Fox News Spews Mind-Changing Propaganda


The sex scandals and political bias revealed at Fox News in recent weeks provide proof positive that the network functions as a propaganda operation that is even worse than its competitors.

The network’s corrupt “news” values are typified by Fox failure to cover for more than a few minutes the sex scandal allegations against Fox founding leader Roger Aisles by two former Fox anchors, Gretchen Gretchen Carlson FoxCarlson (a former Miss America shown at right) and Andrea Tantaros.

Carlson and Tantaros filed separate lawsuits this summer against Ailes in a scandal that prompted his resignation as chairman/CEO of the network he founded in 1996 with Rupert Murdoch's global empire.

More than a score of other Fox employees or former employees besides those plaintiffs are reputed to have exposed Ailes on similar grounds either privately or publicly in recent weeks. That's according to New York Magazine's intrepid reporter Gabriel Sherman, author of the 2014 biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.

Gabriel Sherman 2014 Ailes biographyTantaros claimed in her suit that the network "operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult."

But as of Aug. 14, Fox had devoted just 11 minutes of airtime to six weeks to the scandal even though it prompted the chairman's resignation, according to a Washington Post story, Fox News confronts (but just barely) a scandal in its own house.

That self-censorship fits Fox's suppression of many other legitimate news stories and its biased treatment through the years hoking up phony scandals, including its transparently bogus reports this month claiming that Hillary Clinton is medically unfit for the presidency. Associated Press reporter Lisa Lerer debunked that story in her first-person account of a supposed uncontrollable fit by Clinton: Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there.

Today’s column reports these specifics in the context of the long, disgraceful pattern whereby Fox and other major U.S. media have worked through the decades to spike vitally important stories and manufacture phony crusades for political purposes, ranging from presidential politics to more narrow back-stabbing. Last week, for example, it CNN reported: Revealed: Fox News' 400-page oppo file on Gabriel Sherman.

Slanted stories on the nation's most important events have always been a major problem, as indicated by the cover-up of the true facts behind President Kennedy's 1963 assassination, which all major media continued five decades later as we reported in Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory as part of a 30-part "Readers Guide" to coverage of the murder.

Yet Fox News is especially corrupt even amidst such a grim landscape, in which public opinion polls rate the media as among the most dishonorable American organizations and occupations.

Laurie Luhn (personal photo)That should cause no surprise. Ailes and Murdoch are notorious in employing ruthless methods to achieve power, including brilliant strategies for combining patriotism, entertainment and sex into money-making success. Along with business and political success, Ailes is the author of the iconic best-seller You Are the Message, and worked with political hit man Lee Atwater on the Willie Horton smear campaign in the 1988 presidential election. His boss Rupert Murdoch has presided over many, many internal scandals through the decades.  

Now, Ailes is also the target of particularly repulsive allegations that he used a form of mind-control to sexually and professionally subjugate a longtime staffer, Laurie Luhn, for 20 years, as described below.

Ailes, like Fox, has declined to respond in detail. But as one of the never-ending surprises of the 2016 presidential campaign, GOP nominee Donald Trump is reported to be drawing on Ailes for advice in debate and other campaign strategies. 

Coverage of sex scandals provides solid evidence for serious criticism of this multi-billion-dollar new operation, strange as it might seem.

The reasons? For one, Fox and a number of its affiliates founded much of their success on sexually oriented content, including the New York Post's revelations Aug. 28 breaking up the marriage of Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin and former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner. Anthony WeinerSo there's nothing more apt than an apples-to-apples comparison of how the Murdoch empire treats its own scandals.

Also, media revelations of sex scandals are often linked to political goals, both the ruthless destruction of targeted opponents and blackmail intimidation of other political targets who fear exposure unless they comply with secret demands for favorable decisions on policy.      

Murdoch's companies, like some competitors, are well-acquainted with the dark side of such scandal manipulation. In 2011, for example, several top executives at Fox's parent company News Corp. were arrested on charges of using illegally hacked cellphone data to blackmail high-ranking officials in Britain on government policy, as we reported here in the 2012 column PBS Report on Murdoch Shows How ‘Hacking’ Led to Political Blackmail. The scandal reached to the highest levels of the company. 

More generally, two score of the leading newspapers, broadcasters, magazines and wire services in the United States worked cooperatively with the CIA to foster CIA-friendly coverage in the Operation Mockingbird program during the 1950s and 1960s to misreport, among other matters, investigation into the JFK assassination, the crime of the century. That pattern has continued in many ways, as indicated below, tainting coverage to some degree at virtually all of the remaining media organizations on their current coverage.

We begin with a brief overview of the history of the Fox Network and its parent company's blackmailing and political intrigues, before before addressing more recent revelations of longstanding sex scandals at the Fox News.

The larger context of other such propaganda by media barons shows that news outlets have always been biased to some degree. But the manipulations at Fox are especially insidious because they are crafted with largely subconscious psychological tools to enrage viewers, helping foster angry voters without the basic information to take effective action. 

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. and Fox News

The Fox News Channel, also known as Fox News, is a basic cable and satellite-delivered U.S. outlet within the global media News Corp. empire of Australian-born Rupert Murdoch, 85. A 2012 photo by David Shankbone shows Murdoch at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
 
Rupert MurdochEducated at Oxford, Murdoch inherited from his father two regional newspaper holdings and a radio station. The younger Murdoch founded Australia's first national newspaper in 1964. Four years later, he purchased the News of the World in the United Kingdom. He became that nation's leading media baron, first with tabloids and then with the satellite service SKY TV and such prestigious outlets as The Times, where he won regulatory approval on a false promise to retain the paper's top management. 
 
In 1985, Murdoch became a naturalized U.S. citizen. His success coincided with deregulatory policies beginning in the Reagan Administration. These increasing "cross-ownership" of different kinds of media under single ownership with lessened FCC and antitrust restrictions. Those policies enabled his acquisition of afternoon tabloids in such cities as New York and Boston and later encompassed broadcast, film and book publishing properties. 

Roger AilesThe Fox Entertainment Group created irreverent programming such as "Married with Children" and "SouthPark."

Its subsidiary Fox News launched in 1996 under the leadership of former Republican Party media consultant and CNBC executive Roger Ailes.

With such hosts as Bill O'Reilly (an original hire in 1996 after hosting "Inside Edition"), Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly, it has leveraged its conservative slant to become the most popular of the cable news networks and highly competitive with the three pre-existing network television networks, ABC, CBS and NBC. 

Fox News built its appeal on a politically conservative slant, with hosts, reporters and guest commentators frequently slamming Democrats, liberals and other media for their policies and values. Longtime newspaper and broadcast commentator Llewellyn King, a friend of this editor, explained that success in a column this summer: The ‘Formula’ That Made Roger Ailes and Fox.

