Fox News has reportedly laid off at least 16 staffers. They include political editor Chris Stirewalt, who defended the network's Arizona election call that angered Trump.
Fox News laid off its political editor Chris Stirewalt and more than a dozen other staffers in what insiders described as a "blood bath," The Daily Beast reported on Tuesday.
The media giant has dismissed at least 16 digital editorial staffers, including senior editors and people who had been at the company for more than a decade, The Daily Beast reported, citing a dozen current and former Fox News employees.
A Fox representative told Insider that the dismissals were part of an ongoing restructuring.
Stirewalt, who was laid off Tuesday night, had become a controversial figure among fans of the network after he defended its early projection that Joe Biden would win Arizona based on an analysis by Fox News' Decision Desk.
President Donald Trump was angered by the Arizona call, and his officials desperately urged Fox to retract it.
Stirewalt refused to reverse his support for the call, despite other Fox hosts' criticism of it. He has also turned his nose up at Trump's claims of election fraud.
Fox News told Insider: "As we conclude the 2020 election cycle, Fox News Digital has realigned its business and reporting structure to meet the demands of this new era. We are confident these changes will ensure the platform continues to deliver breakthrough reporting and insightful analysis surrounding major issues, both stateside and abroad."
But insiders told The Daily Beast that the decision was likely politically motivated as the network, owned by the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, moves from news coverage toward more right-wing opinion segments.
"There is a concerted effort to get rid of real journalists," one former staffer told the publication. "They laid capable people off who were actual journalists and not blind followers."
After Fox's Arizona call, viewers said they would abandon the network for ones further to the right, like Newsmax and One America News. The call might have contributed to Fox's ratings slump: Viewership has plunged by about 20% since the election, Forbes reported.
And in the week after the Capitol siege on January 6, Fox News got lower ratings than both CNN and MSNBC for the first time since 2000.
Other staffers who spoke with The Daily Beast suggested that Porter Berry, the network's digital editor-in-chief, directed the layoffs.
"This is all Porter. Both an ideological purge and a purge of people he was threatened by," a former Fox News staffer told The Daily Beast.
"Porter's uncomfortable around and is suspicious of experienced editors," an insider added. "They make him feel inept because his background is entirely in TV."
Fox News denied these allegations.
"Since taking over Fox News Digital in 2018, Porter Berry has not only innovated the platform, but ushered in extraordinary growth by cultivating one of the most engaged and loyal audiences in news," the representative told Insider. "We are incredibly proud of his accomplishments and look forward to continued success thanks to his unrivaled digital strategy."
Multiple staffers described the layoffs to The Daily Beast as a "purge." One former staffer said they were "essentially the final nail in the coffin for digital journalism at Fox."
Bill Sammon, the network's managing editor in Washington, DC, is also leaving, though he said it's because he's retiring.
On Tuesday, the former Fox News host Shepard Smith spoke out against the network, calling its opinion coverage "injurious to society."
Two of largest fires in California's history burn thousands of acres
Lightning strikes believed to be the cause of multiple fires in California
Crews battle multiple fires in Northern California believed to be caused by lightning strikes.
Two of the top 10 largest wildfires in California’s history are currently raging across the state.
The SCU Lighting Complex burned 229,968 acres as of 5 p.m. PT, making it the seventh largest fire in California history. The LNU Lightning Complex had destroyed 219,067 acres as of 5:49 p.m. PT, making it the 10th largest.
More than 560 fires have torched 771,000 acres so far. Many of them are small, but more than two dozen are major. Nearly 12,000 firefighters are working to keep the wildfires under control.
There are also 24 air tankers, 88 helicopters, and more than 1,000 fire engines.
Bill Nichols, 84, works to save his home as the LNU Lightning Complex fires tear through Vacaville, Calif., on Aug. 19. Nichols has lived in the home for 77 years. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
The wildfires took at least six lives and forced tens of thousands from their homes. State fire officials said four civilians have died, as well as a Pacific Gas & Electric worker and a helicopter pilot.
Crews from neighboring states, including Oregon, Idaho and Arizona, arrived to help control the spread, according to Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director for Cal Fire.
Seen in a long exposure photograph, embers burn along a hillside as the LNU Lightning Complex fires tear through unincorporated Napa County, Calif., on Aug. 18. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Many of the fires were sparked by lightning strikes.
"The fire concentration, the challenge that we're facing in the state is now disproportionately impacting Northern California. And that is because that is close to 12,000 lightning strikes that we experienced over a 72-hour period,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Friday.
'Fox & Friends Weekend' co-host Jedediah Bila leaving the network
Fox News and “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Jedediah Bila are parting ways, the network confirmed on Friday.
“We have mutually and amicably parted ways with Jedediah Bila and wish her all the best,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement shared with People. “The new co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend will be named soon.”
