along with, maybe, some prescription pills–for Sherman. But so far, at least, that cry for help is more of a throttled little peep; Sherman is still carrying on his mean-spirited work for the S-Men.
Yet Sherman’s self-broadcasting–and self-betrayal–have continued. On May 2, more than a week after that first tweet from London, Sherman added two more location-based tweets: “Had dinner in Hackney the other night. Learned neighborhood is where the word ‘hack’ comes from.” Hackney, we might note, is a borough in the city of London. So that was the first tweet; Sherman letting us know, again, where he is.
Then, in his second tweet a moment later, he wrote, possibly providing a glimpse into his own soul, “Hackney: ‘A horse suitable for ordinary riding or driving.’ A hack: ‘One that works for hire.'” In other words, a hack writer calling attention to his own hackery. It would seem that the low-grade reality of Sherman’s journalist hit-man profession is starting to seriously corrode his psyche. Why else would Sherman bring up the subject of hack-work?
We can further evaluate Sherman’s obviously low self-esteem some other time, but for the time being, let’s establish that Sherman was in London for a spell, perhaps a week or more.
So what’s being said in London? What’s being learned? We don’t know the details, about either Sherman or Freud. Meanwhile, in fact, there’s more to the London story. A lot more.
We’ll take that up in the next installment.