As I wrote in my last post, the real question about Fox News without Roger Ailes is not how many more women will come forward but how far the contagion spreads. New York Magazin'es Gabriel Sherman has alleged a cover up by the same top executives serving as Fox’s interim leaders and are now being considered as replacements for Ailes.
Sherman, a biographer of Roger Ailes and an editor at New York Magazine, has been at the forefront of reporting on the Ailes story since former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment. Today, Sherman appeared on CNN’s Reliable sources and said that “more than 25 people” have come forward “to describe instances and episodes of sexual harassment” to the law firm designated by Fox’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, to investigate the matter. “This is really about a culture that Ailes enabled,” Sherman added.
A lengthy report in today’s New York Times seems to back that up.
But Sherman noted that the story “going forward” has widened from Ailes to other top Fox executives.
Quote below are from the CNN transcript, with my emphases:
SHERMAN: The Murdochs are looking at the existing leadership at FOX News as possible replacements for Ailes. The critical issue is that a lot of the main players, especially Bill Shine, Roger Ailes’ deputy who’s in charge of programming and the FOX Business Network currently, played an integral role in the cover-up of these sexual harassment claims.
Hearing the word “cover-up” gave host Brian Stelter pause. “You said ‘cover up of these claims.’ You’re saying that this man, Bill Shine, and others covered up what Ailes was doing?”
Yes, that’s exactly what Sherman was saying. He had detailed at least some of it in an article yesterday.
SHERMAN: The way they did that, Brian, the reason I used those strong words, is they pushed women into confidential mediation, signing nondisclosure agreements in exchange for their contracts to be paid, these women needed to make a living. They signed nondisclosure agreements. And as we have seen for the last 19 years, these allegations were not private. I have seen internal documents. I interviewed one of the women, Rudi Bakhtiar, on the record, as did the “New York Times”.
And if you see this, Bill Shine, Dianne Brandi, FOX News’s general counsel, a lot of the senior executives around Roger Ailes, were fully aware of this culture. Let’s be very clear, they knew exactly what was going on, they did not speak up.
STELTER: You’re saying, Gabe, this is going to spread quite a bit further?
SHERMAN: Yes, people I talked to inside the company feel that the only way to change the FOX News culture is to move out all the executives that Ailes had elevated into positions of power. There was a loyalty test.
Another thing that I’m hearing is that Bill Shine, Roger Ailes’ deputy, played a role in rallying the women to speak out against Roger Ailes accusers, and lead this counter-narrative to try to say, don’t believe Gretchen Carlson and the allegations. If that is indeed the case, that again—the Murdochs will have to say, this is a guy, these are managers who helped enable and tried to protect Roger Ailes who presided over this culture.
At that point, CNN’s Dylan Byers and Bill Carter noted that getting rid of Ailes’ lieutenants could be catastrophic to the network and to Republican politics.
BYERS: Look, it’s clear that there’s a culture there and it’s pretty pervasive and that obviously raises some questions for the Murdochs about how far this needs to go, how far the internal reviews need to go.
But, again, I want to go back to just thinking about this as a business. It’s one thing to get rid of Roger Ailes, and it’s quite a huge and historic thing to get rid of Roger Ailes. These are these executives who sort of keep the ship running, they keep things going on a day to day basis.
If you’re starting to talk about getting rid of Bill—you know, Bill Shine, Jay Wallace, Michael Clemente, all of those figures, you’re running into a situation where you really have no one who knows how to run this network on a day-to-day basis. That would actually purely from keeping this thing going and I do think FOX News—
BYERS: -- at least in the short to, you know, mid-term, is going to be just fine. If you get rid of that entire level or if there are questions around those people, that’s truly catastrophic to the network on how it functions on a day-to-day basis.
CARTER: And think of the timing of that, Brian.
This is right when FOX would be out front in pushing the narrative that the Republican Party wants to push in this election. And if some of their top executives are removed, it’s going to put a cloud over that, how are they going to effectively do it? They have done it very effectively in the past.
And, you know, I think they have been very effective in launching Donald Trump. So, it could have very big impact on this election.
Personally, I doubt the Murdochs will want to go that far. But will the court of public opinion force their hand?
Watch the discussion from CNN’s July 24 Reliable Sources.
James Murdoch, who with his brother, Lachlan, became the co-chief operator of their father’s company a year ago, has wanted Ailes gone not just because Ailes has repeatedly (and joyfully, and for many years) dissed the Murdoch children and the brothers are busily centralizing their control, but because Fox News embarrasses them. “I won’t pretend it hasn’t been difficult at times,” James told me several years ago in an interview speaking of Fox News, his sourness clear. Now he speaks to colleagues and friends of maintaining a conservative-leaning network, but one that is more responsible and nuanced.
