Turmoil Erupts In Fox News Offices Over Fear Of Firings And 'Snitches'
There's a new Rolling Stone story about the infighting inside Fox News studios in the aftermath of Tucker Carlson's firing, and whether it's funny or just pathetic probably depends more on your mood than on the circumstances.
The lede of the piece is that some of the "top" Fox News talking heads are worried that they're going to be next to find they no longer have a job at the studio. Before you get too excited about that, however, know that the hosts who have expressed worry about that, according to the "two sources," are Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro. Both played feature roles in pushing the 2020 election conspiracy theories that are now forcing Fox News to pay out $787.5 million to settle defamation claims brought against it by Dominion Voting Systems, and with fellow voting equipment manufacturer Smartmatic now stepping up to the plate for its own similarly-sized lawsuit it would be hard to imagine Bartiromo and Pirro's jobs not being in danger.
Any actual "news" company would probably have launched the pair out of the building years ago, given their longstanding penchant for bizarre claims and, for one of the pair, way too much online debate over how much of their on-air commentary can be blamed on [makes drinky-drinky gesture here]. So ... yeah. One would imagine "cost the boss three quarters of a billion American dollars" will be coming up in the performance reviews.
That said, neither they nor we have reason to be holding our breath here. Top-ranking Fox host Tucker Carlson appears to have been fired not for his behind-the-scenes efforts to make sure the Fox News division left the Republican election hoaxes undebunked, in the weeks leading up to the January 6 coup attempt, but because Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch thought he was getting too big for his britches. Nobody's ever gotten fired at Fox News for lying to the public on-air. Lots of people have been fired from Fox News because Rupert Murdoch has come to believe that they're endangering the company profit.
The much funnier allegations in Rolling Stone's story are that some Fox executives have "have grilled certain staff about whether they or their teams had recently blabbed to the press about Carlson’s abrupt dismissal," and that Fox staffers have been "changing journalist contacts to fake names" on their phones in order to hide who might be calling them, if the phone rings in the presence of management or "spies" who might "snitch" to management.
Fox executives aren't in a lather because their fact-averse incompetence just cost the company three quarters of a billion dollars. They're worked up because somebody inside the news company might have been talking to real reporters about Tucker's canning.
And if you work for Fox News, there's nothing worse than management learning you've once talked to a real reporter. Imagine the inquisition that would result, if a Fox reporter's phone rang and the name displayed was that of an actual journalist. Heads would roll!
The news, then, is that if we believe the story's inside-Fox sources (and they are very anonymous, because reasons), Fox offices are in an uproar of late, with angry questionings and surreptitious phone calls and members of the alleged journalistic institution muttering bitterly about snitches who might tell management about their own awful behaviors.
Another likely source of turmoil goes unsaid, however. What we've learned from both the Dominion lawsuit and the lawsuit against Fox News filed by a former Fox News producer is that Fox News working conditions are grotesque, with rampant misogyny, harassment, antisemitism, and workplace retaliation inside network offices. Rolling Stone's Fox News sources don't appear to have anything to say about that, but it seems more than likely that part of what's most roiling Fox offices is the thought of snitches who might come forward to level new charges of harassment and abuse.
In all of Fox News, is there really more than a handful of people who have to worry about management finding the phone numbers of outside journalists on their phones? Compare it to the number of Fox employees who were perfectly aware of the illegal workplace behaviors inside the company and who might have themselves engaged in some, and you can be why the current mood inside the building is more grim than just the firing of one ever-pompous wealthy fascist could account for.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.