“I would like to thank the Fox News reporters, anchors, contributors, and producers who have been an absolute pleasure to work with these last two years,” Bila tweeted Friday afternoon.
Bila co-hosted “Fox & Friends Weekend” with Pete Hegseth and Will Cain and originally started as a Fox News contributor in 2013, according to a Fox News biography.
She left to co-host ABC's "The View" for the 2017-2018 season but rejoined Fox as contributor in 2018 before being named a “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host in 2019.
While at Fox, Bila became known for voicing political opinions not shared by some of the other talent at the network, openly criticizing former President Trump and tweeting in support of Rep. Liz Cheney Elizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyCheney: 'It is disgusting and despicable' to see Gosar 'lie' about Jan. 6 GOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas McCarthy pushes back on Biden criticism of GOP at NATO MORE (R-Wyo.) after she was ousted from her leadership role within the House GOP.
Yea so this is completely unhinged. Liz Cheney can’t speak a simple truth without a stir (and an ousting), but this madness is somehow acceptable? People need to start asking wtf is going on. And loudly. https://t.co/I8x36FbvKa
In April of last year, Bila announced that she had been diagnosed with the coronavirus. While her husband was also infected, their infant son Hartley was not, Bila said.
Friedman Recycling has history of fires
Phoenix fire officials say they have responded to several fires at this yard for years.
A fire broke out in both 2018 and 2011 at the same west Phoenix location.
There is a history of fires at Friedman recycling yards across Arizona and New Mexico.
Crews battled a blaze at the company&aposs Tucson location in 2018, and two fires broke out at a New Mexico site in 2020.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix yard remains open as fire officials plan to turn over the scene to the company.
Friedman Recycling has its own water truck, and its employees will put out remaining hotspots.
The Secret History of Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Departure from Fox
A former assistant at Fox accused Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is now one of the Trump campaign’s top fund-raising officials, of sexual harassment—and of attempting to buy her silence. Photograph by Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
As President Donald Trump heads into the 2020 elections, he faces a daunting gender gap: according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, he trails Joe Biden by thirty percentage points among female voters. As part of his campaign, Trump has been doing all he can to showcase female stars in the Republican Party, from nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court to naming Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox News host and legal analyst, his campaign’s finance chair. Guilfoyle, however, may not be an ideal emissary. In November, 2018, a young woman who had been one of Guilfoyle’s assistants at Fox News sent company executives a confidential, forty-two-page draft complaint that accused Guilfoyle of repeated sexual harassment, and demanded monetary relief. The document, which resulted in a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement, raises serious questions about Guilfoyle’s fitness as a character witness for Trump, let alone as a top campaign official.
In the 2020 campaign, Trump has spotlighted no woman more brightly than Guilfoyle. She was given an opening-night speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. And this fall Guilfoyle, who is Donald Trump, Jr.,’s girlfriend, has been crisscrossing the country as a Trump surrogate, on what is billed as the “Four More Tour.” At a recent “Women for Trump” rally in Pennsylvania, Guilfoyle claimed that the President was creating “eighteen hundred new female-owned businesses in the United States a day,” and praised Trump for promoting school choice, which, she said, was supported by “single mothers like myself.”
Guilfoyle has maintained that her decision to move from television news to a political campaign was entirely voluntary. In fact, Fox News forced her out in July, 2018—several years before her contract’s expiration date. At the time, she was a co-host of the political chat show “The Five.” Media reports suggested that she had been accused of workplace impropriety, including displaying lewd pictures of male genitalia to colleagues, but few additional details of misbehavior emerged. Guilfoyle publicly denied any wrongdoing, and last year a lawyer representing her told The New Yorker that “any suggestion” she had “engaged in misconduct at Fox is patently false.” But, as I reported at the time, shortly after Guilfoyle left her job, Fox secretly paid an undisclosed sum to the assistant, who no longer works at the company. Recently, two well-informed sources told me that Fox, in order to avoid going to trial, had agreed to pay the woman upward of four million dollars.
Until now, the specific accusations against Guilfoyle have remained largely hidden. The draft complaint, which was never filed in court, is covered by a nondisclosure agreement. The former assistant has not been publicly identified, and, out of respect for the rights of alleged victims of sexual harassment, The New Yorker is honoring her confidentiality. Reached for comment, she said, “I wish you well. But I have nothing to say.”
