New York Magazine: Ailes used Fox News Budget to Finance Campaigns Against Enemies

by Chitown Kev –

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The fallout from Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment suit against former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has widened and deepened as Gabriel Sherman at New York magazine is reporting that Ailes used portions of the Fox News budget to finance campaigns against his enemies.

According to three highly-placed sources, part of the answer is that there were few checks on Ailes when it came to the Fox News budget. “It was the culture,” one Fox executive said. “You didn’t ask questions, and Roger wouldn’t entertain questions.” One former News Corp executive explained that because Fox made more than $1 billion in annual profits, the funds that were used for settlements amounted to little more than “a rounding error.”

But with Ailes gone, Fox executives are now looking closely at how Ailes spent Fox money. And what they are discovering is that, beyond the sexual harassment claims, Ailes was also able to use portions of the Fox budget to hire consultants, political operatives, and private detectives that reported only to him, according to a senior Fox source. Last week, according to the source, Fox News dismissed five consultants whom Ailes had hired to do work that was more about advancing his own agenda than Fox’s. One of the consultants, Bert Solivan, ran negative PR campaigns against Ailes’s personal and political enemies out of Fox News headquarters, a source said. A Fox News spokesperson confirmed: “Solivan was recently informed that his services were no longer needed.” Solivan, who had previously worked for Fox News as a general manager of the channel’s website, did not respond to requests for comment.

Included with other targets of Ailes “Black Room” operation was the author of the piece, Gabriel Sherman.

I was also the target of an operation, a highly-placed source told me: In 2012, while I was researching a biography of Ailes, Fox operatives set up web pages to attack my reputation, and Fox funds paid for Google search ads against my name that linked to the sites. One source also said private investigators employed by Fox contributor Bo Dietl were instructed to follow me and my wife. (Dietl’s firm was used to track Andrea Mackris, the producer who accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment in 2004, the source said). When reached by phone, Dietl said: “I have no real comments. I love Roger Ailes. He built one of the great news channels out of nothing. He’s a very successful guy.”

Maybe the Murdochs are trying to clean house at Fox News. Maybe not. Be nice if they took some of that toxic political sewage off of the air.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos