As you read this, freelance investigative conservative journalist Evan Gahr is likely dialing up another unsuspecting media reporter or editor to pose one important question:
Why aren’t you writing about my story?
Forget email. Gahr’s a phone guy and his phone number hunting skills are pathologically effective — he’s dug up WaPo‘s Don Graham‘s home number, Kevin Merida’s home and work numbers, Jonathan Capehart, Eugene Robinson, Erik Wemple, Politico‘s Hadas Gold and more. He says Politico’s Dylan Byers now recognizes his number and won’t pick up. WaPo‘s Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt has not returned his emails (but only because he couldn’t find his phone number). So far, many journos have allegedly hung up on him – count Merida, Wemple, The Daily Caller‘s Jordan Bloom and TWT‘s Jennifer Harper among them.
The story he’s referring to is a lawsuit filed against WaPo by a black sales employee who is charging race and age discrimination. He wrote about it last Wednesday for The Daily Caller.
A conversation with Gahr goes something like this.
With TWT‘s Jennifer Harper
Jennifer Harper: “Jennifer Harper”
Evan Gahr: “Jennifer, this is Evan Gahr. I sent you my story about the Washington Post being sued for race discrimination are you going to cover it?”
Jennifer Harper: “I don’t cover those issues, I’m sorry.”
Evan Gahr: “Wait, you cover the press. Are you the press reporter?”
Jennifer Harper: “I don’t cover those issues. I’m sorry.”
Evan Gahr: “Aren’t you the press reporter?”
Jennifer Harper: “I don’t cover those issues. I’m sorry.”
Then, she hung up on Ghar. “But, hey, why would the Washington Times want to do a story that would profoundly embarrass the Washington Post?” he rhetorically asked FBDC after the call. “It’s not like they are competitors or anything.”
Gahr’s bio, in his own words: “I have been writing for major conservative publications since 1991 and am a former press critic and editorial writer for the late New York Post Editorial Page Editor Eric Breindel, a God in neo-con circles. NewsCorp has an annual Eric Breindel award. And the WashPost connection is that he was Lally’s live-in boyfriend for years until he passed in 1998.” He added, “My press criticism, often combined with reporting, has been published in the Wall Street Journal, the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard, National Review and other places.”
Gahr claims he’s actually shy in person and only acts like an animal when he’s seeking a quote. And the phone calls continue…
With Politico‘s Hadas Gold
Ghar sends FBDC an email with the subject line: “Just spoke to Hadas Gold since Dylan apparently recognizes my number and won’t answer.”
(Actually, Byers answered all three of Gahr’s phone calls. No sinister screening ensued.)
Hadas Gold: “It’s definitely something I want to look into.”
Gahr remarked to FBDC, “No rush, of course. It’s only been three weeks since the lawsuit was filed and one week since my report.”
Gahr was slated to have a second piece published in The Daily Caller this week on Wemple hanging up on him. He thought it was “buzzworthy.” The Daily Caller wound up spiking it due to a tweet Gahr sent to Capehart that reads as follows: “You’re so pedestrian. How much of your success is due to your race?” He also tweeted at him about appearing on MSNBC (as shown here).
He wrote me by email, “Will God forgive me for tormenting Jonathan Capehart on Yom Kippur?” As an aspiring rabbinical counselor, I said, no, at least wait until tomorrow.
Gahr said Daily Caller Opinion Editor Jordan Bloom worried that the tweet could undermine his piece.
FishbowlDC got a peek at a bunch of different email exchanges Gahr had with journalists around town. Bloom wrote Gahr, saying, “Evan, I’ve got real reservations about this after your tweet suggesting Jonathan Capehart was some sort of affirmative action hire. It undermines the credibility of the story.” Gahr contends to FBDC, “I did not say ANYTHING about Capehart’s race in my story.”
Bloom also wrote him by email saying, “Evan, I’ve run this by a couple other editors, and it’s just not something we’re interested in at this time. Best, Jordan”
By phone, however, Gahr says Bloom eventually hung up on him, too.
Gahr is obviously adept at social media.
Other reporters he
harassed approached include the following:
To Politico‘s Dylan Byers
“@DylanByers Why won’t you report WashPost sued for race discrimination? Because it’s obscure paper? Few people in DC have heard of it?”
