Opinion

Swing and a miss: New York Magazine’s Gabe Sherman gets Fox News hit piece wrong

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

This is what happens when you allow your personal grudge to inspire your journalistic endeavors: You take some liberties that lead to a sloppy 650-word screed full of factual errors and misrepresentations.

So goes the career of part-time faux journalist and full-time Fox News hater Gabe Sherman. In a piece posted on New York Magazine’s website on Monday afternoon, Sherman cited “sources” detailing an edict from FNC’s weekend executive producer David Clark with instructions not to discuss the gun control issue in the wake of last week’s Newtown shooting massacre, in which 26 were killed.

“This network is not going there,” Clark wrote in the email, according to Sherman’s report.

But as The Hollywood Reporter’s Paul Bond reported later that evening, that email from Clark was not the “network-wide edict it has been portrayed as.” Instead, it was an email to three people concerning a panel discussion on one particular show.

Ignoring that significant detail of Clark’s original email, Sherman deduced what he called a “growing chasm” between Fox News CEO and chairman Roger Ailes and News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, basing it on Clark’s email and a tweet from Murdoch responding to President Barack Obama’s remarks immediately following the Newtown, Conn., tragedy: “Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy, but how about some bold leadership action?”

 

A “chasm” also makes for an illogical conclusion coming on the heels of Ailes’ four-year deal with News Corp, announced back in October.

But why let that get in the way of a good storyline, which would inevitably be low-hanging fruit to be gobbled up by the usual suspects, including Politico’s intrepid Dylan Byers, The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast?

In fact, if Sherman and his tag-alongs had fulfilled their journalistic duties before running with this premise, they would have seen that there was not the media blackout on gun control as Sherman inferred from the original email.

A review of the tape shows the gun control issue was broached at least 13 times on Fox News since the shooting:

In addition to those examples, the “Fox News Sunday” programing was repeated twice on Sunday both at 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. But the highlights of the program were played throughout the day and are as follows:

  • 10:24 a.m. — “Fox News Sunday” clip of Sen. Joe Lieberman
  • 11:03 a.m. — “Fox News Sunday” clip of Sen. Dick Durbin
  • 11:04 a.m. — “Fox News Sunday” clip of Lieberman
  • 1:35 p.m. — “Fox News Sunday” clip of Lieberman
  • 4:29 p.m. — “Fox News Sunday” clip of Lieberman
  • 6:35 p.m. — “Fox News Sunday” clip of Lieberman

Sherman isn’t doing himself any favors if he is trying to portray himself as a neutral arbiter of the Fox News Channel. The New York Magazine writer has a history of attacking the Fox News Channel. Aside from having signed a book deal with Random House for a forthcoming book on FNC and Ailes called “The Loudest Voice in the Room: Fox News and the Making of America” set for release in May 2013, Sherman has frequently made them the target of his writings for New York Magazine.

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