The woman was hired in 2015, just out of college, to work as an assistant for Guilfoyle and another former Fox host, Eric Bolling. According to a dozen well-informed sources familiar with her complaints, the assistant alleged that Guilfoyle, her direct supervisor, subjected her frequently to degrading, abusive, and sexually inappropriate behavior among other things, she said that she was frequently required to work at Guilfoyle’s New York apartment while the Fox host displayed herself naked, and was shown photographs of the genitalia of men with whom Guilfoyle had had sexual relations. The draft complaint also alleged that Guilfoyle spoke incessantly and luridly about her sex life, and on one occasion demanded a massage of her bare thighs other times, she said, Guilfoyle told her to submit to a Fox employee’s demands for sexual favors, encouraged her to sleep with wealthy and powerful men, asked her to critique her naked body, demanded that she share a room with her on business trips, required her to sleep over at her apartment, and exposed herself to her, making her feel deeply uncomfortable.
As serious as the draft complaint’s sexual-harassment allegations were, equally disturbing was what the assistant described as a coverup attempt by Guilfoyle, whose conduct was about to come under investigation by a team of outside lawyers. In July, 2016, the network had hired the New York-based law firm Paul, Weiss to investigate sexual misconduct at the company, which, under the leadership of Roger Ailes, had a long history of flagrant harassment and gender discrimination. According to those familiar with the assistant’s draft complaint, during a phone call on August 6, 2017, she alleged that Guilfoyle tried to buy her silence, offering to arrange a payment to her if she agreed to lie to the Paul, Weiss lawyers about her experiences. The alleged offering of hush money brings to mind Trump’s payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels, in order to cover up his sexual impropriety.
By 2017, the Paul, Weiss lawyers had begun investigating accusations of workplace sexual misconduct involving Eric Bolling, with whom Guilfoyle shared the assistant. Guilfoyle and Bolling were close, and it was all but inevitable that if the assistant accused Bolling of sexual harassment—as in fact she did—Guilfoyle’s conduct would come under scrutiny next. (Bolling, whose employment Fox ended in September, 2017, declined to comment he has denied any wrongdoing, and is now a host at Sinclair Broadcast Group.) According to the assistant, as the investigation into Bolling gained momentum, Guilfoyle told her that she needed to know what the assistant would say if she were asked about sexual harassment, and warned her that she could cause great damage if she said the wrong thing. Guilfoyle, she said, told her that, in exchange for demonstrating what Guilfoyle called loyalty, she would work out a payment to take care of her—possibly, she said, with funds from Bolling. The assistant alleged that Guilfoyle mentioned sums as large as a million dollars, and also other inducements, including a private-plane ride to Rome, a percentage of Guilfoyle’s future speaking fees, and an on-air reporting opportunity. People close to Guilfoyle called the assistant’s allegation untrue, and said they were shocked that she would fabricate such a false claim. But a well-informed source independently confirmed to me that Guilfoyle had discussed the topic of raising hush money.
When the assistant declined the offer of money, Guilfoyle warned—in a manner that the assistant regarded as threatening—that, if she spoke candidly to the lawyers, some aspects of the assistant’s private life that Guilfoyle knew about might be exposed. In fact, as I reported on this story, associates of Guilfoyle’s contacted me, offering personal details about the assistant, evidently in hopes of damaging her credibility and leading me not to publish this report.
Guilfoyle declined to be interviewed for this story but issued a statement: “In my 30-year career working for the SF District Attorney’s Office, the LA District Attorney’s Office, in media and in politics, I have never engaged in any workplace misconduct of any kind. During my career, I have served as a mentor to countless women, with many of whom I remain exceptionally close to this day.” John Singer, her lawyer, said that he would not comment.
According to the former assistant’s account, she declined what she regarded as Guilfoyle’s attempts to buy her off, and refused to conceal evidence or lie. Instead, she told the legal team at Paul, Weiss that both Guilfoyle and Bolling had sexually harassed her. Multiple people in whom the assistant confided at the time say she expressed concern that Guilfoyle might retaliate against her Guilfoyle had boasted of her high-level connections inside Fox’s legal office, and of her ability to ruin enemies’ reputations. The assistant’s concerns had mounted to the point that she sought legal help. Meanwhile, her allegations sparked months of investigation into Guilfoyle’s behavior by Fox’s human-resources department, and eventually resulted in Guilfoyle’s negotiated departure from the company.
Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, declined to comment on the appropriateness of Guilfoyle overseeing the Trump campaign’s finances, given the allegations about hush money and harassment levied against her by her former assistant. Murtaugh referred inquiries to Guilfoyle’s lawyer.
The news that Guilfoyle did not leave Fox on good terms was first broken by HuffPost, in 2018. Yashar Ali reported that Fox had quietly forced Guilfoyle out after a months-long probe by its human-resources department had revealed disturbing allegations by co-workers, including by her assistant, who had been given a paid leave as the company investigated. Ali wrote that Guilfoyle had denied any misconduct and had fought to stay at the network. Her allies had even mounted an unsuccessful last-ditch attempt to save her job by appealing to Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, then the news network’s parent company. But Murdoch, who had looked past decades of sexual harassment at Fox News, had been persuaded by his sons, Lachlan and James—then both senior executives in the company—that such misconduct could no longer be tolerated. Paul, Weiss was called in to clean house. A source familiar with the situation told me that the assistant’s confidential statements were foundational to Fox’s decision to part ways with Guilfoyle.
