Business Insider pivots from doing Trump's dirty work to doing Roger Ailes' dirty work
The timing could be better.
Are Republicans gather in Cleveland for the GOP convention, another right wing battle is being waged in New York. According to NY Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, the Murdoch family had decided to remove Roger Ailes from his role as head of Fox News. The decision comes as lawyers working for Fox continue their investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes, particularly against former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson.
Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James — co-chairmen and CEO, respectively, of parent company 21st Century Fox — have settled on removing the 76-year-old executive, say two sources briefed on a sexual-harassment investigation of Ailes being conducted by New York law firm Paul, Weiss. After reviewing the initial findings of the probe, James Murdoch is said to be arguing that Ailes should be presented with a choice this week to resign or face being fired. Lachlan is more aligned with their father, who thinks that no action should be taken until after the GOP convention this week. Another source confirms that all three are in agreement that Ailes needs to go.
Ordinarily a story about a cable news company might be slightly outside Pando’s remit. Except for one small detail, buried right at the end of Sherman’s piece…
They are also looking into the appropriateness of Ailes’s pressuring employees to speak out on his behalf, against his accusers. For instance, they are focusing on an op-ed written by Fox Business anchor Neil Cavuto in which Cavuto called the allegations against Ailes “sick.” As Cavuto is a manager at Fox News (his title is senior VP and managing editor), his comments could be seen as part of a corporate attempt to silence women who would speak out.
The op-ed, in which Cavuto writes about “the character of Roger Ailes” and dismisses Carlson and her claims as “sick,” appeared not in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times but in… Business Insider.
I’ve written before about how, whenever a company is hit by scandal or rumors – whether than company is Uber or Gawker or anyone else – their first call always seems to be Business Insider, which can be relied up to publish “leaked” documents proving everything is just fine. Likewise, if a competitor (or two!) is causing you serious pain, all it takes is another "leak" to Business Insider to change the tone of the conversation.
I contacted Blodget for comment yesterday afternoon but he didn’t respond. Instead he forwarded my message to Executive Editor Brett LoGiurato who emailed a few minutes later…
Hi Paul --
Henry forwarded your note. Thanks for reaching out.
We’ve been covering all angles of this story for the past few weeks. Given Mr. Cavuto’s lengthy history with Mr. Ailes and at Fox News, we felt his op-ed provided an interesting perspective. We would do the same for anyone with similar insight.
I followed up to ask if Cavuto had pitched Business Insider personally or if the op-ed had actually been set up by Fox’s communications team. That was 20ish hours ago and LoGiurato hasn’t replied. For some reason.
Still, it doesn't hugely matter if, as I suspect, the whole thing is one big "let's do Fox PR's dirty work for them" exercise or if Cavuto really did stumble from his sick bed screaming "get me Henry Blodget on the phone!"
What matters is, if Sherman’s reporting is correct and lawyers have already found merit in Carlson’s claims, then publishing Cavuto’s op-ed is nothing less than victim-smearing (and sexual harasser defending) for pageviews. That’s a new low, even for Business Insider and Henry “Why Do People Hate The Jews? and by the way Donald Trump Is My Role Model” Blodget.
Shame on you, Henry. (Again.)