They havenâ€™t been â€œFair and Balancedâ€ in a while but stating Monday, Fox News will be marketing itself as â€œReal News. Real Honest Opinion.â€
Itâ€™ll start with Foxâ€™s own properties and then perhaps go elsewhere.
In July, 2016, former host Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes for harassment, triggering lawsuits, internal investigations, resignations and firings. Carlson ended up settling for $20 million.
Then, The New York Times revealed Oâ€™Reilly and Fox had paid millions of dollars to quietly settle other sexual harassment allegations against Ailes, including two after he left. (Real honest? Really?)
That led to big changes to the channelâ€™s lineup.
Ailes died in May, 2017, and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Then, last spring, co-president Bill Shine was ousted. Shine â€“ who ran programming â€“ succeeded Ailes despite his â€œalleged role in abetting Ailes in tolerating a workplace hostile to women,â€ according to The Washington Post. The other co-president â€“ Jack Abernethy â€“ runs the business side.
Womenâ€™s groups and some Fox employees had complained the Murdoch family, which owns Fox, wasnâ€™t serious about reforming the company as long as its leadership â€“ selected by and loyal to Ailes â€“ remained mostly intact. The Post said Shineâ€™s removal showed the younger Murdochs â€“ Rupertâ€™s sons Lachlan and James â€“ were finally trying to foster what they called â€œa workplace based on the values of respect and trustâ€ when Ailes was forced out.
Ad Age reports Chris Wallace and Martha MacCallum will be part of the Real News, while Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson will represent Real Honest Opinion.
Carlson claims in one of the spots, â€œFox is the one place where dissent is allowed,â€ while MacCallum promises, â€œWe are going to ask the tough questions because there is a lot of conventional wisdom out there that needs to be challenged.â€
Ahead of frontrunner Fox, CNN began its â€œFacts Firstâ€ marketing campaign last October. Ad Age says it features a narrator using an apple to push back against President Donald Trump and others who call it a purveyor of “fake news” by screaming â€˜Banana, Banana, Banana,â€™ over and over and over again, and even putting â€˜bananaâ€™ in all caps.
Of course, the honesty of Fox News has been doubted over the years and reinforced just in the past week.
Thursday night, CNN reported Fox reporter Diana Falzone settled a lawsuit with Fox News and left the company. Her lawyer said she couldnâ€™t disclose the terms, and neither side would elaborate.
Falzone sued in May, 2017, alleging gender discrimination. Her suit
â€œsaid she was demoted for writing a column about her struggle with endometriosis, a painful disorder often accompanied by other severe symptoms, including infertility.â€
Fox News had denied the allegations.
Falzoneâ€™s column said she was â€œreluctant to shareâ€ her battle with the disorder but she ultimately did â€œafter being persuaded by a manager in her doctor’s office, who told her, â€˜Many women suffer in silence alone. Please share your story.â€™â€
Itâ€™s still up and still tagged with
Perhaps more seriously and with much more at stake for our country, Fox shelved a Falzone story that CNN reported,
â€œdetailed an alleged sexual relationship between porn actress Stephanie Clifford â€“ whose stage name is Stormy Daniels â€“ and Donald Trump.â€
â€” Lenny Cohen (@feedbaylenny) March 9, 2018
The alleged affair is reported to have happened in 2006. Donald and Melania Trump were married in 2005.
Killing Falzoneâ€™s reporting on it allegedly happened in October, 2016, a month before the presidential election in which Trump won. It couldâ€™ve been a major scoop and possibly changed the election results.
I wonder who killed that story and why. Was it political? Maybe, especially considering the companyâ€™s reputation. Did Falzone have every fact? Thatâ€™s probably what the person who killed the story would claim. I suggest another investigation immediately, run by an outsider like CBS had after Dan Ratherâ€™s report on President George W. Bushâ€™s Texas Air National Guard duty during the Vietnam War.
The person who killed Falzoneâ€™s story about Trump and the porn actress should be fired right away if the investigation finds the story couldâ€™ve run back then, especially if that person didnâ€™t bother to tell superiors and to have a lawyer fact-check it. An aggressive, impartial news manager wouldâ€™ve done everything possible to run this.
Because of that Fox decision, it was NBC on Friday that broke the news:
- President â€œTrump’s personal attorney used his Trump Organization email while arranging to transfer money into an account at a Manhattan bank before he wired $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence,â€
- â€œThe lawyer, Michael Cohen, also regularly used the same email account during 2016 negotiations with the actress â€¦ before she signed a nondisclosure agreement,â€ and
- â€œClifford’s attorney at the time addressed correspondence to Cohen in his capacity at the Trump Organization and as â€˜Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump.â€™â€
Yesterday, she offered to return the $130,000 in exchange to speak freely about her interactions with Trump, and lawyer Cohen has said Trump â€œvehemently deniesâ€ any affair.
She even shot a 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper, but we havenâ€™t seen it yet. CBS News president David Rhodes said, â€œThe only reason it hasnâ€™t run is that thereâ€™s still a lot of journalistic work to do,â€ rather than any problem with the president.