Michele Hirshman, the partner at Paul, Weiss who oversaw the investigation at Fox, didn’t respond to my requests for comment. The Washington attorney Gerson Zweifach, who served as 21st Century Fox’s general counsel and legal adviser on the sexual-harassment probe, also declined to comment, saying, “I can’t be of assistance here, for all the reasons you might expect.” A spokesperson at Fox declined to comment on Guilfoyle’s departure from the company. When asked about reports suggesting that Guilfoyle had received full payment for the remaining time on the contract, the spokesperson said that they were “not accurate.”
Several associates of Guilfoyle’s insist that the allegations against her lack credibility. Alexandra Preate, a public-relations executive who is a longtime friend of Guilfoyle’s, told me, “These manifestly false accusations are an affront to the honorable life that Kimberly, a single mom and trailblazing woman, has led.” Greta Van Susteren, a former colleague of Guilfoyle’s at Fox, said of her, “I’ve known her for twenty-some years, and I’ve never heard of a single complaint against her. This is completely inconsistent with what I’ve seen.” Sergio Gor, the chief of staff for the Trump Victory finance committee, who has known her for more than a decade, said, “She always puts others ahead of herself and is unfailingly generous and ethical.” Another defender of Guilfoyle’s, who declined to go on the record, noted that the assistant had sent numerous gushing notes to Guilfoyle thanking her for her mentorship, and referred to Guilfoyle as almost like family. The assistant had also tweeted praise of her bosses.
The New Yorker, however, was able to independently confirm several of the assistant’s accusations. The allegation that she was required to work at Guilfoyle’s apartment while Guilfoyle was barely clothed or naked was substantiated by several of the assistant’s confidants, including an eyewitness, who recalls being surprised by the sight. “It was provocative in a way that made you want to get away from this person,” the eyewitness told me.
One current and one former Fox employee confirmed the assistant’s allegation that Guilfoyle had often shared lewd images, noting that she had shown photographs of male genitalia to them, too—some of romantic partners, others of fans. Another former employee described Guilfoyle showing pornographic videos in the office. Guilfoyle’s graphic sexual talk so upset hair-and-makeup artists at Fox that they lodged an internal complaint, triggering an investigation by the company.
A former Fox colleague who had been friendly with Guilfoyle said, “It was worse than gross—it put other women at Fox in such a terrible position.” She explained that, as someone at a junior level, she felt afraid to criticize Guilfoyle, who was a powerful star with high-ranking friends at the network. At the same time, the former colleague didn’t want to be complicit in behavior that she regarded as crude, unprofessional, and legally troubling. “It created an environment that was detrimental to young women,” the former colleague said.
The current Fox employee, who has socialized with Guilfoyle, defended Guilfoyle’s right to take whatever pictures she wanted, and to share them outside of work with her friends, but argued, “You can’t expose an assistant to that.” A confidant of the former assistant—who also knows Guilfoyle well—agreed, saying of her, “They really put her through a wringer. It was a justifiable complaint. She’s a very nice kid. She’s not a nefarious person. It was a hostile workplace.” Another former Fox colleague who observed the dynamic between Guilfoyle and the assistant said, “It was an insane, abusive relationship,” adding, “Rather than being a mentor, she was an afflictor.” And yet another close observer who still works at Fox told me that the assistant was “one of the nicest, hard-working people—she was young and full of ambition, but by the time she left she was just broken.”
When the #MeToo movement erupted, Fox News turned to Guilfoyle as an on-air expert on legal issues, including sexual harassment. Before joining Fox News, in 2006, Guilfoyle had been a prosecutor in San Francisco, where she had been married to Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who was the city’s mayor and is now California’s governor. In on-air discussions of workplace harassment, Guilfoyle portrayed herself as an advocate for women’s rights, speaking forcefully about the cases of the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and moderating a roundtable about the television host Charlie Rose. (In that discussion, Guilfoyle’s Fox colleague Greg Gutfeld said, “The whole thing with Charlie Rose is so strange that he would, like, force co-workers or young people to view him naked—like, he would walk around his apartment naked.” Rose apologized for his “inappropriate behavior,” though he denied some of the allegations made against him.) In 2017, after the Times and The New Yorker broke the Weinstein story, Guilfoyle declared that “the victims” were “the most important aspect,” and referred to her experience of working as a lawyer with victims of “sex-abuse crimes.” She expressed sympathy for victims who were afraid to come forward because “they don’t feel that they have economic power” and they want “to get a chance” in their chosen industry.
