Fox News whistleblower begins anonymous tell-all series

Gawker has launched a new column written by an anonymous Fox News employee who posts under "The Fox Mole." S/he claims to have been with Fox for "years," and claims that s/he can't find work elsewhere because other news organizations view Fox alumni with suspicion. The Mole's first column describes a particularly nasty piece of work by Fox -- the notorious "Obama's Hip Hop BBQ Didn't Create Jobs" story -- as the breaking point that got her/him interested in exposing wrongdoing at the organization.

The post neatly summed up everything that had been troubling me about my employer: Non sequitur, ad hominem attacks on the president; gleeful race baiting; a willful disregard for facts; and so on. It came close on the heels of the Common controversy, which exhibited a lot of the same ugly traits. (See also: terrorist fist jabs; Fox & Friends madrassa accusations; etc.)

The worst thing about the Hip Hop BBQ incident is that we didn't back away from it. Bill Shine, who is a rather important guy—sort of Roger Ailes' main hatchet man, and the go-between for Ailes and most of the top talent—bafflingly doubled down and defended it. The story still exists on the Fox Nation site, headline and photo montage intact, to this very day.

That was it for me. It wasn't that the one incident was so bad, in and of itself. But it was so galvanizing, and on top of so many other little incidents, that I guess it just finally pushed me over the edge.

Announcing Our Newest Hire: A Current Fox News Channel Employee (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. Dan Savage did a tremendous job associating Santorum’s name with, uh, santorum, the fluid. What reasonable people need to do is the same thing for FOX. FOX is nothing more, nothing less than the National Enquirer of the TV, and that fact needs to be mentioned in every single article anyone writes about FOX, “the National Enquirer of television”. Say it often enough, and loud enough, and maybe people will start to get the point.

    1. i believe google was unofficially complicit with the santorum’ing.   whereas i believe google is not so unchummy with Fox (for example, gnews carrying a lot of Fox news despite pleas to add a filter).  plus Fox admirers only listen to Fox so it exists in a “walled (and barbwired gated community) garden”.  nonetheless, more power to ye.  i humbly suggest posting on Urban Dictionary your new definition for “foxnews” (still… evenThe National Enquirer is better than that)

      1. Does including Fox in Gnews really mean they are “chummy” with them?  I don’t buy that.  It’s a business decision. 

          1. And you are correct. Of course they could easily drop Fox with a different algorithm, or a filtering system (which is just an algorithm when you get down to it). And I think that was the point. They choose not to. And MY point was that that decision was a business one, and has nothing to do with “chumminess”.

          2. Actually its not a decision at all. Its an algorithm.

            Google would certainly like everyone to think that some non-sentient algorithm is responsible for everything.  But, there’s editorial decisions made by the algorithm-makers, no doubt.

            The algorithms aren’t making themselves (yet).

      2. For example, gnews carrying a lot of Fox news despite pleas to add a filter.

        Right, I had to manually remove each faux site, and with the regional stations, it’s a bunch of them.  But sometimes I prefer to check Gnews without logging on, and there’s no way to filter out faux in that situation.

    2. Whoever has even a passing interest in truth and has been paying attention for the last 15 years, dismisses and ignores Faux as a source for information.  Those who can get the point, have already gotten it.

      Whoever is left watching Faux, will remain watching Faux, these are the people who Colbert described as “the backwash”.

      If putrid personalities on that channel keep spouting whatever propaganda flavor of the week, it’s not because that channel is a profit-making money machine per se, but because it serves a purpose for robber barons, pumping a constant stream of misinformation out there.

      1. Agreed, when I read the quote, ” … willful disregard for facts … “, I just nodded like… yeah, duh… the people that don’t already know that by now are people who cling to faith-based “facts” anyway.

        Nonetheless, it’s good to continue to expose Fox “News” for what it is… toxic garbage over the airwaves.

    3.  National Enquirer was just silly, whereas Fox (and other Murdoch brands) deliberately stir up all kinds of hatred and ugliness.

      1. Under the previous administration, definitely. Under this one, he’s sentenced to being unemployed in this economy.

        1. I don’t know about that, now that he’s out of there, and he went the way he did, he might finally be successful with a job application elsewhere. If he wanted to change jobs anyway, I’m not sure there would have been a better way to make a positive impression.

          Edit: Oops, should have read the next comment first :D

    1.  but I’m wondering if that wasn’t the point all along.  he said that he couldn’t get hired after working for FOX, the National Enquirer of TV, because that’s a black-eye on his journalistic resume.  so, why bother to cover his tracks at all?  the whole point was he didn’t want to work there anymore but needed to salvage his credibility to be employable elsewhere.  if he had stayed a mole, he would have had to keep working there longer.  getting discovered could be nothing but win for him.

      that said, good for him.

