Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Is Fox News the New Bill Cosby?

The rot that is Roger Ailes reaches beyond his sexual harassment misconduct, right into the heart of Fox News itself.

Lots of harassment over many years?
When I first heard about Gretchen Carlson's sexual-harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, my immediate thought was how Bill Cosby's troubles expanded. My next thought was: Watch Fox News explode. Now, it seems, it has.

Gabriel Sherman, the unauthorized biographer who broke this story, has now exposed another apparent problem for Fox News. He reports that Fox News executives have been carrying water for Ailes by covering up for their boss. Uh oh:
GABRIEL SHERMAN: Brian, I just want to speak to that because I think this is where the story is going forward, the Murdochs are looking to 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 is in charge of programming and the Fox Business Network currently, played an integral role in the cover up of these sexual harassment claims. I reported yesterday based on internal documents --
Not so funny anymore.
Here's where the story stands today. Fox News may find itself liable for
encouraging or allowing sexual harassment to continue, and, at the very least, more heads will roll. At worst, the scandal will envelope more executives and empower the women of Fox -- who were hamstrung by non-disclosure and internal arbitration agreements -- to tell their own personal stories, leading to further unraveling.

Bill O'Reilly, as many may remember, barely squeaked by with his own sexual harassment case (here's a fascinating if disturbing court document). Now, he's just another Fox News man behaving badly, with echoes from a disturbing divorce case. O'Reilly never worried because Ailes had his back, and now O'Reilly returns the favor.

One weird by-product is Donald Trump's full-throated defense of Ailes. What does he think he'll accomplish with that, other than further alienating women voters? Oh, I forgot: Poorly educated white males are his base. He could give a rat's ass for women.

Of course, Donald Trump would say, "Women love me, that I can tell you!"

Update. Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente has announced he's leaving the network. Is this the first extra head to roll or a rat fleeing a sinking ship?

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