"In the beginning," King wrote a column syndicated to Newsday among other outlets, "there was Rupert Murdoch. He created the formula. Then he met Roger Ailes and installed him as head of what would become America’s most successful cable news channel, Fox News Channel, also known as Fox News. And so the formula of conservatism and sex, pioneered on a newspaper in Britain, came to television and the rest, as they say, is history."

Fox News ChannelIn 2004, O'Reilly and his former producer Andrea Mackris temporarily disrupted that image by suing each other for $60 million. She asserted lurid details of sexual harassment by the married host O'Reilly. He claimed extortion. They and the network settled their suits under terms that remain confidential.

On Aug. 30 this week, the Washington Post reported Fox News legal filing leaves host Bill O’Reilly dangling regarding allegations against O'Reilly of harassment that Fox did not try to defend.

In 2011, a vastly more serious challenge to the company occurred upon revelations that its largest British newspaper News of the World had exploited illegally hacked cellphones of crime victims, other celebrities and political figures.

As we summarized in 2012:

Rupert Murdoch’s news and entertainment empire used illegal electronic surveillance for many years in what became, in effect, a political blackmail operation targeting government officials in the United Kingdom. That was a theme of Murdoch’s Scandal, a compelling investigative report broadcast by Frontline on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

The nearly hour-long documentary illustrates why reform efforts so often fail in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Murdoch employees used illegal electronic surveillance ("hacking") along with private detectives and payoffs to monitor political figures, as well as sports and entertainment celebrities, and crime victims. Murdoch and his top executives said for years that any abuses were the work of one "rogue" reporter and a private investigator. But the scandal exploded following revelations that his employees hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, a teenage murder victim. Murdoch employees then reported messages from her phone, giving false hope she was still alive -- and prompting public outrage years later upon discovery of the fraud.

Nick DaviesNick Davies, at right, is the Guardian reporter who broke the story. Most fellow journalists and public officials were too intimidated to pursue the evidence. He explains why the reform process took years: His nation's dominant news organization along with London's police and dominant political figures, some of whom were being blackmailed, lied about the evidence and otherwise blocked the probe.

Frontline correspondent Lowell Bergman and producer Neil Docherty show how Murdoch's minions used their media power to arrange jobs and favorable coverage for police officials. News executives manipulated other government officials at the highest levels of government, including prime ministers.

Rupert Murdoch"Reward and punishment is how this company works," commented Michael Wolff, a Vanity Fair writer who interviewed Murdoch many times in researching a 2008 biography, The Man Who Owns the News about a media empire valued at $70 billion.

"That's essentially the business model," Wolf continued. "That's what newspapers are for him. He likes to cultivate the sense that he knows more than you know and that he has information that he can use. So on any number of occasions he will have said to me in reference to somebody, ‘Oh, we have pictures of him.' In other words, the implication is: we have pictures of him in some kind of compromising situation."

Rupert Murdoch News of the WorldMurdoch closed the News of World, the UK's largest newspaper. Murdoch himself underwent embarrassing investigation, including a hearing in which a protester threw a pie at Murdoch as his much-younger third wife defended him. But only one former senior executive, Andy Coulson, was convicted during an eight month trial. Details:  Ex-UK tabloid editor convicted of phone hacking.

Our Justice Integrity Project followed the scandal closely for more than a year. We were especially interested in the use of hacking by journalists and political operatives to blackmail public officials. Such practices block normal efforts at government reform, whether in the UK or United States. The U.S. probe closed with no charges, as reported by Reuters, among others, in Justice Department drops News Corp probe related to phone hacking.

Coverage of Sexual Harassment Claims Against Fox News

In early July, former "Fox & Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes alleging that he fired her for rebuffing his sexual advances and challenging a sexist newsroom culture. As reported by the Huffington Post:

Gretchen Carlson Book cover Getting RealCarlson, who spent 11 years at the network, described being ostracized and marginalized by Fox News for pushing back against condescending treatment. After seven and a half years as a co-host on “Fox & Friends,” the top-rated cable morning news show, Carlson was reassigned in 2013 to an early afternoon time slot. Fox News terminated her employment on June 23.

In the suit, Carlson (shown in a photo from her memoir) claims she tried addressing what she considered to be discriminatory treatment during a September 2015 meeting with Ailes, who allegedly responded that their problems could have been better solved if they had a sexual relationship.

“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” Ailes told Carlson, according to the suit.

Ailes and Fox had no immediate comment.

The Carlson suit prompted a number of follow up stories quoting others as complaining about sexual harassment by Ailes during his long career, including at Fox. Several of the major ones were by New York Magazine writer Gabriel Sherman.

In one, Sherman reported July 9 for New York Magazine: Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them.

He followed with Sources: Megyn Kelly Told Murdoch Investigators That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her: It began, "As a chorus of prominent Fox News women have gone public defending Roger Ailes against the wave of sexual-harassment allegations sparked by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit, the network’s biggest star, Megyn Kelly, has been conspicuously silent. Kelly’s refusal to join in Ailes’s orchestrated defense has led to speculation about why."

Megyn Kelly Fox News PhotoNow we have the answer. According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly (shown in a file photo) has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

Kelly’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes. As New York reported yesterday, Rupert and sons James and Lachlan, the three top executives at 21st Century Fox, have, according to multiple sources, decided that Ailes needs to be removed. Kelly, who has become something of a feminist icon thanks to her tangles with GOP nominee Donald Trump, is seen by many inside Fox as the future of the network. She’s currently in contract negotiations, and given that Bill O’Reilly has said he’s considering retirement, Fox can’t afford to lose her.

According to two sources, Monday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face being fired for cause....Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, sources say. Note: Roger Ailes’ Days Running Fox News May Be Numbered, according to a separate report July 18.

Then Sherman reported: Former Fox News Booker Says She Was Sexually Harassed and ‘Psychologically Tortured’ by Roger Ailes for More Than 20 Years. "The morning after Fox News chief Roger Ailes resigned," Sherman's article began, "the cable network’s former director of booking placed a call to the New York law firm hired by 21st Century Fox to investigate sexual-harassment allegations against Ailes. Laurie Luhn told the lawyers at Paul, Weiss that she had been harassed by Ailes for more than 20 years, that executives at Fox News had known about it and helped cover it up, and that it had ruined her life."

“It was psychological torture,” she later told me. Luhn, shown in a personal photo via New York Magazine, alleged a depraved level of sexual ubjugation and mental abuse by the married Ailes as a requirement for employment. 

