Fox News just took one more step toward tossing aside its pretext of running a legitimate news operation when it got rid of a large chunk of its “straight news operations,” including the fact checking and research unit, known as the “Brain Room.”
The Daily Beast has the scoop:
Fox News’ PR department used anodyne corporate-speak to characterize the job losses, namely “restructuring various divisions in order to position all of our businesses for ongoing success.” But the layoffs, outside of the hair and makeup department, cut most deeply into the channel’s straight-news operations at Fox News Digital and elsewhere, according to insiders, while protecting the ratings-heavy, revenue-generating domains of Fox & Friends in the morning, and of Trump cheerleaders Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham in primetime.
The outlet’s so-called “Brain Room,” which the late Fox News founder Roger Ailes established as the 24-year-old channel’s fact-checking and research unit, has been especially hard-hit, losing around one-fourth of its 30-person staff along with two supervisors—a virtual frontal lobotomy, according to sources familiar with the cutbacks.
A current Fox News employee—who, like others who spoke to The Daily Beast, asked not to be further identified for fear of retaliation—placed blame on Porter Berry, a former longtime Hannity producer who is Fox News Digital’s editor-in-chief, and Berry’s second-in-command Stefanie Wheeler Choi, a former communications director for hard-right Tennessee politician Marsha Blackburn, for much of the carnage that has concentrated on straight-news reporters and photojournalists. Berry and Choi had a large hand in recommending who would be laid off, this current Fox News staffer said.
According to multiple Fox News insiders, the most recent cuts were ordered by Joe Dorrego, a former Fox Corp. executive who is both Fox News’s new chief financial officer and chief operating officer. In what is bound to be a bitter irony for laid-off Fox News employees, Dorrego claimed in a staff meeting this past Thursday, according to an insider, that the channel has so far experienced record revenue and profits in 2020.
On top of all that, the laid-off employees, facing a tough job market in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, were required to sign what The Daily Beast describes as “draconian” non-disclosure agreements in order to receive their severance packages.
In July, 2018, a guest poster named Nancy Levine wrote a powerful editorial about the need for the so-called “real journalists” at Fox to speak out. Otherwise they are part of a “ruse” “known to every three-card monte hustler on the street. Fox News journalists are paid shills. They’re plants whose purpose is to create the illusion of journalistic legitimacy. They’re role players in the Fox-Trump con game.”
That’s still true, only now Fox figures it doesn’t need so many plants to pull off its hustle.
It’s easy for me to say this as I don’t have these folks’ mortgages, tuition bills, etc. to pay, but for the sake of the country, journalism and their own self-respect, it's time for a massive walkout.
(Hannity image via screen grab)
Problem is that many of Trump’s misstatements are invented whole-cloth.