Yet the assistant has alleged, both in her draft complaint and to confidants, that Guilfoyle contributed to, and even defended, the sexually hostile work environment at Fox News. The assistant recounted that Guilfoyle had been dismissive about her complaints about being sexually harassed, had discouraged her from speaking to Fox’s human-resources department, and had pointed to her own career, claiming that she had had sexual encounters with powerful figures at Fox herself. One of the former Fox News colleagues who had socialized with Guilfoyle told me that her sexually inappropriate behavior was akin to that of many powerful male Fox employees before 2016, when the network was rocked by a lawsuit brought against Ailes by Gretchen Carlson, a former on-air host. Carlson’s suit exposed a deep-seated sexually predatory culture at the network. Nearly two dozen women at Fox eventually alleged that they had been sexually harassed or intimidated. The scandal triggered Ailes’s downfall, and also that of the star host Bill O’Reilly. “Kim was kind of like one of the guys, the way they used to operate,” the former colleague told me. Another former co-worker of Guilfoyle’s recalled, “It was always about sex and guys with her. She didn’t hide it—she’d almost flaunt it. She probably wasn’t aware of others’ feelings. It was a different time.”
Before Guilfoyle became an outspoken defender of Trump, she was an outspoken defender of Ailes. When Carlson sued him, Guilfoyle attempted to debunk her credibility. In an interview with Adweek, Guilfoyle claimed that she had spoken with more than thirty women at Fox, and said, “Nobody that I’ve spoken to said that this was their experience.” Two months before Fox settled with Carlson, for twenty million dollars, Guilfoyle gave an interview to Breitbart in which she vouched for Ailes’s “character, integrity, and credibility,” saying, “I’ve known the man very well the last 15 years. He’s someone who I admire greatly.” She called Ailes “a champion of women” who has “always been 100 percent professional.”
Guilfoyle reportedly led a public-relations campaign, coördinated with Ailes, in which she implied to women at Fox that their careers would suffer if they didn’t back him. According to a complaint filed by the former Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky, with whom the network settled yet another sexual-harassment claim against Ailes, Guilfoyle “sought to recruit Fox News employees and contributors to retaliate against Carlson by publicly disparaging her.” This “retaliatory onslaught,” Roginsky’s complaint said, was characterized as “supporting ‘Team Roger.’ ”
According to Brian Stelter’s “Hoax,” Guilfoyle told female colleagues that they had better support Ailes, warning, “I’m taking notes.” Stelter suggests that Guilfoyle was motivated by the belief that Ailes, who seemed all-powerful, would reward her by making her the host of her own show. One of the former Fox colleagues who spoke with me said that Guilfoyle tried to intimidate other women at the network: “It was ‘Pick your team now—and if you don’t back Roger you will be out of here fast. There will be retribution.’ ”
Once Ailes was gone, Guilfoyle’s position at Fox grew less secure. Even her allies agree that Ailes’s public disgrace left her in a bad spot. But Guilfoyle’s defenders claim that she left the network entirely of her own volition. At the time, a widely circulated story line suggested that she had left the network in order to avoid conflicts of interest posed by her deepening romance with Donald Trump, Jr. In fact, soon after Guilfoyle left Fox, in July, 2018, she joined Trump’s reëlection campaign, as vice-chair of America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC.
Last December, reportedly at the President’s request, Guilfoyle was asked to become the head of fund-raising for Trump Victory, his main campaign organization. She began touring the country as a Trump surrogate, appearing, as she did last month in Pennsylvania, in a bright-pink dress that matched a banner bearing the slogan “Women for Trump.” She also began hosting pro-Trump “news” updates on a channel available only to users of the Trump campaign’s social-media app.
Translation : fox
Alternate names : unique names exist in many individual instances
Habitat : found throughout Japan
Diet : omnivorous fond of fried tofu
Appearance : Foxes, or kitsune, are found all across Japan. They are identical to wild foxes found elsewhere in the world apart from their incredible magical powers. Their cute faces and small size make them particularly loved by most people.
Behavior : There are two major variations of kitsune. Holy foxes are servants of the Shinto deity Inari, and Inari’s shrines are decorated with statues and images of these foxes. Legends tell of celestial foxes providing wisdom or service to good and pious humans. These holy foxes act as messengers of the gods and mediums between the celestial and human worlds. They often protect humans or places, provide good luck, and ward evil spirits away. More common are the wild foxes which delight in mischief, pranks, or evil. There are stories in which wild foxes trick or even possess humans, and cause them to behave strangely. Despite this wicked nature, even wild foxes keep their promises, remember friendships, and repay any favors done for them.