Ailes and Fox declined comment because of litigation. Following the resignation of Ailes with an undisclosed retirement package estimated in value at some $70 million Tantaros filed her suit. The Washington Post reported Aug. 23 in Andrea Tantaros sues Fox News, calling it a ‘sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult

Andrea Tantaros Fox Photo“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” her lawsuit says. The Post article by media reporter Paul Farhi continued:

Fox and Tantaros (shown in a promotional photo) have been at odds since last year, when the network said she breached her employment contract by writing a book without Fox’s approval. She has not appeared on Fox for months as a result of the dispute. Fox’s attorney has previously claimed in an arbitration hearing that her claims of sexual harassment were an attempt to gain leverage in her dispute over the book. Since Carlson’s suit was filed July 6, more than 20 women have told her attorneys that they were harassed by Ailes during his long career in television, dating as far back as the mid-1960s.

Fox and its employees have repeatedly argued that they do not comment on pending litigation. That's strictly news management and propaganda. Other newsmakers seldom get away with that excuse. 

Brief History: American Press Lords and News Manipulation for Political Purposes

The American tradition of a free press protected by the Constitution's First Amendment deserves praise but is hardly the entire story.

Charles "CD" Jackson and Darryl ZanuckCoexisting with the conventional image of a fearless press holding the powerful accountable is darker tradition that can be discerned in books and documents, and even in such famous films as The Front Page. It involves press lords and their henchmen concocting phony stories and suppressing others according to the owners' financial, political, and other personal interests.

One sense of this dark tradition comes from Time-Life founder Henry Luce, who is reputed to have told his staff that Time was "an opinion magazine -- and the opinion is mine." Luce often worked with a top aide, Charles "C.D." Jackson, shown at left and often regarded as the nation's top expert in psychological warfare.

Similarly, Luce rival, Averill Harriman, publisher of Newsweek, heir to one of the great fortunes in U.S. history and a future New York governor, is reported to have written a friend that he would never permit a "hired man" at Newsweek to contradict Harriman's own foreign policy views in a column.

Philip GrahamWhat follows are several more recent sensitive examples of hidden influence by elites. It's worth noting also at the outset that levers of control on a typical news outlet are so hard to discern and reporters tend to be so busy with deadlines that's few working journalists or even journalism professors know much about the facts below.

As noted above, Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence the top 40 or so media companies, plus other private organizations, including unions and other civic groups.

Future CIA Director Allen Dulles organized Operation Mockingbird in the 1950s. The organization recruited leading American journalists and other opinion leaders into a network to help advance the CIA's views on sensitive matters. The CIA funded student and cultural organizations and magazines as fronts, and also influenced foreign media and political campaigns.

Washington Post Publisher Philip Graham coordinated fellow owners of some 40 leading newspapers, broadcast networks, magazines and wire services for the program. Graham is shown in a file photo. His wife Katharine Graham recalled in her memoir that they dined about once a week with the CIA's Operation Mockingbird liaison Frank Wisner and his wife. Philip Graham and Wisner were each listed as suicides in the 1960s, and the CIA continued the program under World War II war hero Cord Meyer.

Cord Meyer and Mary Pinchot Meyer

The program undoubtedly thwarted coverage of the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, as well as many less-known stories. These include the capital city's leading unsolved murder, the 1964 shooting of Mary Pinchot Meyer. She was Cord Meyer's ex-wife (and is shown with him after World War II).

Also, she was a JFK lover in the 1960s after her divorce at a time when she was the sister-in-law of the Post-owned Newsweek's Washington Bureau Chief Ben Bradlee.

Bradlee, as the Post's executive editor for much of the next two decades, hid from the public that he had allowed his friend and CIA counter-intelligence chief James J. Angleton (shown at right) to ransack Meyer's home after her death and steal her diary.

James Jesus AngletonThat cover-up and media manipulation continues to the present, as reported in our column last year Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You.  It reported how Fox host Bill O'Reilly, once an honest reporter valiantly pursuing leads on the Kennedy murder, sold out and accepted conventional wisdom, and was then caught telling a major JFK-related lie in his best-selling book Killing Kennedy.

The role of Fox competitor CNN deserves mention also in this brief overview of media manipulation, past and present. The self-proclaimed "most trusted name in news" repeatedly disgraces itself with biased coverage of vital issues, not coincidentally on the same kinds of topics that its parent company Time-Life slanted during the Operation Mockingbird era.     

Lee Harvey Oswald Life Magazine Cover Feb. 24, 1964Nearly all of the nation’s major media have disgraced themselves for more than half a century by failing, for example, to report the basics of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 and the cover-ups that have continued to the present. The CIA’s “Operation Mockingbird” coordinated by the Washington Post exemplified the lockstep of the nation’s 40 major news organizations on the JFK killing and similar events involving covert operations.

That pattern is readily apparent both at the Post and CNN, for instance, on other stories, as described below in a segment describing how the Time-Life, Inc. predecessor of CNN’s owner Time Warner was run during the JFK presidency by Charles “CD” Jackson. Jackson was regarded as America’s top expert on propaganda following his leadership in World War II psychological warfare, expertise in magazines, liaison to other sectors (including film, publishing, financial and secret societies), and post as President Eisenhower's special assistant for international affairs.

Lee Harvey Oswald militaryFor a man with that skill set to run under Henry Luce several of the nation's important magazines, (including the newsweekly Time and the photo magazine Life), was no coincidence, as were its treatments of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald would repeatedly demonstrate.

Compare, for example, the photos of Oswald as a Marine entrusted with sensitive work (including with the U-2 spy plane operation) with Life Magazine's bizarre shot of a supposed would-be assassin toting a murder weapon in a pose that almost defied gravity if real.

 And from that morass, Fox News has emerged as this era’s most blatant and perhaps powerful propaganda vehicle. Here’s why and how.

Biased Recent Coverage of Clinton Heath

Among the many distorted stories promoted by Fox these days, the most obvious (aside from the network's neglect of the sex scandal allegations) is probably its disinformation campaign parading pseudo experts speculating that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has serious health problems. Details are summarized in a CNN discussion: Brian Stelter: Sean Hannity Irresponsibly "Spreading Conspiracy Theories" About Hillary Clinton Health Problems on Aug. 14, 2016.

"Conspiracy theories are so much more interesting than the truth," Stelter said. "But the last time I checked, Fox still has the word news in its name."

Fox drew on other sources, including Trump and conservative writer Mike Cernovich, who claimed that a "board-certified anesthesiologist with 36 years of experience" diagnosed Hillary Clinton with Parkinson's Disease.

The evidence for the claims was scant at best, and readily rebutted by such independent observers as Associated Press reporter Lisa Lerer, who has covered Clinton for a year on the campaign trail and wrote a column about one major "incident" cited by Fox News headlined Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there.

Yet seemingly as "proof" that something was amiss with Clinton, Hannity exclaimed: "Watch the reporter, like, pull back as she — the reporter got scared. And she keeps doing it. What is that?"

