In the past few months Fox News has been weighted down with salacious allegations that have ripped the network apart. Dozens of women have stepped forward with complaints of sexual harassment against several of the network’s big shots. The turmoil impacted both on-air personalities and executives. And the trail of devastation was substantial.
It began with the dismissal of Roger Ailes, the CEO who created the channel with Rupert Murdoch. Then their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, was shown the door in utter disgrace. Shortly thereafter the head of Fox’s news division, Bill Shine, got his pink slip. Also lost due to the scandal tsunami were Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, Andrea Tantaros, Julie Roginski, and Greta Van Susteren.
You might think that such a severe upheaval would be cause for deep reflection and transformation. Perhaps Fox News would attempt to alter their decidedly misogynistic messaging. Maybe they would abstain from derogatory references to women in positions of power. There are surely more men (and women) who could be fired for related offenses.
Well, Fox News took swift and decisive action to address the ballooning crisis. And the impact was immediately observable on the air.
That’s right. The big change at Fox News is that the prohibition of women wearing pants has been lifted. That’s a bigger deal than it may seem. Especially considering that the short skirt mandate came from the top. Ailes himself insisted that his news ladies display their legs. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that the exec repeatedly gave direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts. For instance:
- When the view of reporter Kiran Chetry was obstructed, Ailes called the control booth to demand that they “Move that damn laptop, I can’t see her legs!”
- Ailes complained about host Catherine Crier’s attire saying that “I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.”
- The casting of The Five included one particular co-host because “I Need The Leg. That’s Andrea Tantaros.”
Furthermore, NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik reported on the Fox News “Leg Cam” that “goes directly for the legs.” And when former host Megyn Kelly was interviewed by GQ (with an accompanying, and revealing, pictorial), she was asked about her own “glass table that shows off your legs.” She responded that “Well, It’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.” That must be why Bill O’Reilly wore those low-cut blouses.
This new fashion statement has already drawn the ire of staunch Fox fans. After all, with a horndog like Donald Trump in the White House, you’d think covered gams would be illegal. The right-wing web rag, WorldNetDaily, posted an article with the hyperbolic headline “Stop This Madness: Women of Fox News suddenly hiding their legs?.” In the piece they lamented that:
“In the wake of the recent ousters of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly following multiple sexual harassment accusations – the online rumor mill is running wild with speculation. Why? In recent weeks, some of the Fox News bombshells…have ditched their usual short skirts and were spotted wearing … pants!”
The wardrobe controversy has taken a perverse precedence in the conservative media. Many pundits and viewers actually regard this as some sort of capitulation to politically correct radical liberals. However, they don’t mind at all that the programming changes since O’Reilly’s ouster include the promotions of four known misogynists. The only problem, as far as they can see, is that they will have fewer opportunities to peek up the skirts of their Fox fantasies. And that isn’t what they believe they were promised in the Era of Trump.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.