With Ailes remaining as a consultant for the next two years, the snake will come out of his hole and continue calling the shots in an invisible role.
The network could even get worse. Because for all their right-wing bias, a lot of these folks discussed in its wake like Doocy, Hannity, and O’Reilly represent the establishment GOP. The real Tea Party crazies like Laura Ingraham undoubtedly will end up filling somebody’s chair following a shake-up. Heck, I would never predict it but I could even see some crackpot like Glenn Beck returning.
Never say it can’t get worse because we’re discussing Fox. Oh my, the fodder for Newshounds…. ;^)
The big boys at the News Corporation/21st Century Fox headquarters are panicking right now because their names will be called before the masses, right Fin Fin, Shineman, Salmon Fish? There are others that will be named who no longer work for the network. These frauds that work at other networks will likelihood lose their positions at those networks.
Coming down the pipeline:
1. The mistresses.
2. Female students.
3. The minors.
4. Criminal charges?
5. More women continue to come forward.
6. Fox “News” sexecutives still employed at Fox “News.”
7. Male on-air talent knew.
8. New Fox “News” chairman to be named.
9. Hannocchio’s name comes up.
10. Billy wants out.
11. Fox “News” contributors say no to appearance.
12. Ailes henchmen ousted from network.
NOTE TO FORMER AND CURRENT FEMALE FOX “NEWS” TALENT AND NON-TALENT, PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS, FIELD PRODUCERS, WARDROBE, BOOKERS, ETC.
Call now!!!! Report all these sexecutives to Gretchen Carlson’s attorney, Nancy Smith at Smith Mullin, P.C. (973) 783-7607. Let’s make this a class-action lawsuit against Ailes, Fox “News” Channel, and 21st Century Fox for their failure to protect their female colleagues in this hostile work environment.
NOTE TO MURDOCHS/21ST CENTURY FOX
You have violators still employed at this network. Gabe Sherman is already aware of this violation of policy. We will tell others in the media.
21st Century Fox Standards of Business Conduct
“We are committed to fostering a high trust work environment for our colleagues, which is the kind of environment where people do their best work. Unlawful harassment, discrimination and threats to health and safety all undermine our high trust environment, and make it harder for people to excel. Therefore, it is our policy to provide a safe work environment, free of unlawful harassment, intimidation and discrimination.
All the guidelines regarding our workplace extend beyond the physical premises of 21CF companies to include anyone conducting Company business or representing the Company, wherever they may be, as well as attendance at Company-sponsored events.
Equal Opportunity: We maintain a strong policy of equal opportunity for all of our employees and applicants for employment, and are committed to complying with all of our obligations under applicable laws.
Non-Discrimination: We make all employment related decisions (hiring, promotion, compensation, etc.) without unlawful regard to a person’s race, color, religion, age, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, military or veteran’s status, marital status or any other characteristic prohibited from consideration by the laws of the countries, states and cities in which we do business.
Harrassment-Free: We endeavor to ensure that the workplace is free of bullying and unlawful harassment, whether that harassment is sexual in nature, or is based on an employee’s sex, race, religion or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. It is our policy to investigate promptly and thoroughly any 21CF colleague complaint of discrimination or harassment, and to take remedial measures, if the Company determines that there has been a violation of the Company’s policy against such conduct."
O’Reilly has made it pretty clear he’s thinking of retiring before the scandal hit. I suspect this will just make it easier for him.
It’s my understanding that James is the more progressive one and Lachlan not so much but maybe more so than Daddy phone hacker.
I’m not sure how much of a new direction they will ultimately want to take Fox given that it has been such a moneymaker for 21CF.
I’ve read that there is no walkout at the moment and that Hannity has been distancing himself from Ailes.
It would not surprise me at all if Megyn Kelly has been negotiating with the Murdochs for a less partisan version of Fox.
As I wrote above, my personal feeling is that the Murdochs will not want to change Fox too much… unless the court of public opinion forces them to do so.
This concludes my random thoughts on the matter. :)
If it does brew into a giant scandal, the strain might be too much for the twenty year old network.
Sniff…, too young to die.
When I first started reading this I thought you might touch on a topic I saw raised yesterday. We’ve all heard Rupert Murdoch will fill in for now and, of course, he was running the show as the big boss above Ailes anyhow. However, Rupert is 85. His sons James and Lachlan are progressive who are viewed as wanting to take Fox News into a different direction.
So Ailes getting the boot may end up just the warm-up.
Also, we’ve all heard of Ailes ass-kissers like Hannity and O’Reilly walking. More interesting, today I heard a report that O’Reilly is pondering retirement. Unfortunately, that’ll leave Megyn Kelly as Fox’s headliner. Not much progress but when Bill leaves the party’s at my house anyhow!