The allegation does not even pass the common sense test. Campaigning for a presidential nomination non-stop with speeches, travel, fund-raisers, and hundreds of individual interviews is a challenging proposition that few could even pretend to undertake if afflicted with serious health issues.

Beyond that, Clinton recently provided a doctor's report comparable to previous presidential candidates, and in sharp contrast Trump's 'letter" scribbled by a doctor in a five-minute limo ride to Trump Tower last December.

Hillary Clinton Benghazi Committee CNN Pompeo 10-22-15And just ten months ago, she displayed on national television steadfast testimony and endurance, at the minimum, against a hostile Republican-led committee that grilled her during a hearing that last 12 hours.

As indicated in our Clinton's Benghazi Hearing Creates Fireworks On Partisan Claims, we have reported extensively on half-truths by both Clinton, President Obama and Republicans regarding the Benghzi deaths but cite that hearing (portrayed at left) here simply as visible evidence of the candidate's stamina and control, not for the substance of the discussion.

Summing Up

On Sunday, Aug. 28, Fox "Media Buzz" host Howard Kurtz illustrated the station's hypocrisy by denouncing Univision anchor Jorge Ramos for harsh criticisms of GOP nominee Donald Trump. "Stop using your cloak as an anchor," Kurtz ordered Ramos, "to disguise your role as an advocate."

That's silly coming from Kurtz, who has devoted his talents to self-serving and biased advocacy on behalf of his masters at the Washington Post, CNN and Fox for more than two decades while pretending to be a neutral media critic instead of a political manipulator with many conflicts.

 
Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment
 
 
 

 

Richard Dawkins

 

Coverage of Sexual Harassment / Vendetta Claims Against Fox News (Reverse Chronological Order)

Associated Press via Huffington Post, Fox News Settles With Gretchen Carlson Amid Growing Sexual Harassment Scandal, Alana Horowitz Satlin, Sept. 6, 2016. The former “Fox and Friends” host sued the network’s former chief, Roger Ailes. Fox News has reached a settlement with former “Fox and Friends” host Gretchen Carlson over allegations that the network’s disgraced former CEO sexually harassed her, the network said in a statement Tuesday. Fox will pay Carlson $20 million to end her lawsuit against Roger Ailes, Vanity Fair reported. Ailes received a $40 million severance package.

“We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve,” Fox said in the statement. Carlson had said in her lawsuit that Ailes made sexual advances toward her. She alleged her former co-host, Steve Doocy, also mistreated her.

She said in a statement Tuesday that she was “gratified” that Fox took decisive action after she filed her complaint. “I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace,” Carlson said. “I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen. All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded.”

Huffington Post, Roger Ailes Hires Lawyer For Possible Lawsuit Against New York Magazine, Kim Bellware, Sept. 5, 2016. Ailes’ lawyer has represented figures like Hulk Hogan and Melania Trump. Roger Ailes, the co-founder and recently ousted CEO of Fox News, has hired a well-known libel lawyer for a possible suit against New York magazine and its reporter Gabriel Sherman. Ailes has retained Charles Harder, a Hollywood lawyer who most recently helped former pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan win a $140 million lawsuit that bankrupted the news and gossip website Gawker. The hiring was first reported by the Financial Times.

A New York magazine spokeswoman confirmed to The Huffington Post that Harder has contacted the publication and Sherman on Ailes’ behalf and has requested they “preserve documents” related to the Ailes stories for a possible defamation suit.

“The letter sent by Harder was not informative as to the substance of their objections to the reporting,” the spokeswoman said. “Sherman’s work is and has been carefully reported.”

Huffington Post, Greta Van Susteren Is Leaving Fox News, Michael Calderone, Sept. 5, 2016. The host’s abrupt departure comes just as 21st Century Fox settles a lawsuit with Gretchen Carlson over sexual harassment claims. Greta Van Susteren left Fox News on Tuesday after 14 years at the network, an abrupt departure that comes with just two months left in the 2016 election.

It’s highly unusual for a network host to leave so suddenly, and the move was announced right after 21st Century Fox settled a lawsuit with former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in July against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes that opened the floodgates to more than 20 women reportedly coming forward, including primetime star Megyn Kelly. Within weeks, Ailes resigned in disgrace from the top-rated cable network he launched and led for two decades.

Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine, who were recently named co-presidents following Ailes’ departure, said in a statement that they were “grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success.” They also announced that political analyst Brit Hume, a former evening news anchor and staple at the network throughout its existence, would take over Van Susteren’s 7 p.m. show “On the Record” through the election.

She described Carlson as “a disgruntled employee” to People magazine and said she’d never seen Ailes behave in the inappropriate manner described in media reports. Van Susteren again defended Ailes to the Daily Beast in an article in which she described having “a long-term deal” with the network.

Last week, Van Susteren defended herself in response to criticism of how she handled questions about Carlson’s suit. Van Susteren said she was only speaking about her experience with Ailes and that she hadn’t personally heard the sexual harassment allegations against her former boss.

Washington Post, Fox News legal filing leaves host Bill O’Reilly dangling, Erik Wemple, Aug. 30, 2016. When Andrea Tantaros filed her Aug. 22 sexual harassment suit against Fox News and various top executives, she spared few colleagues. Defendants included the network itself, former chief Roger Ailes and four top executives. “The fish stinks from the head,” alleges the complaint, citing a coterie of lieutenants who “condoned” the alleged harassment by Ailes.

Andrea Tantaros Fox PhotoBroadening out from there, the suit cited the names of various colleagues who were only remotely related to the charges at hand. For instance, the document alleges that Ailes gossiped with Tantaros (shown in a file photo) about various Fox News personalities. He reportedly said the following inappropriate things:

Not content to allow these folks to be thus embarrassed, Fox News, in a Monday filing that seeks to steer Tantaros’ suit into the secret world of arbitration, stood up for these folks. Such “gratuitous allegations,” says the Fox News motion, “serve no purpose other than to embarrass these individuals, and require a response.”

That response relies on resumes. That all makes sense. A network accused of rampant sexism must defend itself and its people. In this case, not all of its people, however. King of Cable News Bill O’Reilly stands accused in the Tantaros suit of pursuing his colleague, though he’s not named as a defendant in the suit. Here’s O’Reilly’s moment in the complaint:

[C]ommencing in February 2016, Bill O’Reilly (“O’Reilly”), whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by, inter alia, (a) asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be “very private,” and (b) telling her on more than one occasion that he could “see [her] as a wild girl,” and that he believed that she had a “wild side.”

So there are the allegations in the Tantaros suit; where is the rebuttal in the Fox News motion? It’s not in there. The Erik Wemple Blog this morning asked Fox News about the situation, and a spokesperson issued this statement: “There is nothing to defend in Tantaros’s suit because Mr. O’Reilly is not a defendant. He is mentioned once in a 37 page complaint, and that mention is not worth defending because it is untrue.” Fred Newman, a lawyer for O’Reilly, told The Post’s Paul Farhi just about the same thing: “I don’t think you should read anything into it. There is nothing to defend in Tantaros’s suit because Mr. O’Reilly is not a defendant.