Interactions : Most tales of kitsune are about wild foxes punishing wicked priests, greedy merchants, and boastful drunkards. They vex their targets by creating phantom sounds and sights, stealing from them, or otherwise humiliating them publicly. Certain mental disorders have been attributed to possession by kitsune (known as kitsunetsuki). Mysterious illusory fires and strange lights in the sky are said to be caused by their magic, and are known as kitsunebi, or “fox fire.”
Other forms : Kitsune are extremely intelligent and powerful shape-shifters. They frequently harass humans by transforming into giants or other fearsome monsters. Sometimes they do this just for pranks, and sometimes for more nefarious purposes. They are skilled enough to even transform into exact likenesses of individual people, often appearing in the guise of beautiful human women in order to trick young men. On more than one occasion, this has resulted in a marriage with an unwitting human. Some kitsune even spend most of their lives in human form, adopting human names and customs, taking human jobs, and even raising families. When startled, or drunk, or careless, a patch of their magical disguise can fail—the kitsune’s true nature may be revealed by a tail, a swatch of fur, fangs, or some other vulpine feature.
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Starnes began his journalism career as a teenager, sweeping floors for a small newspaper in Louisiana, but his post-college years included stints at Chattanooga Times Free Press and Blue Ridge News Observer. In January 2000, he was hired as a staff writer for Baptist Press, the news arm of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention and an outlet that no one will accuse of being “fair and balanced.”
At Baptist Press, Starnes proved to be both unashamedly conservative and journalistically unreliable. He published articles decrying “the homosexual agenda” in America, warning of “pro-homosexual attitudes” at Baptist colleges, and even bemoaned the “profanity, anti-God lyrics” of the band Nine Inch Nails. But Starnes landed in hot water in April 2003 when he published a profile of then U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.
According to Starnes, Paige said he “would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong faith.” The profile spawned national headlines and created outrage both among civil-rights groups and church-state watchdogs. And when at least a dozen members of Congress publicly called on Paige to either apologize for the remarks or resign, the secretary almost lost his job.
But the interview tapes showed that Starnes had misquoted Paige, making it seem as if the secretary favored promoting Christian values in public schools. Starnes was promptly fired by Baptist Press due to “factual and contextual errors” and “misrepresentations” in his reporting.
Such a public disgrace would be a career-ender for most journalists, but Starnes proved resilient. He was already working as director of university communications at Union University, a conservative Baptist college in Tennessee, by the time he was fired. Yet his tenure there was also short-lived for reasons that remain unclear.
“Todd served at Union for a very short time, and it was best for him to move on elsewhere,” said David Dockery, who was president at Union during Starnes’s tenure. When asked why he felt it was best for Starnes to move on, Dockery said that the problems were personal issues that he could not legally discuss.
After leaving Union, the reporter spent some time in radio at Sacramento’s KFBK before being called up to the big leagues. In January 2006—less than three years after Starnes was fired for misquoting the secretary of education—Fox News Radio hired him to work as overnight news anchor. But while his business cards changed, his behavior didn’t.
In April 2013, he reported that the Obama administration was engaging in a “Christian cleansing” by blocking military access to the website of his former employer, the Southern Baptist Convention. As it turns out, the denomination’s website was being blocked as Starnes reported, but not for the reasons he claimed. The site was merely blocked due to the detection of potential malware.
In September, Starnes reported that a proposed non-discrimination law in San Antonio would “force churches to have transgender bathrooms.” Politifact reviewed this claim and “found nothing in the law” to support it, which led to the website rating the claim as “false.”
In December 2013, Starnes reported that Veterans Administration hospitals in Texas and Georgia were guilty of anti-Christian bias because VA administrators had banned Christmas cards for patients. But blogger Alan Noble later investigated his claims and found that Starnes had deliberately omitted the portion of the VA statement that contradicted his thesis. According to the full statement, the hospitals simply asked their chaplaincy service to distribute religious-themed cards while the health care system distributed non-religious cards.
The same month, Starnes reported at FoxNews.com that a Georgia hospital had banned Christmas carols. But Noble’s investigation revealed a similar finding—namely, that the hospital merely asked the Christian carolers, like all groups who come to the hospital, to perform religious songs in the chapel rather than in public areas out of respect for veterans of other faiths.
These examples—from 2013 alone—comprise a serious risk to Fox’s credibility, but there’s much more. Starnes career is built on bad reporting, but it has been topped with extreme rhetoric. On social media, Starnes regularly bashes Muslims and has made remarks that many consider to be racist. He celebrated the death of Venezualan president Hugo Chavez by tweeting, “Hell is burning a little bit brighter tonight.” And Starnes tweeted that those who want to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces are engaged in “cultural cleansing” and compared their behavior to that of ISIS.