      1. I’m not sure that being discovered is really a win for him if his real intent is to expose problems at the network. Even if he weren’t still working at Fox by remaining anonymous he was doing what he could to try and focus attention on what he was reporting rather than himself.

        Now that his name is known I’m sure the trashing of his reputation is just beginning, and it won’t matter if he was right that Fox reporters use “Non sequitur, ad hominem attacks on the president; gleeful race baiting; a willful disregard for facts; and so on”.

        The attention will now be focused on him and any facts he reports will be considered secondary at best.

    2. I had dropped in to say “Oh, this won’t end badly” in a sarcastic manner, but it seems like it ended badly pretty quickly.

    3. Holy Christmas, the comments are pretty hateful.  Here’s an excerpt from the first one:

      “And what a coward you are, denying it to Dianne’s face! Why didn’t you just admit it when the game was up?”
      Uh, I don’t know, maybe because it’s hard to be a “mole” at FOX if you’re no longer there?

  2. Fox News can’t even call itself “news” in Canada (and some other countries) because it’s not fair & unbiased, it’s just propaganda.

    1. Funny, but not true.  Most of the major cable companies in Canada include Fox News in their channel lineup.

      1. Not quite true. Fox News Canada was rejected in 2003 because of the Radio Act which requires that “a licenser may not broadcast … any false or misleading news.” The US-based Fox News is available by satellite and is bundled in some packages because that doesn’t fall under the Radio Act.

  3. The fact that Fox News had a mole, and that Fox News was so concerned about having a mole, says all you need to know.  To say something that might come out of the mouth-hole of Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly “if you’re not doing anything wrong what to do you have to be worried about?”

    1. Harming the company by insulting them in public and posting internal documents (at least one video) is prohibited by just about every work contract I’ve ever seen. Also, why would you employ somebody you know hates working for you?

      I mean, I hate FNC as much as the next guy with a brain but come on!

      1. Sure, that’s valid, but let’s say you were working for an industrial firm, and you ratted them out for negligence or fraud– there are whistle blower laws that protect you.  You can’t just go and make stuff up and expect protection under those laws; this isn’t “insulting” FNC as much as it is exposing them, and that is a valid public service.   If there was nothing for him to expose it would never have come to this; it’s not like he edited together footage out of context to smear them a la James O’Keefe.

        Imagine if the mole had videotape showing FNC producers directing editors to deliberately substitute a “D” for an “R” next to a disgraced GOP senators name?  There is little doubt in my mind that those kinds of things go on behind closed doors at Fox News, and that is a danger to the company of their own making.  I also think this is about Roger Ailes’ paranoia, and an assumption that everyone in his employ is not only loyal to the company, but loyal to his politics, and there’s something very unsettling about that.  I’ll bet that they look long and hard at other employees whose political views are unknown.

        1. Well, yeah, but he did none of those things, revealed nothing scandalous and didn’t do anything for the general public. He didn’t even tell outsiders about anything illegal (which would be your “industrial firm” scenario).

          On the other hand, while we’re at it let’s imagine that the sky is green and that up is down. Doesn’t get us anywhere though.

          1. Newscorp’s UK arm News of the World has already been involved in clearly illegal activities, so I’m not imagining an impossible scenario like “up is down.”   There have previously been
            leaked memos from Fox showing how they deliberately echo GOP talking
            points, at the very least had the mole stayed employed there certainly would have been more of
            that (and from a company that claims to be “fair and balanced.”)  The fact that he didn’t get that far speaks more to his ineptitude than anything else (or the fact that he was trying to get fired, and did it in a way that got him immediate employment elsewhere.)

            I’m not denying there are valid reasons to fire someone involved in that kind of activity, even if there’s nothing shady going on at the company, but in this case we’re talking about a company that does indeed have stuff to hide.

  4. The post neatly summed up everything that had been troubling me about my employer: Non sequitur, ad hominem attacks on the president; gleeful race baiting; a willful disregard for facts

    Yeah yeah, that all must have come as a BIG fucking surprise once you got in there, ‘behind the scenes’. Glad you were able to blow the top off this bombshell before you got caught.

    1. I know right?  I thought Fox was a stella news outfit, famed for their journalistic integrity and professionalism.

      Gawker aren’t much better than Fox anyway.

  5. The comments from the first Fox Mole post have been offline since this morning. Check for yourself: go to the page and look for them. As of this writing, there are none showing and the number listed is zero after 339,000 hits. The text box is missing.

    Dunno why it is just the first story. The rest have comments.

