Gabriel Sherman, the journalist who has taken on the role of Roger Ailes’ nemesis, has some new reporting on the Trump vs. Ailes battle royale:
Trump steamed in private while reading a report by CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter that Trump felt took a pro-Fox slant. “We resolve this now or go to war,” the piece quoted Ailes saying. Trump, according to a friend who spoke with him, felt Ailes was spinning in order to damage him.
It’s hard to know the reliability of the anonymous sources Sherman claims to have consulted, but it occurs to The Cable Gamer that Sherman himself has a personal interest in knocking down that Stelter report. It might be this particular passage:
The sources for this story contradicted New York magazine’s assertion that Ailes called Trump repeatedly and “begged” the candidate to tweet that they’d settled their feud. “Neither of them would beg for anything,” one of the sources said.
Ah, so Stelter’s sources contradicted Sherman’s reporting. What better way for Sherman to rehabilitate his own rep than to go back to the Trump well to reinforce his side of the story?
When you look over Sherman’s articles on this controversy, it seems as if he likes to take the side opposite to Roger Ailes. One of his reports alleges that Ailes “picked Trump over Megyn Kelly.” How’s that formulation proving out? Not much better than the earlier construction that Ailes was the titular ringleader of what Sherman derisively called “the Trump circus,” and had instructed Fox News personnel to defend Trump. That meme died a quick death with the GOP debate, at which point Sherman suddenly decided Ailes had a “change of heart.” What’s more, Sherman claimed it was “inevitable” and “makes perfect sense!”
Now, with Trump and Ailes at loggerheads, Sherman is siding with Trump. His latest, as noted above, hypes the Trump spin on events. And it comes after a largely uncritical, and often admiring, Sherman feature/interview with the candidate himself. A sample:
No one—none of the rival candidates, none of their armies of highly paid political consultants, not even Fox News chairman Roger Ailes or his boss, Rupert Murdoch—has engineered a strategy to effectively handle Trump.
Is Jeb going to launch ads against Trump? Sherman pooh-poohs that by conjuring up a devastating counterattack from Trump. Will the fascination with Trump fade? Sherman predicts Trump could still be “dangerous to his rival and his party” long after that happens because he can stay in the race “as long as he’s enjoying himself.”
Ordinary candidates might have to print up campaign literature to get a profile like this published. New York magazine gave it to him for free. Meanwhile Sherman goes on MSNBC to proclaim Trump is “more in sync” with the Fox News audience than Ailes is, even as “out of sync” Fox News continues to crush the competition by huge margins.
You have to believe The Donald is thrilled with the turn Sherman’s coverage has taken. And that gives The Cable Gamer pause.