Gahr on Byers’ response: “Dylan Byers told me he has not had time to look at my story yet. That makes sense because he just posted a far more pressing item about something a journalist wrote about the new media.” In a later phone call, Gahr said Byers told him he was pressed for time. “He told me on the phone yesterday he’s been too busy to look at my story, which would take him probably an entire 2 minutes to read,” he said. “He also criticized me for ‘calling a lot.’ WTF. A reporter criticizes someone for making lots of calls on a story?”
Byers declined to comment on his exchanges with Gahr.
To WaPo‘s Dana Milbank
“@Milbank WashPost sued 4 race discrimination; on YomKippur did u seek forgiveness for the Post’s racist sins?”
Gahr wonders about Tucker Carlson and Viagra
Gahr was naturally miffed when The Daily Caller spiked his second story.
“Has Tucker Carlson suddenly gone softer than the roughly 20% of men for whom Viagra does not work? To be sure, I am not entitled to have my piece published by them. It’s certainly their prerogative to spike it and act to the left of Rev. Jackson.”
With WaPo‘s Wemple (in Gahr’s own prose)
Note: The following is text from a story originally intended for The Daily Caller. He published the full version on his website here.
But, what about Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple? Surely, this was a great item for him. Last Friday, in the mid-afternoon, I spoke at length with Wemple about the article and sent him the lawsuit and the Post’s response. In detailed emails, I suggested a number of ways he could advance the story—particularly by looking into the lawsuit’s damning assertion that the Post fired 18 older blacks.
But trying to reason with Wemple was about as productive as having a conversation with a brick wall. After we spoke he wrote nothing about the lawsuit.
Instead, he penned a snotty critique of a conversation between Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera. It was basically a regurgitation of a Media Matters post from Thursday.
I asked Wemple around mid-afternoon yesterday why he had not done an item on the story. Why was he so determined to keep his readers ignorant about credible accusations of racism at his own newspaper? He told me that he would not “aggregate” my story because he preferred to do original reporting. That sounds plausible until you consider that his recent original reporting included an item on a Fox News Channel press release.
I pressed him on the Washington Post lawsuit. I asked him if he considered it a big story. “I think it’s a lawsuit,” he said evasively—and as evasions go this one was not particularly deft. Again, in a conversation I might as well been having with a brick wall, I reminded Wemple that the lawsuit contained credible accusations of racism against the Washington Post.
Moreover, as I told him last Friday, the dismissal of David DeJesus was not some kind of murky matter. A union arbitrator had already ruled the dismissal unjustified and ordered him re-instated. This would have been obvious to anyone who actually read the lawsuit. But he conceded that he had not.
I kept asking Wemple why he had not read the lawsuit. “I gotta go,” he said. “You’re not letting me talk.” Then he hung up.
Wemple responds: “Yes, I hung up on him.”
Asked for comment on his interaction with Gahr, Wemple told FishbowlDC, “Yes, I hung up on him. To his credit, he’s pushing the story and I appreciate that. I believe he found it ridiculous that I wasn’t following up on his piece. I told him my reasons and Evan argued heatedly in opposition. Which is totally fine. Anyhow, my point of frustration was that he’d called to interview me and seemed more intent on arguing with me. I felt as if anything I said wasn’t going to be heard and so I said goodbye and ended the call. No hard feelings whatsoever.”
WaPo PR Responds
WaPo‘s Director of Communications Kris Coratti replied to an email Gahr sent her regarding the lawsuit. She wrote, “Hi Evan, Thank you for your email. We do not comment on pending litigation. Best, Kris”
WaPo‘s media writer Paul Farhi also heard from Gahr, who wrote FBDC this morning, “Paul Fahri was on deadline late yesterday afternoon. He said he would talk to me today. He gave me his direct number, so I think he might tell me something interesting–or at least stay on the phone longer than Erik Wemple!”
Farhi kept that phone date with Gahr. Gahr contacted me through a friend as his antediluvian cell phone doesn’t allow for emails.
“Evan said he thinks Farhi was ‘stonewalling,'” the friend explained over email. “Evan says Farhi told Evan he didn’t know anything about it yet, but would look into it and said he hadn’t yet discussed it with anyone at the paper. Evan said that if it was about anyone else the Post would already have had it on its front page. Farhi asked how Evan could know that, and Evan cited the Rick Perry ‘niggerhead’ ranch marker story, which Evan said contained fewer allegations of racism by Perry than the suit does against the Washington Post.”
Watch out Washington journos. You may be next on Gahr’s call list. The best part? After he calls, he sends me a verbatim account of the conversation — or more likely, the hangup.