Brand New President of Fox News Exits Amidst Continuing Sexual Harassment Scandals

The firing of top executives at Fox News is starting to become a regular routine. The network recently parted ways with its CEO Roger Ailes. Then they fired their top star, Bill O’Reilly, Now the man who replaced Ailes, Bill Shine, has been terminated (or resigned, depending on whose story you read).

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After Shine’s promotion he was almost immediately under pressure due to his prior relationships with Ailes and O’Reilly, Insiders alleged that he was an enabler of the misconduct engaged in by the tow fired Foxies. Plus he was said to have led smear campaigns against the accusers in order to delegitimize their claims. Shine’s dismissal was predicted early on and has now become official.

The successors to Shine’s position are two Fox News veterans. Suzanne Scott will preside over programming. While Jay Wallace will will run the news division. Fox patriarch, Rupert Murdoch issued a fawning memo describing Shine as someone who was “was liked and respected by everybody at Fox News.” It goes without saying that that was not universally true.

The promotion of Scott appears to be a crisis management decision. After so much bad publicity emanating from sexual harassment charges, Fox was anxious to cover up the problem with the elevation of its first female president. But Scott has been with Fox since its inception, so it begs the question as to why she was not rewarded previous to this.

The fallout from these affairs may still not be over. There are pending lawsuits against Fox News for both sexual and racial discrimination. Plus, another Fox celebrity may be on the razor’s edge. Sean Hannity was recently accused of sexual harassment. In addition, he took personally the complaints about Shine, who was his producer before joining the executive ranks. Hannity tweeted:

The “total end of the FNC as we know it?” That would be cause for celebration to many. But it’s a pretty foreboding comment to Fox insiders and fans. It may signal Hannity’s intention to part ways with the network as well. The Daily Beast’s Andrew Kirell has sources who say that Hannity may be gone by week’s end. If that’s true, this may be the fastest disintegration of a cable network ever. Remember that Fox already lost other prominent prime time personnel, Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and Greta Van Susteren. (Hmm. All women)

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It would be difficult for Fox News to maintain its ratings leadership after such an upheaval. They have already been challenged by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who has been beating them in the demo ratings recently. Now they are stuck with a nighttime lineup smugly anchored by Tucker Carlson and the ensemble show The Five that was just just moved up from an afternoon slot. Will that be sufficient to hold their audience? Especially considering that many of their fans are outraged by the departure of O’Reilly (and perhaps Hannity) and have already initiated a boycott movement. So fasten your seat belts. The fun is only just beginning.

BE AFRAID: Trump Admin is ‘Looking At’ Amending or Abolishing the First Amendment

The not-so-subtle inclination of Donald Trump toward totalitarian rule has been apparent for some time. He has repeatedly expressed his admiration for strongman dictators like Erdogan, Jong-Un, Hussein, and Vladimir Putin. What’s more, the alleged “dealmaker” is nakedly hostile to compromise or to accommodating opinions that differ from his own. It’s either conform to Trumpism or be denigrated as a lying, crooked, enemy of America.

Reince Priebus

In an interview Sunday, Trump’s Chief-of-Staff, Reince Priebus, affirmed the authoritarian aspirations of this president. ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Priebus about Trump’s prior statements concerning punishing or restricting the press when he doesn’t like what they say about him. That question led to this ominous exchange (video below):

KARL: I want to ask you about two things the President has said on related issues. First of all, there was what he said about opening up the libel laws. Tweeting “the failing New York Times has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change the libel laws?” That would require, as I understand it, a constitutional amendment. Is he really going to pursue that? Is that something he wants to pursue?

PRIEBUS: I think it’s something that we’ve looked at. How that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story. But when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact and we’re sitting here on 24/7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with Russia and all these other matters . . .

KARL: So you think the President should be able to sue the New York Times for stories he doesn’t like?

PRIEBUS: Here’s what I think. I think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. I am so tired . . .

KARL: I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. It’s about whether or not the President should have a right to sue them.

PRIEBUS: And I already answered the question. I said this is something that is being looked at. But it’s something that as far as how it gets executed, where we go with it, that’s another issue.

Priebus could not have been more clear. The President is actively considering changes to the Constitution that would put the free press at risk. The changes he is considering would permit retaliation from hostile government officials seeking revenge for unfavorable coverage. Even short of litigation, such a move would have a chilling effect on journalists.

Trump has openly expressed his animosity toward the press. He calls them sleazy, liars, and “fake news” (although apparently without any understanding of what that phrase means). During the campaign he corralled them in pens and revoked the credentials of those he felt were not sufficiently adoring. His comments have even put some of them at risk for physical harm.

Trump’s consolidation of control goes beyond just the media. This weekend he also complained about the processes in Congress that interfere with him getting his way. “The rules of the Senate,” he said, “in some of the things you have to go through, it’s really a bad thing for the country in my opinion. They’re archaic rules.” In other words, he is opposed to the sort of democratic form of government wherein the people’s representatives work together to shape a consensus on legislation. He prefers dictating his demands and having everyone comply unquestioningly.

The purpose of these assaults on the Constitution is to delegitimize any criticism or opposition, no matter how appropriate. Trump wants only positive stories about him and his administration. And he will not tolerate anyone exposing his frequent mistakes, misstatements and lies. For that reason, every American should be wary of Trump’s efforts to silence the press. And particularly any attempt to codify such censorship into law or Constitutional amendments.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.