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Fox News, Ailes In Negotiations Over His Exit: Source

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Fox News, Ailes In Negotiations Over His Exit: Source

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Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, answers questions during a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena, California July 24, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo

Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a profitable ratings powerhouse, and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. are in negotiations over his departure from the cable news channel following allegations of sexual harassment, a person briefed on the discussions said Tuesday.

A Fox statement said a legal review into the accusations was ongoing and that Ailes was working. Ailes’ attorney, Susan Estrich, told CNN that there was no deal yet and any announcement on an agreement would be made by Twenty-First Century Fox.

An exit would represent an unexpected turn of events for the 76-year-old media executive who advised several U.S. Republican presidents, including George H.W. Bush, and builtFox News into the most-watched U.S. cable news channel.

Conflicting reports of an imminent departure for Ailes played out at the sidelines of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, including tweets from conservative political commentator Matt Drudge saying the Fox executive had in hand a $40 million exit package.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes earlier this month, claiming sexual harassment. Ailes has denied the charges. Fox hired the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an internal investigation.

New York magazine followed up with reports of other women who said they had been harassed by Ailes as far back as the 1960s. On Tuesday, the magazine said that star Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had told investigators hired by Fox that Ailes “made unwanted sexual advances toward her” about 10 years ago.

According to the report, which cited anonymous sources, lawyers for 21st Century Fox Inc, gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face being fired for cause.

Ailes had long been a confidant of 21st Century Fox Executive Co-Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who named Ailes founding chief executive of Fox News Channel in 1996.

But as scrutiny over Ailes increased in recent days, Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, came to agree that he should leave the company, according to New York magazine.

Drudge on Tuesday tweeted an image of a page from a document purporting to be Ailes’ separation agreement with Fox that was later taken down.

The document was replaced with an unattributed statement that said, “Roger Ailes has never sexually harassed Megyn Kelly. In fact, he has spent much of the last decade promoting and helping her to achieve the stardom she earned, for which she has repeatedly and publicly thanked him.”

Ailes’ lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ailes departure with no apparent successor will raise questions about the future of Fox News, known for a lineup of politically conservative commentators. The network was the most-watched basic cable television channel with an average of 2.2 million prime-time viewers for the year through June, according to Nielsen data.

 

(Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Writing by Anna Driver; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Photo: Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, answers questions during a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Pasadena, California July 24, 2006.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo

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4 Comments

  1. latebloomingrandma July 20, 2016

    Maybe Fox’s demise and the Republican party can all go down at the same time.

    Reply
  2. A. D. Reed July 20, 2016

    August 1 is my birthday, so Ailes’s departure that day would be a wonderful gift. More importantly, the end of Ailes will be a gift to this nation, as he has been one of those most responsible for the dumbing down of America over the past 50 years, beginning as a Nixonista, continuing through the disaster of the Reagan years, and culminating in the establishment of Fox “news” as the place to go for lies, calumny, slander, and ignorance — all of which are eagerly lapped up by the information-deficit GOP rank and file.

    Rupert Murdoch is equally responsible, though I suspect his motive has been personal aggrandizement and enrichment more than perverting the Constitution. Nevertheless, the fall of Ailes may preview the tumbling of some other GOP icons, including Trump, Christie, Giuliani, Kristol, et. al.

    Reply
    1. Betty Caraballo July 21, 2016

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      Reply
  3. dtgraham July 20, 2016

    Although I think that they’ll most likely hire someone who’ll simply follow Aile’s formula and carry on as normal, I share A.D. and lateblooming’s hopes that this might eventually spell the end for Fox News. I suppose there’s always a chance.

    Fox News has been the worst thing to ever happen to the political atmosphere of the United states, in my opinion. They exist to promote the Republican party and their network’s version of conservatism…period. Furthermore, they don’t care what they have to do or say to accomplish that. Facts are entirely optional, and even undesirable depending on the circumstances. They are completely free of journalistic ethics and scruples. They have their politically biased fictional narratives which they never, ever, stop pumping—and reality and facts are never allowed to get in the way of them. Fox News creates their own reality and facts.

    In February of 2004, Fox News won a legal appeal which declared that Fox News had no legal obligation to be truthful in it’s reporting. The court agreed that Fox had indeed been untruthful but ultimately agreed with Fox’s argument that the FCC’s policy against the intentional falsification of the news is not a legal mandate, requirement or regulation, and that Fox may falsify news reports. That court case was FL 13th district New World Communications of Tampa, Inc. vs Jane Akre, Case No. 2D01-529.

    I see the right wingers quoting Fox News “facts” here all the time. Fox has driven the Republicans even further right over the decades. I also see Republican politicians constantly saying things that don’t seem to make any logical or factual sense. It’s just mostly jingoism, banal sound bites, idiotic slogans, fanaticism, meaningless phrases, nonsensical one liners, laughable arguments, etc… The same things that you hear on Fox every day.

    Right wing talk radio is one thing, but these people have become the most watched cable news network in the U.S. MSNBC did come around 5 years later as a liberal counter to Fox News…true, but they have poor ratings. MSNBC at least sticks to the facts, and that may have always been their undoing.

    Reply

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