CNN reported: Revealed: Fox News' 400-page oppo file on Gabriel Sherman, Brian Stelter, Aug. 26, 2016. The memo is dated January 5, 2012. "To: Interested Parties." "Re: Gabriel Sherman." Two full years before Sherman published a book about Roger Ailes, this book-length memo made the rounds inside Fox News. It has all the markings of "opposition research" about a political enemy — which is precisely how Ailes viewed Sherman.

The memo, obtained by CNNMoney from two anonymous sources, is a stunning display of Ailes' campaign-like strategies. It includes, among other things, property records, voter registration information, and a note that the researchers could find no criminal record for Sherman. A printout from the Westlaw database contains his past and present addresses and details of his mortgage. Another part of the briefing book, dated January 18, is a 41-page "Internet dredge" of notable tweets by Sherman, blog comments about him, and a New York Times write-up of his wedding.

Washington Post, Andrea Tantaros sues Fox News, calling it a ‘sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult,’ Paul Farhi, Aug. 23, 2016. The former host Tantaros alleges that she was sexually harassed by Roger Ailes and that his lieutenants retaliated against her for complaints.

“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” her lawsuit says.A Fox spokeswoman declined to address Tantaros’s claims, saying the network does not comment on pending litigation. Through his attorneys, Ailes has denied Carlson’s claims.

Fox and Tantaros have been at odds since last year, when the network said she breached her employment contract by writing a book without Fox’s approval. She has not appeared on Fox for months as a result of the dispute. Fox’s attorney has previously claimed in an arbitration hearing that her claims of sexual harassment were an attempt to gain leverage in her dispute over the book. Since Carlson’s suit was filed July 6, more than 20 women have told her attorneys that they were harassed by Ailes during his long career in television, dating as far back as the mid-1960s.

Washington Post, Fox News confronts (but just barely) a scandal in its own house, Paul Farhi, Aug. 14, 2016. Sexual harassment allegations about ex-boss Roger Ailes get the once-over-lightly treatment. It's one of the most intriguing stories of the summer, a tale of sex, money, politics and corporate skulduggery that would seem especially ripe for coverage and discussion by the firebrands at Fox News.

Except Fox News barely seems to have noticed. Ever since former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit July 6 against the network’s co-founder and chairman, Roger Ailes (shown in a file photo), Fox has been tight-lipped about telling its viewers about the allegations, which have turned the network upside down.

Roger AilesFox mentioned the lawsuit and Ailes’s subsequent resignation July 21, but that’s about all it has done since the news broke. It has not conducted a single on-camera interview with any person connected with the news, including Ailes, who built Fox into a clarion of the American conservative movement. According to Fox’s news-clip archive, there have been no panel discussions, no diatribes from Fox’s famously aggressive hosts, no follow-up investigations, no tributes to the Ailes era.

In all, Fox has devoted a total of about 11 minutes of airtime to the news about Ailes over the past five weeks, a review of the archive shows. That’s less time than Bill O’Reilly spent criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement on “The O’Reilly Factor” over a couple of days this month.

Daily Beast, Fox’s Andrea Tantaros: I Was Suspended After Ailes Harassed Me, Staff report, Aug. 8, 2016. Fox News conservative commentator Andrea Tantaros, who was mysteriously suspended from the network in April, alleges that her decline at the network is a result of her repeated complaints of sexual harassment by recently deposed executive Roger Ailes.

According to her lawyer, Tantaros “made multiple harassment and hostile-workplace complaints,” but Fox executives allegedly never investigated. According to Tantaros, Ailes began harassing her in 2012 when he asked her to do “the twirl” during a private meeting in his office. Several months later, she alleged, he made sexual advances at her. After filing a formal workplace complaint, Tantaro’s lawyer said, the Fox star was told by an executive not to fight such a “powerful man” like Ailes. One year later, after allegedly making a few more complaints, she was pulled off the air in April 2016.

Fox’s attorneys, however, dispute such an account. They say she was suspended because she failed to include the network in vetting her 2016 book , which includes a suggestive cover image of Tantaros bound by ropes.

New York Magazine, Former Fox News Booker Says She Was Sexually Harassed and ‘Psychologically Tortured’ by Roger Ailes for More Than 20 Years, Gabriel Sherman, July 29, 2016. The morning after Fox News Laurie Luhn (personal photo)chief Roger Ailes resigned, the cable network’s former director of booking placed a call to the New York law firm hired by 21st Century Fox to investigate sexual-harassment allegations against Ailes.

New York Magazine, Sources: Megyn Kelly Told Murdoch Investigators That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her, Gabriel Sherman, July 19, 2016. As a chorus of prominent Fox News women have gone public defending Roger Ailes against the wave of sexual-harassment allegations sparked by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit, the network’s biggest star, Megyn Kelly, has been conspicuously silent. Kelly’s refusal to join in Ailes’s orchestrated defense has led to speculation about why.

Now we have the answer. According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly (shown in a file photo) has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

Kelly’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes. As New York reported yesterday, Rupert and sons James and Lachlan, the three top executives at 21st Century Fox, have, according to multiple sources, decided that Ailes needs to be removed. Kelly, who has become something of a feminist icon thanks to her tangles with GOP nominee Donald Trump, is seen by many inside Fox as the future of the network. She’s currently in contract negotiations, and given that Bill O’Reilly has said he’s considering retirement, Fox can’t afford to lose her.

According to two sources, Monday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face being fired for cause. Ailes’s legal team — which now includes Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Michael Dukakis — has yet to respond to the offer. Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, sources say. Note: Roger Ailes’ Days Running Fox News May Be Numbered, according to a report July 18.

Huffington Post, Roger Ailes’ Days Running Fox News May Be Numbered, Michael Calderone, July 18, 2016. The Murdochs have reportedly agreed to remove the network’s CEO in response to a sexual harassment investigation. The Murdochs are having daily conversations about what they should do about Fox’s Rodger Ailes, according to the New York Times. Roger Ailes, the political and media mastermind who launched Fox News with Rupert Murdoch two decades ago, may soon lose his position atop the cable news giant amid sexual harassment accusations.

New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, the author of a critical 2014 biography of Ailes, reported Monday that Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James ― the top executives at parent company 21st Century Fox ― “have settled on removing” Ailes in light of an ongoing investigation into charges leveled by former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson. Given that Ailes created Fox News in his image, it’s hard to imagine the network without him. The former political operative, who advised three Republican presidents, built the conservative cable network into a media powerhouse, with revenue in excess of $1 billion and ratings long exceeding its rivals. Though 76, Ailes has continued to wield power and has not groomed a successor.

