Sunday, November 29, 2015

Meet the Reporter Giving the Liberal Media a Migraine


For nearly three months, freelance reporter Evan Gahr has been covering a high-profile lawsuit that almost no one has heard of.
"Normally conservatives would jump at the opportunity to humiliate Ed Schultz," Gahr said in an interview with the Washington Examiner media desk. He doesn't know why right-leaning news websites outside of the Daily Caller, where his work currently publishes, won't pay attention to his stories.
Gahr learned about the lawsuit against Schultz, a far-left MSNBC host, in 2014. He began pursuing it in February for the Caller, where he posts developments every few days as a guest writer.
The lawsuit concerns a former business partner of Schultz, Michael Queen, who alleges that it was his original idea to get Schultz on TV and that the two had a deal that would grant Queen a stake in the show, should there ever be one.
The lawsuit goes back to 2011 and has been covered here and there by other media news websites but has otherwise fallen by the wayside. Gahr is the only one writing about it now, uncovering details like big-name witnesses (MSNBC President Phil Griffin) and the jury selection process (Schultz's attorney doesn't want anyone on the jury who has read Gahr's reporting).
Along the way, Gahr also found out that in 1995, Schultz's first wife, Maureen Zimmerman, had filed a restraining order against Schultz.
Gahr, who once worked as a press critic for the New York Post, regularly tries to contact Schultz and Griffin, the MSNBC president. He never hears back, but he says he's "definitely looking forward to doing an ambush interview" with Schultz.
Schultz did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Ambush interviews are one of Gahr's favorite methods to catch high-profile media personalities off guard. But they're only "ambush" interviews by way of his questions being entirely unexpected. He doesn't show up in private neighborhoods or catch his subjects when they're at dinner at a restaurant.
He calls them on the phone or shows up at a public event.
In mid-April, Gahr approached Al Sharpton after one of the MSNBC hosts nonprofit National Action Network conventions. Gahr asked Sharpton for his thoughts on the lawsuit against Schultz.
Sharpton would only say that he doesn't speak for Schultz.
Gahr makes regular calls to Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron and Post media reporters Paul Farhi and Erik Wemple to inquire about a racial discrimination lawsuit against the newspaper that was filed in 2013 (another story Gahr broke that has received little attention). They all either hang up on Gahr or don't answer at all.
Gahr takes particular exception with left-leaning Post columnists Eugene Robinson and Jonathan 
Around the same time he confronted Sharpton, Gahr approached Robinson about the Post lawsuit, asking him when he would write about it. Robinson wouldn't commit to writing anything on the issue and to date, hasn't.
"I find it interesting that people from the Washington Post like Eugene Robinson and Jonathan Capehart can go on MSNBC every night and accuse whites and conservatives and police of being racist but they ignore outright racist behavior by their own employers," Gahr said.
Gahr, who splits his time between New York and Washington, is not an impartial journalist.
He has made up his mind that Schultz cheated his former business partner. He has decided that the Post is guilty of racial discrimination, because, as the lawsuit claims, several former black employees believe the newspaper "forc[ed] out African American and older employees in a systematic effort to replace them with young, less experienced white individuals at cheaper wages."
Gahr,  describes himself as "a reporter with a conservative bent." What colors his reporting, though, isn't really his ideology. It's an admitted "perverse thrill" in embarrassing his subjects.
"I find it interesting that people who have good public images are really cowards and bullies," he said. "And plus it's just fun to embarrass them."
Gahr isn't a "people person." He says so himself. He doesn't like many photos of himself to be online.
"The only pictures online of me are from 1996, 2000 and 2004," he said. "Plus, I am not wearing glasses [in them] like I do every day."
The freelance work on Schultz's lawsuit has impressed the Caller's editors. Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson and Executive Editor Vince Coglianese are in talks to offer him some type of regular role, though it's unclear right now what that role is.
Carlson described Gahr to the Washington Examiner as "fearless" and "one of the most relentless diggers I know."
Gahr said he wants to write critically of all political and media types, both liberal and conservative, if he thinks they deserve it. "I feel very congruent with the Daily Caller because it's one of the few conservative places that has no orthodoxy," he said (though the Caller does have a policy against writing negative stories related to Fox News, where Carlson is a weekend host).
For now, Gahr also writes on his personal blog, "The Washington Gadfly," a reference to the way he was described in Lloyd Grove's gossip column at the New York Daily News back in 2005.
When he starts writing regularly for the Daily Caller, he said his work won't deviate from what he does now. "Just exposing blowhards and bullies of all political varieties," he said.