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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 04:35 PM ET, 07/10/2012

Roger Ailes biographer encounters third-rate online taunting

Journalist Gabriel Sherman has a bio page at gabrielsherman.com. It notes that he’s written quite a bit over the years, for the New York Observer, New York magazine, the New Republic, et alii. Other fun facts:

A competitive runner, he has run six marathons and finished the 2003 New York City Marathon in 2:56:29. He has also run up the stairs of the Empire State Building in 13:26.

What a jerk! Or at least that’s the intepretation of someone who posts under the handle ”1360Hindy” on the Web site Conservapedia.com. On June 12, 1360Hindy posted an entry for Sherman and put a different tread on the journalist’s running exploits:

Some have even called him self-absorbed and a snob.[5][6][7] Additionally, Sherman boasts on his website his times in the New York City Marathon and the fact he has run up the stairs of the Empire State Building in 13:26, a fact he is apparently very proud of.[8]

1360Hindy — whose Conservapedia history reflects interests in the Ford Foundation, Media Matters for America and David Brock, among other topics — sums up Sherman’s work like this: “A registered Democrat, over the last nine years his articles have appeared in several left-wing publications such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Slate, The Atlantic, New York Observer, The New Republic and The New Yorker.”

And the entry includes what may well be its news peg: Sherman “is purportedly writing an un-authorized biography on Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, [10] which will be edited by ‘Hillary Clinton for President’ supporter Jonathan Jao of Random House Publishing.” The book will appear sometime in 2013.

On the very day that the Conservapedia entry hit the Web, a bio of Sherman appeared on a site called Foundations Exposed, only to subsequently disappear, as Sherman noted in a July 3 tweet:

My entry on Foundations Exposed has been deleted, as has the website, it appears: http://foundationbios.com/gabriel-sherma

A representative at the outfit that manages the Foundations Exposed domain name said that its registrant is private.

Sherman shared with me a comment that appeared on this no-longer-available site:

Highlights:

“...people have had experiences with Sherman where he has unethically misled them about the purpose for which he is interviewing them.”

“In person, Sherman is pure con artist. His schmoozing is fakery designed to disarm.”

“I always notice his eyes are watery during his segments [on MSNBC]. His eyes tend to dart. He interrupts the host. As someone very familiar with news producing, these are all signs of someone who doesn’t know his/her subject and is BSing and afraid to be found out.”

Bolded text added to highlight a possibility: Could the commenter be employed at a television channel?

Another wrinkle: Sherman noticed that someone had taken out a Google ad to highlight the Foundations Exposed site whenever someone entered the search term “Gabriel Sherman.” A Google rep said that the company won’t discuss such ads.

As the screenshot below makes clear, Foundations Exposed carries a tag line alleging: “New American Foundation is supporting Liberal Agendas.” That’s apparently a reference to the New America Foundation, where Sherman will begin a fellowship in September. A spokeswoman says New America was aware of the matter but didn’t take any action.

The gist here is that someone is trying to mess a bit with Sherman. But the effort lacks the drive, the moral screw-looseness, the nastiness and perhaps the research expertise to properly tar someone. Take that Conservapedia entry, for example: On June 28, 1360Hindy got into the text to note that Sherman’s wife, Jennifer Stahl, is assisting him with the Ailes book.

That edit showed a remarkable familiarity with the Sherman universe, because Stahl’s assistance hadn’t been noted on the Internet. She confirmed to me via e-mail that she’d left her job as a fact-checker with the New Yorker to research the Ailes opus. On July 3, though, one “Ginny” swooped in and deleted the reference to Stahl’s work on the book.

What junior-varsity smearing! Can’t Sherman’s detractors do better than this? The guy, after all, leaves a long trail of clips upon which to feast. Get to work, Sherman detractors. Take some inspiration from Fox News staffer Andrea Tantaros, who tweeted in early June, just before all this online activity:

The “harasser” @gabrielsherman of NY Mag stoops 2 new low going after Roger Ailes’ wife. What do u expect from a Soros puppet?

When asked about this quasi-oppo research, Sherman responds, “Roger Ailes and Fox News are great stories. I have never approached the reporting and writing of my book in a partisan fashion. Even as others attempt to portray me, inaccurately, as a partisan, I will continue to approach my subject with empathy and nuance.”

By  |  04:35 PM ET, 07/10/2012

Tags:  gabriel sherman, new york magazine, roger ailes, biography, new america foundation, jennifer stahl, foundations exposed, msnbc

 
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