Over the last year, the Murdoch brothers have been modernizing the media empire built by their father ― with the notable exception of Fox News. Though they had tensions with Ailes, The New York Times reported Sunday they’ve left the network alone because of its continued ratings dominance and because the Fox News CEO “has little interest in corporate oversight.”

Gretchen Carlson FoxNew York Magazine, Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them, Gabriel Sherman, July 9, 2016. Fox News host Gretchen Carlson (shown at left) may be the highest-profile woman to accuse Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, but she is not the first. In my 2014 biography of the Fox News chief, I included interviews with four women who told me Ailes had used his position of power to make either unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate sexual comments in the office.

And it appears she won’t be the last, either.

In recent days, more than a dozen women have contacted Carlson’s New Jersey-based attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, and made detailed allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes over a 25-year period dating back to the 1960s when he was a producer on The Mike Douglas Show. “These are women who have never told these stories until now,” Smith told me. “Some are in lot of pain.”

Taken together, these stories portray Ailes as a boss who spoke openly of expecting women to perform sexual favors in exchange for job opportunities. “He said that’s how all these men in media and politics work — everyone’s got their friend,” recalled Kellie Boyle, who says Ailes propositioned her in 1989, shortly after he helped George H.W. Bush become president, serving as his chief media strategist.

Six of the women agreed to speak with New York publicly for the first time. Two spoke on the record; the others requested anonymity for reasons that include shame and fear of retribution. “I didn’t tell my husband, it was so mortifying,” said Marsha Callahan, a former model who says Ailes harassed her in the late ‘60s, shortly before he became Richard Nixon’s media adviser.

Ailes is clearly trying to keep these stories out of the press and the courts. Ailes's outside counsel Barry Asen responded: "It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false."

Here are the women’s accounts: 

Kellie Boyle, 54, Former Republican National Committee field adviser

This was back in 1989. I was 29 and living in New Jersey. My husband worked at CNBC and he said, ‘Roger Ailes is coming in to be interviewed, would you like to meet him?’ I said yes! I’d worked in political communications for the Republican National Committee; so Roger Ailes was like a God. I’d read his book, You Are the Message, and I used it for a lot of training I did for candidates....

Reuters via Huffington Post, Fox News’ Roger Ailes Demands Arbitration In Gretchen Carlson Harassment Case, Jonathan Stempel, July 9, 2016. Ailes’ lawyers said Carlson’s contract with Fox News had required her to arbitrate any employment disputes. Lawyers for Fox News chairman Roger Ailes on Friday asked a judge to halt anchor Gretchen Carlson’s “shameless publicity campaign” against her former boss, and send her sexual harassment lawsuit against him to arbitration in accordance with her employment contract.

The request came two days after Carlson sued Ailes in Superior Court in New Jersey, portraying him as a persistent harasser who demoted her and ultimately forced her from Fox News, her employer since 2005, after she rebuffed his advances. Ailes has forcefully denied Carlson’s allegations. Carlson’s lawyers, Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman, said their client intends to pursue her right to a public jury trial.

Huffington Post, Former Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Files Sexual Harassment Suit Against Roger Ailes, Staff report, July 7, 2016. Former "Fox & Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson alleged in an explosive lawsuit filed Wednesday that Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes fired her for rebuffing his sexual advances and challenging a sexist newsroom culture. 

 

Murdoch News Corporation & British Hacking/Blackmail

Lllewellyn King photo and logoWhite House Chronicle via Newsday, The ‘Formula’ That Made Roger Ailes and Fox, Llewellyn King, July 21, 2016. In the beginning, there was Rupert Murdoch. He created the formula. Then he met Roger Ailes (shown in a file photo) and installed him as head of what would become America’s most successful cable news channel, Fox News Channel, also known as Fox News. And so the formula of conservatism and sex, pioneered on a newspaper in Britain, came to television and the rest, as they say, is history.

I visited with Ailes when Fox News was just beginning its ascent. He was thrilled with the fact that it had just drawn slightly ahead of CNN Headline News. I do not think he realized then how potent the formula would be and what heights his creation would reach.

Associated Press via Yahoo! Ex-UK tabloid editor convicted of phone hacking, Jill Lawless, June 24, 2014. Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was convicted of phone hacking Tuesday, but fellow editor Rebekah Brooks was acquitted after a months long trial centering on illegal activity at the heart of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire.

A jury at London's Old Bailey unanimously found Coulson, the former spin doctor of British Prime Minister David Cameron, guilty of conspiring to intercept communications. Brooks was acquitted of that charge and of counts of bribing officials and obstructing police. The nearly eight-month trial was triggered by revelations that for years the News of the World used illegal eavesdropping to get stories, listening in on the voicemails of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims.

Three other defendants — Brooks' husband Charles, her former secretary Cheryl Carter and News International security chief Mark Hanna — were acquitted of perverting the course of justice by attempting to hide evidence from police. Former News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner was found not guilty of phone hacking.

Justice Integrity Project, PBS Report on Murdoch Shows How ‘Hacking’ Led to Political Blackmail, Andrew Kreig, March 30, 2012. Rupert Murdoch’s news and entertainment empire used illegal electronic surveillance for many years in what became, in effect, a political blackmail operation targeting government officials in the United Kingdom.  

Murdoch’s Scandal: The Essential Reads

From Milly Dowler to the parliamentary inquiry, Frontline provides here a quick and dirty guide to what you need to know as the saga continues to unfold:
 
* What It’s Like to Get “Monstered” by a Murdoch Tabloid
* Breaking the News Corp. Phone Hacking Scandal
* Frontline correspondent Lowell Bergman discusses “Murdoch’s Scandal” on NPR’s “Fresh Air.”
* New Arrests in Murdoch Phone Hacking Investigation
* The Cover-Up, Not the Crime, Brings Down James Murdoch
* Nick Davies: Breaking the Story that Brought Down “News of the World”
* How Does News Corp. Make Its Money?
* Kelvin MacKenzie: “I’m the Only One Who Will Defend Rupert Murdoch”
* A Private Investigator Explains the “Dark Arts” of Tabloid News
* Mark Lewis: The Lawyer Who “Walked Into a John Grisham Novel”
* Just How Big is News Corp.?
* Tom Watson: The Loneliest MP Investigating Phone-Hacking
* Rupert Murdoch’s Letter to Frontline

Reuters, Justice Department drops News Corp probe related to phone hacking, Staff report, Feb. 2, 2015. The United States Department of Justice has decided not to prosecute News Corp or its sister company Twenty-First Rupert MurdochCentury Fox after completing an investigation of scandals in Great Britain involving phone hacking and alleged bribery of public officials. The end of the probe, disclosed by News Corp in a regulatory filing on Monday, comes after the U.S. government spent years combing through thousands of e-mails from News Corp.'s servers. A U.S. law enforcement official confirmed to Reuters that the case, which included an investigation of possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, had been closed by the Justice Department. News Corp was notified about the decision on Jan. 28. The investigation was related to the 2011 phone hacking and bribery charges involving News Corp.'s British newspaper, the now-defunct News of the World. Journalists from News Corp.'s daily tabloid The Sun have also faced prosecution by British authorities. Rupert Murdoch controls both News Corp and Fox, which split into separate businesses in 2013.

