In what may be the single most important development at Fox News since it was formed, CEO Roger Ailes is reportedly leaving the network he turned into a Republican propaganda juggernaut. UPDATED: Fox has walked back the report. But The New York Times has reported Ailes and parent company 21st Century Fox are in "advanced stages" of negotiating his departure.
The Daily Beast reports that Fox News has confirmed it. Ailes will also reportedly receive at least a $40 million golden parachute.
This development validates yesterday's report from Gabriel Sherman that the Murdoch family had decided to fire Ailes this week in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit against him by former host Gretchen Carlson. Today, Sherman reported that host Megyn Kelly had told outside investigators that she, too, had been sexually harassed by Ailes.
It's hard to know just how major the political repercussions will be. In a Salon article earlier today, Simon Maloy (formerly of Media Matters), offered some intelligent thoughts and speculation:
If the reports are accurate and Ailes is on his way out, Fox News will necessarily have to change as well. All of the network’s simmering right-wing paranoia and thinly veiled appeals to white resentment reportedly emanate from Ailes, who also has a talent for figuring out creating programming that appeals to the channel’s core audience of aged white conservatives. And, as noted above, the network is populated with Ailes loyalists whose futures could be uncertain if he is removed from the CEO’s chair. A number of those loyalists – people like Neil Cavuto, Geraldo Rivera – have vocally defended Ailes against Carlson’s allegations, alongside several other Fox News personalities who have attacked their former colleague’s credibility. What happens to them if the internal review commissioned by News Corp. finds merit to Carlson’s claims? One Fox source told Sherman that the Ailes faithful within Fox News are “scared to death” over news that he could soon be forced out.
Changes at the top at Fox would also necessarily impact Republican politics, given that the network essentially operates as a freelance communications shop for the GOP. Editorial decisions made by Ailes and his lieutenants have identifiable ripples within the Republican Party – Megyn Kelly’s puffball interview with Donald Trump a couple of months ago was widely viewed as a sign that Ailes and the rest of the network had accepted Trump as the GOP’s nominee. The network plays a critical role in maintaining the alternative world of conservative, right-wing politics. It’s a place for conservatives to go to escape the evil biases of the mainstream media and have telegenic fake news people repeat back to them the things they already believe. The network provides a safe space for Republican politicians to blurt out talking points and obvious nonsense with no threat of being challenged on their accuracy. Republican officials who find themselves caught in scandals rush to have Sean Hannity help clean up their mess.
I'm sure Fox News will continue without Ailes. But will it be the same Fox News? And will some of its top talent leave with him? According to Financial Times, "Three of Fox News’ biggest stars — Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren — have clauses in their contracts that would allow them to depart if Mr Ailes were to leave the network, the two people briefed on the dispute said."
This is truly a BFD but we'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out.
UPDATE: The Daily Beast reports Fox has walked back its confirmation.
Fox initially confirmed Drudge’s report to The Daily Beast, and subsequently walked back that confirmation. Additionally, Drudge replaced a headline touting the buyout with a new one on "Fox News Drama," including a statement from the network: “Roger Ailes has never sexually harassed Megyn Kelly. In fact, he has spent much of the last decade promoting and helping her to achieve the stardom she earned, for which she has repeatedly and publicly thanked him.”
UPDATE: The New York Times reports Ailes and 21st Century Fox are in "advanced stages" of negotiating his departure.
These fools are okay with sexual harassment on the job. All of them will be blacklisted. Any company that hires them to speak at any event will be exposed to the masses.
The mouthpieces’ positions will be filled in no time. Anchors at local stations across the nation will take a network job in a heartbeat.
NOTE TO FOX “NEWS” MOUTHPIECES
Tell me I’m wrong- Sexual harassment scandal or not.
You can’t let a fat sweaty pig defile Miss America.
Jabba will exit with 1) a large severance package ($40M would be a nice going away gift), 2) written promise from Wrinkled Rupert to pay for any court judgment against Jabba for sexual harassment; and 3) a jointly written exit statement praising Jabba for his work at Fux Noise.