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Fox News Terminates ‘The Five’ Co-Host Bob Beckel 

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17:  Bob Beckel Rejoins

 reports: Fox News Channel is parting ways — again — with Bob Beckel, the co-host of its primetime program, “The Five.”

“Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” the network said in a statement.

The dismissal opens — or perhaps closes — another chapter in an off-and-on relationship Beckel has had with the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet over the years. Beckel, a longtime political consultant as well as a former campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, joined Fox News in 2000, and had a years-long tenure on “The Five” when it aired in the late afternoon. Indeed, he was one of the program’s original co-hosts.

He departed in 2015 while recuperating from back surgery in a split that was seen as less an amicable. “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Bill Shine, who was then the network’s executive vice president of programming, in a statement at the time. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”

But Beckel returned to Fox News in 2017 after doing a stint at CNN, and was greeted with open arms. “Bob was missed by many fans of ‘The Five’ and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News Channel and its corporate parent, 21st Century Fox, in a prepared statement, in January.

Fox News’ human resources department was made aware of a complaint about what one person familiar with the situation characterized as a “racially insensitive remark” on Tuesday evening. Executives conducted an internal investigation, this person said, and decided to part ways with Beckel Friday morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Roger Ailes’ Cause of Death Revealed by Medical Examiner

 reports: Ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes died from complications of a head injury, the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner said in a report on Thursday.

Ailes “died this morning of complications of a subdural hematoma after he fell at home injuring his head,” said the report. “Hemophilia contributed to his death and his manner of death was accidental. There was no evidence of foul play.”

Ailes died just three days after his 77th birthday. He was a towering figure in the fast-paced business of cable news, but sexual harassment allegations forced him out of Fox News last year. Read the rest of this entry »


21st Century Fox Has Paid Out $45M In Settlements Since Roger Ailes’ Exit 

The financial fallout from the sexual harassment claims and lawsuits piling up at Fox News Channel made an appearance today in corporate filings submitted by parent 21st Century Fox. The price tag is at $45 million since Roger Ailes was canned last summer following numerous and explosive allegations of extremely inappropriate behavior.

“Other for the three and nine months ended March 31, 2017 included approximately $10 million and $45 million, respectively, of costs related to settlements of pending and potential litigations following the July 2016 resignation of the Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel after a public complaint was filed containing allegations of sexual harassment,” said a section deep within the Quarterly Report (read it here) that 21st Century Fox submitted to the SEC on Wednesday. The total figure for the ‘Other’ category over the nine months that ended at the end of March is $71 million.

My colleague David Lieberman reported earlier today that 21st Century Fox also noted in its quarterly report that it has “received regulatory and investigative inquiries relating to these matters and stockholder demands to inspect the books and records of the Company which could lead to future litigation.” As civil suits from Fox News on-air talent, past and potential contributors and others swirl, prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and criminal investigators from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are looking into what went on at FNC in these matters, who was paid what, and where it ended up in the books.

“Due to the early stage of these matters, the amount of liability, if any, that may result from these or related matters cannot be estimated at this time,” the filing today goes on to say in bloodless corporate speak. “However, the Company does not currently anticipate that the ultimate resolution of any such pending matters will have a material adverse effect on its consolidated financial condition, future results of operations or liquidity.”

The key word, as it has been for a while in this, being “anticipate” — that being what Fox has not been good at the past nine months.

At what Fox surely hoped was the end of the matter but really became the prologue in many ways, Ailes was shown the door by Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan on July 21 last year soon after former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson sued him for sexual harassment. Ailes was said to have received a $40 million golden goodbye from the Murdochs, which does not seem to be reflected in today’s filing. In September, Carlson came to a $20 million settlement with Fox and dropped her legal action. That payout is surely part of the $45 million noted in today’s filing. Read the rest of this entry »


Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Buys Remaining U.K. Sky Stake

The flag of the Twenty-First Century Fox Inc is seen waving at the company headquarters in the Manhattan borough in New York

The flag of the Twenty-First Century Fox Inc is seen waving at the company headquarters in the Manhattan borough in New York June 11, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) — Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. has struck a preliminary deal to buy the 61 percent of British pay-TV firm Sky PLC it does not already own for around $14 billion, five years after a political scandal wrecked a previous bid.

The proposed offer of £10.75 a share in cash, which is backed by Sky’s independent directors, would strengthen the position of James Murdoch — who is both chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky — in his 85-year-old father’s media empire.

People familiar with the matter said Fox had pounced after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June sent the pound down about 14 percent against the U.S. dollar and Sky’s share price tumbling.

Owning Sky would give Fox, whose cable networks include Fox News and FX, control of a pay-TV network spanning 22 million households in Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy.