Huffington Post, Phone Hacking Charges May Be Brought Against News Corp. In U.S., Michael Calderone, April 19, 2012. The News of the World phone-hacking scandal that exploded in England last summer with a spate of arrests, resignations and several ongoing investigations has remained mostly on that side of the Atlantic. But that could change if Mark Lewis, the British lawyer who has represented several phone hacking victims in the U.K. and who recently teamed up with two Manhattan-based attorneys, decides to file suits stateside on behalf of clients who believe their phones were hacked while on U.S. soil.

Reuters, Murdoch's media empire strikes back, March 29, 2012. An angry Rupert Murdoch on Thursday declared war against "enemies" who have accused his pay-TV operation of sabotaging its rivals, denouncing them as "toffs and right wingers" stuck in the last century.

Guardian (United Kingdom), What the police now know about Milly Dowler hacking, Nick Davies, Dec. 12, 2012. Operation Weeting investigation confirms most of original phone hacking story, but it is no longer clear what prompted initial deletion that gave Dowler family false hope Milly was still alive

FireDogLake, Murdoch Phone Hacking Scandal: Private Investigator Ordered to Reveal Who Gave Hacking Orders, Kevin Gosztola, August 19, 2011. A court has ordered Glenn Mulcaire to disclose information on who gave him the order to hack the phones of Elle Macpherson and at least five other public individuals, including a Liberal Democrat deputy leader. The Guardian reports, “Mulcaire has lost an attempt to appeal against a court order obliging him to identify who instructed him to hack the phones, something he has resisted since February.” Mulcaire worked for News International and was jailed for phone hacking in 2007. Leading the charge to force Mulcaire to share details is Murdoch Empire via Creative Commonsactor Steve Coogan, who was reported to be a hacking victim in 2006. The Murdoch business empire is summarized in a chart courtesy available via Creative Commons.

Daily Beast, Murdoch’s Lawyers Turn on Him, Sam Bungey, Aug. 17, 2011. First came the ex-staff lawyers, and now the London solicitors Harbottle & Lewis are firing back. But the real danger for Rupert Murdoch is if City firm Burton Copeland joins in. What the Murdochs need right now are some mob lawyers. They should have discreet counsel on how to limit exposure, on what to do and say if they are arrested, and maybe the occasional use of an unbugged room in which to conduct business under the protection of the attorney-client privilege. Instead, what the family is getting is less Corleone consigliere, more Fredo Corleone, rat.

Huffington Post, Phone Hacking: News Of The World Reporter Clive Goodman Alleges Huge Cover-Up, Wide Knowledge Of Hacking. Jack Mirkinson, Aug. 16, 2011. A former News of the World reporter has alleged that there was a massive cover-up of phone hacking at the paper. The account continues as follows: Clive Goodman, the former royal reporter jailed for his role in phone hacking, wrote a letter in 2007 claiming that phone hacking was "widely discussed" at editorial meetings, and that former editor Andy Coulson offered to let him keep his job if he agreed to say in court that he was a rogue element within the paper. The claims are deeply damaging to Coulson, who has always maintained that he did not know about the hacking going on at his paper. They are also politically perilous for UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who hired Coulson even as evidence mounted against him. Moreover, they raise fresh danger for James Murdoch, who claimed to Parliament that he did not know hacking at the paper was widespread until 2010.

Truthout, Me and Piers Morgan: Hacked and Attacked, How Morgan's Fabricated Story Almost Ruined This Reporter, Greg Palast, Aug. 8, 2011. I am not surprised that Piers Morgan has been outed for hacking phones (listening, in one case, to personal messages between Heather Mills and Paul McCartney).

I learned about the creepy antics of this one-man TV-host crime spree the hard way: as a victim of his crime-and-slime form of "journalism." On September 29, 1998, Piers Morgan's Mirror ran a screaming full page headline: SEX SCANDAL ROCKS LABOUR CONFERENCE. His paper had caught a rival paper's reporter who'd broken into the hotel room of a comely young rising star of the Labour Party. The reporter was caught there half undressed. I was that reporter. And the story was a complete load of crap. But Piers Morgan, "editor" of the Mirror, ran the report on Page One, and pages 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6—even though he knew it was fabricated.  He knew because he had fabricated it.

OpEd News, What Rupert Murdoch Means For You Personally, Russ Baker, July 26, 2011. Rupert Murdoch has had a profound influence on the state of journalism today. Here are 12 "take-away" points that are being obscured in the daily rush of revelations, and the related specialized coverage (his wife's wardrobe and demeanor, the effect on his company's stock price, etc.): 1) He has transformed world politics for the worse...Click link to read more.

White House Chronicles, Murdoch is felled by a disease he once cured, Llewellyn King, July 25, 2011. In the 1960s, even to an old union man like myself, British newspaper unions had reached a point at which they were a threat not only to the newspaper industry, but also to the freedom of the press itself. It took someone as ruthless and sociopathic as the unions to find a way to break their hold. That man was Rupert Murdoch and he did it with outstanding courage, cheek and military-like planning. So there is a fine irony that the Murdoch’s News Corp. now stands accused of many of the sins of the unions he disciplined: sociopathic arrogance; a desire to control the news as well as cover it; and a thuggish corruption that reached into the highest levels of at least three British administrations, Thatcher, Blair and Cameron; and has brought low the world’s largest and most storied police force, the Metropolitan Police, known as Scotland Yard.

Huffington Post, Sean Hoare Dead: News Of The World Hacking Whistleblower Found Dead In London, July 18, 2011. Sean Hoare, a former reporter for the News of the World who was the first to go on the record about Andy Coulson's alleged knowledge of the phone hacking there, has been found dead, according to the Guardian. He was found by police at his London home. Hoare was known to have problems with drugs and alcohol, and the police said that they were not treating the death as a suspicious one, though they did not reveal what caused Hoare to pass away. But it still comes as a grim coincidence during a period when the phone hacking scandal is escalating seemingly every day.