Now, CNN reports a source close to the president said Mr. Trump
â€œhas been seeking counsel from confidantes on how he should handle the Stormy Daniels situation,â€ and â€œTrump is being told by advisers not to fight Daniels’ decision to break a confidentiality agreement because it would make him look guilty.â€
Itâ€™s also the reason Trump has stayed quiet and not tweeted about the issue.
CNN also says 60 Minutes â€œproducers are working to verify claims she madeâ€ and â€œthree sources confirmed to CNN that Clifford made new claims about Trump in the interview.â€
Sunday, BuzzFeed had reported â€œlawyers associated with President Donald Trump are considering legal action to stop 60 Minutes from airing” the interview but prior restraints are hardly ever granted. This isnâ€™t national security weâ€™re talking about!
Nah, this isnâ€™t a story Fox wouldâ€™ve been interested in taking the lead on. They let the other guys have it.
Then Saturday, The New York Daily News reported something that had been out there: â€œProminent host Jesse Watters â€¦ is in the midst of divorce due to an affair with a 25-year-old associate producer,â€ Emma DiGiovine, who worked on his show.
Fox is downplaying the dishonesty when it came to wedding vows, with a spokesperson saying,
â€œWithin 24 hours of Jesse Watters voluntarily reporting to the Chief of Human Resources in November 2017 that he was in a consensual relationship with a woman on his staff, management met with both parties and a decision was made for the woman to be transferred to work on another program on the network where she currently remains.â€
DiGiovine now works on The Ingraham Angle.
Sources told The News the
â€œhost informed the network of his adulterous relationship â€¦ shortly after Noelle filed divorce papers.â€
In other words, his wife â€“ Noelle Watters â€“ had already busted him!
Watters, 39, has twin girls with wife, who filed for divorce in October.
(Facebook picture posted Sept. 9, 2017.)
That makes his mistress, DiGiovine, a homewrecker.
In the Fox turmoil, Watters replaced Eric Bolling on The Five when Bolling got his own show, but Bolling was booted â€œin September following a report he sent unsolicited photos of male genitalia to colleagues.â€
Sources told The News rumors of Wattersâ€™
â€œrelationship with DiGiovine spread within the network late last year as both posted social media photos of their outings together, including on a Caribbean vacation.â€
Yes, unfortunately, things like this happen in practically every office and business, and probably more in TV journalism considering the looks, money, and egos. But there’s just something about this certain company. Maybe leadership from the top.
In this case, Watters has been in trouble before.
The Daily News remembered,
â€œIn July 2014, he called voters who are single women â€˜BeyoncÃ© votersâ€™ after her â€˜Single Ladiesâ€™ hit.
â€œThey depend on government because theyâ€™re not depending on their husbands. â€¦ They need things like contraception, health care and they love to talk about equal pay.â€
â€œHis conservative humor bombed in October 2016 when he filmed a segment in Chinatown full of racist stereotypes. He greeted a Chinatown resident with a bow and asked another if he knew karate.
â€œWatters later apologized.â€
And to complete the trifecta,
â€œThe far-right funnyman landed in hot water again in April 2017 when he made what appeared to be a lewd comment about Ivanka Trump.
â€œI really liked how she was speaking into that microphone,â€ he said, while making a vulgar gesture. He took a vacation after the controversy, saying he hadnâ€™t meant to be offensive.
â€œDuring the break we were commenting on Ivankaâ€™s voice and how it was low and steady and resonates like a smooth jazz radio DJ. â€¦ This was in no way a joke about anything else.”
So, to recap:
- He violated his marriage vows and will probably pay a fortune over many, many years.
- He has shown a lack of judgment at work before (and so have his supervisors, who let the stuff air).
- His pieces judge other people (not that they don’t make themselves look like idiots), and
- Heâ€™s in no position to be judging.
And Iâ€™d say that makes him unfit for his role. He should probably spend some time in local television, if that. But thatâ€™s not going to happen, and here is why:
The Daily Beast reported Watters â€“ the adulterer, not the victim â€“ and Sebastian Gorka dined with President Trump at The White House last Monday. Gorka is a Fox News contributor. Also, he was a White House official from January to August, 2017, and aide to former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
President Trump reportedly invited them because â€œhe couldnâ€™t get enough of them on TV,â€ and wanted to confab with them about what heâ€™d seen on Fox News, politics, gossip, and his administration.
Chief of Staff John Kelly fired Gorka a week after firing Bannon. According to Wikipedia, Gorka claims â€œhe resigned because he believed White House officials were undermining the â€˜Make America Great Againâ€™ platform.â€
The Daily Beast says Gorkaâ€™s detractors call him â€œan academic fraud, an anti-Muslim zealot, and even an ally to Nazi and fascist sympathizers who never should have set foot on White House grounds.â€ But â€œhe is a fan-favoriteâ€ to others.
The Daily News article did not say whether Watters brought along his own â€˜+1â€™. He did tweet a picture of the autographed menu.
That brings up three questions:
- How can Watters â€“ who made his mark on Oâ€™Reillyâ€™s show, of all places â€“ be honest with viewers if he canâ€™t be honest with his wife?
- How can Fox be seen as neutral when it comes to politics?
- And with all that has happened, is there something in the â€œwaterâ€ at Fox News?
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