In December, unnamed ABC News staffers launched a propaganda campaign against Sherwood, producing an attack video calling him, among other things, the "Draco Malfoy of ABC News." We posted the video, and Sherwood, who is a very secure guy who totally does not care at all what the haters say, thought it was just so funny! "Ben laughed it off," an ABC News flack told the Hollywood Reporter at the time, demonstrating conclusively that Sherwood just lets stuff like this roll right off his back. Besides, the video was so lame it probably wasn't even made by ABC Newsers! "We think the people who work here are much more talented and creative." Takeaway: Ben Sherwood does not care about your juvenile videos!
So it's probably just idle curiosity, rather than vindictive rage, that's led him to launch a forensic investigation to find to culprit. An ABC News insider wrote to tell us that Sherwood has drawn up a list of suspects, asked key staffers to name their own suspects, and begun monitoring phone and e-mail traffic to ferret out the dissident. He's gone so far, the tipster says, as to analyze web traffic between ABC News, Vimeo (where the video was published), and Gawker in the days before it was posted looking for clues. He's found, for instance, that while the video wasn't uploaded from an ABC News computer, it was viewed from one (in a public area) prior to our post on it, which strongly suggests that the villain was in the building. He's also tried to identify ABC News staffers who were repeatedly reloading Gawker's front page in advance of our post on the video—as if in anticipation.
A second source who is familiar with ABC News confirmed the witch hunt. "It's true," the source said. "To call him thin-skinned wouldn't even begin to describe it. He's really almost diabolical. He's going to stamp out every last piece of resistance."
ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider adamantly denied that Sherwood is even remotely interested in the identity of the video maker. "No," he said when asked if an investigation has been launched, "absolutely no. No we have not. It's categorically, completely, and totally untrue." So we hung up the phone and began writing this post. Then, as if to underscore the crucially important point that Ben Sherwood does not care about criticism at all, Schneider called us back an hour later asking if he could add this to his comment: "As you know, Ben laughed this off when it first hit, and hasn't spent a second looking back." Laughed. It. Off.