New York Times, British Police Arrest Rebekah Brooks in Phone Hacking, Alan Cowell and Ravi Somaiya, July 17, 2011. The British police on Sunday arrested Rebekah Brooks, the former chief of Rupert Murdoch’s media operations in Britain, according to a former associate at News International, the newspaper group at the heart of a phone-hacking scandal that is convulsing the Murdoch Rupert  Murdoch and wife Wendi empire, the British political elite and the police here. The timing, two days before a separate parliamentary inquiry into the crisis, drew a skeptical response from opposition lawmakers who said the arrest might inhibit Ms. Brooks’s ability or readiness to testify before the panel while she is the subject of police inquiries. David Wilson, a lawyer representing Ms. Brooks, said she “maintains her innocence, absolutely.” The photo at left of Murdoch and his wife, Wendi, is courtesy of Wikipedia. Born in China, she is not known to be especially active in his UK and U.S. operations. But his children, especially his son, James, have held key posts at various times.

Huffington Post, Rebekah Brooks Arrested In Connection With Phone Hacking Scandal, Dina Rickman, July 17, 2011. Rebekah Brooks has been arrested, the Metropolitan Police confirmed on Sunday. The former News International chief executive went to a London police station by appointment and was arrested on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking. Brooks is the 10th person to be arrested in connection to the new investigation into allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World.

Guardian (United Kingdom), Murdoch's worst hours are yet to come, Matt Wells, July 15, 2011. No relationship is safe, no loyal bond strong enough for Rupert Murdoch who – looking more than the sum of his 80 years – is mounting a final battle to save the company he built from nothing. His decision to throw Les Hinton to the wolves is his most dramatic move yet. For more than 50 years, as a journalist and then an executive, Hinton loyally served the Murdoch empire from its roots in Australia to the height of its power in New York. Hinton was ditched because he was the crucial link between Murdoch's valuable US businesses and the tainted operation in Britain. He was at the helm of NI – the holding company for his UK newspapers including the News of the World and the Times – when it seemed that everyone who was in sniffing distance of a significant news story found their phones being hacked.

Washington Post, FBI opens inquiry after report that News Corp. tried to hack phones of 9/11 victims, Jerry Markon and David S. Hilzenrath, July 14, 2011. The FBI has opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations that News Corp. employees sought to hack into the phones of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and tried to bribe law enforcement officers for information, U.S. officials said Thursday. FBI agents are reviewing information on the phone-hacking scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s British media operations and trying to determine if U.S. laws were broken, the officials said. Murdoch is chairman and chief executive of News Corp., which is based in New York and has extensive U.S. operations.

Biased Recent Coverage of Clinton Heath, JFK Assassination

Clinton Health

CNN, Brian Stelter: Sean Hannity Irresponsibly "Spreading Conspiracy Theories" About Hillary Clinton Health Problems, Tim Hains, Aug. 14, 2016. CNN host Brian Stelter blames Fox News host Sean Hannity for spreading "conspiracy theories" about the health of Hillary Clinton. Related Video: FOX News' Medical Team: What Do Hillary Clinton's Neurological Records Show? "Let me be clear," Stelter said. "That was reckless speculation by Sean Hannity. All of it."

"Conspiracy theories are so much more interesting than the truth," Stelter said. "But the last time I checked, Fox still has the word news in its name." Conservative writer Mike Cernovich, in an article on his website Friday, cited a "board-certified anesthesiologist with 36 years of experience," who diagnosed Hillary Clinton with Parkinson's Disease.

Associated Press via Philly.com, Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there, Lisa Lerer, Aug. 14, 2016. I've never been part of a conspiracy theory. Now, video of my surprised facial expression has become Exhibit A in the latest unfounded speculation about Hillary Clinton. It starts with Clinton's visit to a muffin shop in Washington on June 10, five days before the District of Columbia's Democratic primary. The then-presumptive Democratic nominee popped in for a photo op with Mayor Muriel Bowser and other officials supporting her campaign.

As an Associated Press reporter who's spent more than a year covering her candidacy, I was there for her appearance. After she ordered herself a "cold chai," my colleagues and I shouted some questions, mostly about Clinton's recent meeting with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Perhaps eager to avoid answering or maybe just taken aback by our volume, Clinton responded with an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously for a few seconds. Video of the moment shows me holding out my recorder in front of her, laughing and stepping back in surprise. After the exchange, she took a few more photos, exited the shop and greeted supporters waiting outside.

Two months later, that innocuous exchange has become the fodder for one of some Trump supporters' most popular conspiracy theories: her failing health. Where I saw evasiveness, they see seizures. Stringing the footage together with shots of Clinton seeming to get help going up stairs, they pressed the case that Clinton has health issues serious enough to disqualify her from the presidency. The hashtag? #HillaryHealth.

The conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity opened a 6-minute Thursday night segment titled "Hillary's Health" by saying, "as speculation swirls about Hillary Clinton's health," citing a headline from the right-wing news site Drudge Report. Hannity repeatedly played the muffin shop footage, describing what Clinton was doing as "this sort of twitching thing that she does in front of reporters that was really bad" and then as "a violent, violent, repetitive jerking of the head."

Justice Integrity Project, Clinton's Benghazi Hearing Creates Fireworks On Partisan Claims, Andrew Kreig, Oct. 22, 2015. A Republican-led House committee investigating the 2012 deaths of four Americans in Trey GowdyLibya focused heavily Oct. 22 on a prosecution-style attack on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for misleading comments and poor judgment. But it failed to address the major remaining secrets from the Obama administration's Libyan policies or to score significant new damage to the witness. 

Hillary Clinton Benghazi Committee CNN Pompeo 10-22-15Led by Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina (shown in file photo), the seven Republicans on a special House committee used much of the all-day hearing to grill Clinton in detail on her email correspondence as key to her priorities in failing to protect a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans from being killed from attackers in Benghazi.

Yet Clinton effectively parried most of their arguments by noting that the vast bulk of her information and decision-making from 2009 to 2013 involved non-email communications and that she and her top staff relied entirely on security professionals at the State Department.

JFK Assassination

Justice Integrity Project, Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You, Andrew Kreig, March 17, 2015. CNN reported this month that Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly lied in his best-seller Killing Kennedy about being present during gunshot death of Lee Harvey Oswald’s friend and suspected CIA handler George de Mohrenschildt.

The 1977 shooting in effect marked the beginning of the end of official investigations of the JFK murder. The circumstances, including the total lack of accountability for O’Reilly’s lie, showed that neither congress, the media nor the justice system dare confront that historic tragedy even though important witnesses remain alive today.

 

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Huffington Post, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, announced Monday that she is separating from her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), Paige Lavender, Huma Abedin October-2010-flickrAug. 29, 2016. “After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband,” Abedin said in a statement first reported by NBC News. She is shown in a file photo from 2010 via Flickr. 

“Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life," she continued. "During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”

Abedin’s announcement comes after the New York Post reported Weiner sent photos of his crotch to another woman, including an image that featured the couple’s son. Weiner deleted his Twitter account on Monday.