      1. Alas, no. The first story had more than thirty comments when they were turned off. The others had comments yesterday.

  6. Does anyone else find it hilarious that the Fox News of the internet (Gawker) has a mole inside Fox News? “So, nobody will hire me because I used to work for Fox News? Who would value all this experience with Yellow Journalism? Maybe I’ll shoot an email to Gawker.”

    1. I know right?

      Gawker is over-sensationalised trolling, it’s really no different to Fox or The Daily Mail.  But I know BoingBoing seems to have some friends at Gawker, lord knows why…

      1. I don’t know any BoingBoing people personally, but let’s keep in mind they’re a pretty diverse group.  I mean, for Pete’s sake, Mark was just in Reason Magazine.

  7. I find it almost completely impossible to have any sympathy towards an ex-employee of Fox News because he can’t find work with any other news network.

    “I made grotesque papier mache models of aeroplanes for Satan himself, and yet I can’t seem to find another job within the aviation industry…”

    1. What a dummy!
      He should’ve just put in a solid 5-10 years, then turned it into a bestseller.  

  8. I’d have given it even-odds this was some sort of counter-propaganda operation by Fox to discredit/discourage future whistle-blowers, but his rapid exposure puts that to bed. Don’t they know the first thing about what you do to moles? You don’t get rid of them, you feed them bullhockey to discredit them, and *then* you give them a final cigarette and a nice wall to stand in front of in the sunlight.

  9. I won’t pile on the guy.  Plenty of people are doing that.  Having been at a crappy conservative news outlet myself, I can’t do that.

    Anyway, I decided say something about FOX News instead.

    The “Hip-Hop BBQ” story highlights something I’ve noticed about them.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it sure seems like FOX News tries to represent Republicans and conservatism.  With Republicans standing for all kinds of different things, and so many definitions of “conservative”, it makes the network seem all kinds of crazy.
    Are we talking about unemployment numbers that are still higher than they were before the stock market crash?  Let’s blame Obama’s policies for continuing to kill the job market.

    Are we talking about unemployment benefits?  Let’s bring on people who say we don’t need to extend unemployment, because people who are out of work are unemployed because they’re lazy or worthless.

    Are we talking about Tea Partiers protesting against the government for the bailouts?  Let’s pitch softballs at everyone we interview, and praise them for taking the time to travel the country to spread the good message.   Are we talking about Occupy Wall Street?  Let’s assume it’s all liberals who don’t want to work.

    And so on and so forth.  We want a smaller government and less spending.  And we want social conservatism and more military spending.  And we want lower taxes, and only an idiot would raise taxes.  Unless we’re talking about payroll taxes.

    Oh, and one of the big problems with liberals is how darned inconsistent they are.

    I could go on all day.

  10. As he’s already been caught and fired, he’s clearly not much of a mole.  Seems the prudent thing to do would have been accumulate months or years worth of dirt on Newscorp, then start reporting it, so even if you get canned you still have a cache of stuff to expose.

  11. “Obama’s Hip Hop BBQ Didn’t Create Jobs” 

    It sounds like a fake Fox News headline the Onion would have come up with, or that parody of Fox News that appeared on one Simpsons episode, where the news-scroll at the bottom of the screen has chestnuts like “Hillary Clinton embarrasses self, nation” and “Oil slicks found to keep seals young and supple”  (which Fox TV then banned the shows writers from ever doing again, under the logic that their viewers might think it was REAL Fox News. )

    If another news channel or site reported “Bush’s Golf Game Fails to Catch Bin Laden” would that be acceptable?

    1. ‘If another news channel or site reported “Bush’s Golf Game Fails to Catch Bin Laden” would that be acceptable?’

      After bashing FOX News for their weirdness, it makes me feel weird to say this, but: that’s what news outlets like CBS did when George HW Bush ran against Clinton: they’d report a big story, then report on Bush’s daily round of golf.  It wasn’t as blatant as what you said, but…yeah.

    1. No, because while wrestling is fake, the actual wrestlers are indeed athletes. The people representing reporters on FOX are very rarely (Shepard Smith) actual journalists. 

  12. Actually, the first story had more than thirty comments when they were turned off. The others had comments yesterday.

  13. ill lich: So you think that if NBC or NPR had a mole that was on their payroll but was trashing them anonymously on the web, that they wouldn’t fire him when they learned his identity?

  14. I have faith. A counter at the bottom of the article:

    The Nation finds this:  Offensive

    Offensive 494
    Funny 21
    Cool 15
    Obnoxious 74
    Scary 19
    Inspiring 16
    Crazy 22

    So there you go. 

  15. Muto (the mole) must have had terrible operational security (ie, he left or sent incriminating posts from his office computer), since the Gawker article revealed nothing except that he existed. He wasn’t a very good mole.

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