After Starnes used a Malaysian airline crash that killed 295 people to attack President Obama, his colleague, Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, publicly called him out on her blog: “I don’t like his tweets. They are very bad taste. This is not the time to be snarky or have some pathetic attempt at humor.”
Starnes has suggested on multiple occasions that Obama is secretly gay. He implied on Facebook that devastating floods in Washington, D.C. were God’s retribution for the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage. And he said that Jesus would “thank” the gunman depicted in American Sniper for killing Muslims and sending them to “the lake of fire.”
Why would Fox News continue letting someone with such a long history of journalistic misconduct and bad behavior operate under its banner and with its backing?
The answer seems to be that while Starnes may not be a household name, his message resonates with one of Fox’s key demographics: older, white Christian conservatives. He describes himself as “a gun toting, chicken eating son of a Baptist,” recently preached a fiery sermon in a prominent conservative church in Georgia, has published three books addressing conservative themes, and even made an appearance on a Christian television channel to insinuate that gay rights would lead to man-dog marriages. Suffice it to say, he knows his audience.
“I feel like a Duck Dynasty guy living in a Miley Cyrus world,” he wrote in God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values. More than a few Southern evangelicals know the feeling.
But the real secret to Starnes’ success may be the way he combines his homespun conservative Christian-speak with a hefty dose of fear, outrage, and conspiracy. His commentary feeds the narrative that conservatives are under attack—from the “war on Christmas” to the “war on Christians”—and should be afraid and angry. And this is apparently an express-lane to influence.
Jeffrey M. Berry, a professor of political science at Tufts University and author of The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility, says that tapping into the emotional core of viewers, through exaggerations, mockery, mischaracterizations, and presenting only one point of view, has become a very good way to build an audience.
“When you get people’s blood boiling, they seem to come back the next night,” Berry says.
This certainly seems to be true for Starnes. He has more than 56,000 Twitter followers and nearly 200,000 Facebook fans—and people who follow Starnes online are very engaged. According to Klout, a tool that uses social media analytics to rank users according to online influence, Starnes is more influential than much of Fox’s top tier talent, including Charles Krauthammer, Gretchen Carlson, Shepard Smith, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Juan Williams, and Tucker Carlson. In addition, he has an untold number of paid subscribers to his Fox News podcast, and his short radio segment, “Fox News & Commentary,” can be heard on hundreds of radio stations nationwide.
Brian Stelter, the senior media correspondent for CNN and host of “Reliable Sources,” agrees that Starnes is someone who “feeds on outrage,” but he is quick to point out that Starnes is part of a broader trend in media. Stelter calls it “vulture culture,” which describes a moment in which “subjects in the news get picked apart by an opinionated press” like scavenging birds on a squirrel carcass.
“There are reasons right now in the media ecosystem where there are incentives toward outrage, even fake outrage,” Stelter says. “The incentives are for clickable headlines, sharable stories, dramatic quotes and headlines.”
So while Starnes is doing everything wrong, he’s also doing everything right. He’s ginning up controversy, often when it doesn’t exist, and in some cases perhaps deliberately misleading the public. But the result is a loyal base of fans and an expanding platform.
The question now is whether Fox News values Starnes’ audience above the network’s own wellbeing. There’s an old saying among journalists that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its boots on. But the truth has a way of catching up. And when the lie is bad enough—say, misquoting a secretary of education on his schooling philosophy or questioning the sexual orientation of a U.S. president —it can repel viewers, scare away advertisers, and attract lawsuits.
Fox is a serious, though imperfect, news organization whose critics don’t need any more ammo. By letting an unusually mendacious figure like Starnes continue to exaggerate, distort, and mislead its audience, the network is handing its haters a box of bullets and begging them to let loose. In a moment when the network seems constantly under siege, Todd Starnes represents everything it can’t afford to be.
At least 20 women, including Megyn Kelly, came forward with other sexual harassment claims
At least 20 women came forward to the lawyers conducting the internal investigation or Carlson’s own attorneys with stories of harassment at the hands of Ailes. One woman said that Ailes videotaped her and used the footage to blackmail her into pressuring other women into situations in which Ailes could harass them. Kelly met with the lawyers conducting the internal investigation and shared that Ailes had harassed her 10 years earlier.
Pressure mounted for Fox to fire Ailes. He resigned after 20 years at the network and became a personal advisor to Trump. He died after falling in his Florida home within a year of leaving Fox News.
Ailes’ deputy Bill Shine (Mark Moses) and others at the network were accused of covering up the Fox News head’s misdeeds, and Shine was forced to resign. The wave of claims also exposed systemic harassment at the network. O’Reilly was also let go from the network.