It would also be the latest deal to marry distribution with content after AT&T Inc. announced an $85 billion bid to buy Time Warner Inc. earlier this year. While Sky does produce some of its own content, including in news and sport, the deal would give Fox full ownership of a wider distribution platform in Europe.

“Fox has always seen its 39 percent stake in Sky as an unnatural state of being and has long been trying to buy full control,” a person familiar with the deal said. Read the rest of this entry »


Murdochs Move to Oust Roger Ailes?

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Roger Ailes’ time at the helm of Fox News could be nearing its end, according to a new report Monday by New York magazine.

The report, by Gabriel Sherman, a longtime chronicler of the Fox News chief and his tenure at one of the nation’s most influential news outlets, said that Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, had decided to remove the executive from his post in the wake of a sexual-harassment lawsuit leveled against him by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. The report, citing unnamed sources, suggested the executives, who run Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, were considering various strategies to have Ailes step down.

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“This matter is not yet resolved and the review is not concluded,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement. A spokeswoman for Fox News could not be reached for immediate comment. Read the rest of this entry »


Brian Lowry: Rupert Murdoch History: Fox Head Was the Original Disruptor

***EXCLUSIVE*** Portrait of Rupert Murdoch, international media executive, January 31, 1977 in New York City. (Photo by Arnold Newman/Getty Images) writes: “Disruptive technology” has become one of the favorite buzz phrases in today’s media environment, referring to innovations that have rapidly reshaped the industry. Yet long before many of those gadgets came into being, Rupert Murdoch was, in many ways, the great disruptor.

At first blush, it’s strange to think of Murdoch — who was 56 years old when the Fox network made its primetime debut in 1987 — as some sort of renegade. As the head of a major media conglomerate, he’s been a firmly entrenched part of the establishment.

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Through the series of deals on which he built Fox, however, as well as the expansion of the studio, Murdoch has seldom been bound by convention. Read the rest of this entry »


Ratings: ‘That’s the kind of beating which is generally reserved for red headed stepchildren’

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New York Times Magazine forced to admit that Megyn Kelly might be great at her job

Over where the Air is nice and HotJazz Shaw writes:

This piece from New York Times Magazine wouldn’t be all that remarkable were it not for who was writing it and who the subject was. It’s a rather rare moment when anyone from the elite enclaves of their Manhattan offices comes down to Earth and actually has something nice to say about any of the Fox News crew, and it’s a surprisingly candid and positive piece about evening desk host Megyn Kelly. But even for the honest appraisal, the author can’t seem to help acting surprised that Kelly actually takes people to task from both sides of the aisle in what he calls a “Megyn Moment.”

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a Megyn moment, as I have taken to calling it, is when you, a Fox guest — maybe a regular guest or even an official contributor — are pursuing a line of argument that seems perfectly congruent with the Fox worldview, only to have Kelly seize on some part of it and call it out as nonsense, maybe even turn it back on you. You don’t always know when, how or even if the Megyn moment will happen; Kelly’s political sensibility and choice of subjects are generally in keeping with that of the network at large.

Kelly reading a tweet from punditfromanotherplanet right before she goes on the air.

Kelly reading a tweet from punditfromanotherplanet right before she goes on the air.

But you always have to be ready for it, no matter who you are. Neither Karl Rove nor Dick Cheney have been spared their Megyn moments, nor will the growing field of 2016 presidential aspirants, who can look forward to two years of interrogation on “The Kelly File.” The Megyn moment has upended the popular notion of how a Fox News star is supposed to behave, and led to the spectacle of a Fox anchor winning praise from the very elites whose disdain Fox has always welcomed. In the process, Kelly’s program has not just given America’s top-rated news channel its biggest new hit in 13 years; it has demonstrated an appeal to the younger and (slightly) more ideologically diverse demographic Fox needs as it seeks to claim even more territory on the American journo-political landscape.

The article also notes that the work of Roger Ailes has really paid off for the parent company in terms of return on investment. Read the rest of this entry »


French Clowns Threaten to Sue Fox News Over Manufactured ‘No-Go Zone’ Scandal

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From Variety‘s :

“The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced (…) I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Hidalgo told CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

Fox News, part of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, had invited self-proclaimed terrorism expert Steven Emerson on one of its program segments in the wake of the attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher market in Paris as part of its coverage of those events Jan. 11….(read more)

Variety


Pro-Censorship Lefties Defend Islam

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Phone-hacking scandal: Tabloid trial set to hit the front page

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Jane Croft, Rob Budden, and Kiran Stacey report:  Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie have arrived at the Old Bailey as one of the most long-awaited criminal cases for many years is due to get under way.

They faced dozens of photographers and camera crews who had been waiting from early on Monday morning outside the court to catch a glimpse of them. Read the rest of this entry »