Trump calls on Fox News to fire reporter over veterans flap
US President Donald Trump has demanded that Fox News fire its national security correspondent after she confirmed claims that the Republican leader had disparaged the military -- a bombshell that has dogged him for two days.
Trump came under fire after The Atlantic magazine reported that he had called Marines killed in action in World War I "losers" and "suckers" in connection with a November 2018 visit to France when he skipped a visit to a US military cemetery.
The official explanation for that missed visit was bad weather.
Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin said two former administration officials had confirmed to her that the president "did not want to drive to honor American war dead" at the Aisne-Marne cemetery outside Paris, implying weather was not a factor.
One official also told her that Trump had used the word "suckers" to denigrate the military, but in a different context related to the Vietnam War.
"When the President spoke about the Vietnam War, he said, 'It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker,'" she quoted the unnamed official as saying.
"It was a character flaw of the President. He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it," the source said.
A furious Trump tweeted late Friday: "Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. @FoxNews is gone!"
Trump has furiously defended himself in the wake of the story in The Atlantic, tweeting and retweeting stories condemning it as "fake news." He called the magazine's editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, who wrote the piece, a "slimeball."
The habitually Trump-friendly Fox News has been criticized for seemingly sidelining Griffin's reporting in its coverage of the story.
A story on its front page Saturday was headlined: "Sources dispute claim Trump nixed visit to military cemetery over disdain for slain veterans."
Several of Griffin's colleagues at Fox have publicly defended her on Twitter, along with Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger, who called her "fair and unafraid."
"I can tell you that my sources are unimpeachable," Griffin said on-air Saturday on her network. "My sources are not anonymous to me and I doubt they are anonymous to the president."
Just before The Atlantic published its story, a poll by the Military Times and the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families found that just 37.4 percent of active duty personnel support Trump's re-election bid, while 43.1 percent back Joe Biden.
Kevin Durant's mom gave him a sweet hug after he air-balled the game-tying shot in the final moments of classic Game 7
Kevin Durant hit the game-tying shot in the 4th quarter, but air-balled his shot in overtime in Game 7 against the Bucks.
More than 350 Indonesian healthcare workers vaccinated with China's Sinovac vaccine got COVID-19 and dozens are hospitalized, raising questions about the vaccine's efficacy on variants
A large outbreak doctors were dealing with in Java was most likely caused by the more transmissible Delta variant.
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She Went on a PR Tour for Her Sick, Adopted African Child. Was It All a Lie?
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Screenshot/YoutubeLast summer, Sophie Hartman was fixated on her 6-year-old adopted daughter Carmel possibly showing signs of early puberty.The 31-year-old single mom from Renton, Washington, scheduled an appointment at Seattle Children’s Hospital with a pediatric endocrinologist, a doctor specializing in glands and the hormones they produce, according to a Renton Police probable-cause affidavit.Hartman, a white, Jesus-loving former missio
Sen. Ron Johnson, who stalled the passing of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, was booed at an event commemorating the day
Johnson said it would be too costly to give federal employees another day off, but conceded his efforts on Tuesday.
Cheers and reflection as crowds mark Juneteenth
Saturday was the first Juneteenth as a federal holiday, and celebrations across the country sparked cheers and jubilation, but also prompted quieter reflections about racial justice.Crowds gathered on Saturday to mark the holiday commemorating the end of the legal enslavement of Black Americans with concerts, rallies, art displays and lots of food.In Galveston, members of the Texas Dancin' Divas danced in the streets during a parade.In New York, marchers on the Brooklyn Bridge advocated for racial equality.In Kentucky, Milan Bush, the organizer of the Miday Juneteenth Festival, said the day is a celebration.“Joy, that we are not just thinking about this event as ending enslaved people’s lives but also thinking about the joy that bring in remembering who they are and recognize not just black people as a unit of people but as individuals.”Harrodsburg Resident Kathryn Vandyke said the holiday should bring people together."There are some racial issues here in town. We try to heal the best we can and try to get things like this together to bring people back together not just the Black community but let the White community come in and celebrate with us.”Juneteenth, or June 19th, marks the day in 1865 when a Union general informed a group of enslaved people in Texas that they had been made free two years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War.President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday signed a bill making Juneteenth the eleventh federally recognized holiday, just over a year after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis ignited nationwide protests for racial justice and for ending police brutality.On Saturday a new statue of George Floyd was unveiled in Brooklyn as part of the celebrations.This year's festivities were also notable as it was the first country-wide event where crowds were able to gather in-person and meet face-to-face without fear - and often, without masks - as the pandemic ebbs in the U.S.
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Trump White House doctor, 13 other House Republicans urge Biden to take cognitive test
Former White House doctor Rep. Ronny Jackson and 13 other Republicans want President Joe Biden to take a mental cognition test and share the results.