Roger Ailes is accused of hacking Media Matters

Daily Mail
September 3, 2016

Roger Ailes is accused of hacking the phones of employees and chief reporter of liberal watchdog site which monitors conservative news 'misinformation".

Ousted Fox News chairman Roger Ailes hacked the phone records of his own employees as well as the chief reporter for a liberal watchdog website, a new report has alleged.

In New York magazine"s September cover story which chronicles the fall of Ailes, Gabriel Sherman said Fox obtained the phone records of journalists by 'legally questionable means."

On Twitter on Friday, Sherman said that this is the first time one of Rupert Murdoch"s US news outlets has been implicated in phone hacking, referencing the scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World in the UK.

Citing two sources with knowledge of the incident, Sherman wrote that Dianne Brandi - Fox"s general counsel - hired a private investigator in 2010 to obtain Joe Strupp"s personal home and cell phone records.

Strupp writes for Media Matters, a non-profit site that monitors misinformation on conservative news sites.

In the fall of 2010, Strupp had written a number of articles based on information from anonymous Fox sources.

According to the New York report, Ailes wanted to know who was talking to him.

'This is the culture," a Fox executive told Sherman. 'Getting phone records doesn"t make anyone blink."

Brandi denied the allegations to Sherman through a spokesman. A Fox News spokesman declined to comment further when approached by Daily Mail Online.

Media Matters president Bradley Beychock responded to the report and said that he is considering suing the network.

He called for an immediate investigation into Ailes as well as current and former employees of Fox News who may be involved.

In a statement published on Media Matters, he said: 'From what we witnessed with Rupert Murdoch and News Corp"s prior phone hacking scandal, it"s critical for an immediate investigation of Roger Ailes and any other current or former Fox News employees who may have been involved in this illegal practice.

'Roger Ailes and Fox News broke the law by hacking into the phone records of Media Matters employees."

He added: 'Anyone involved in the illegal hacking should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and we are considering all options.

Ailes also allegedly 'ruled Fox like a surveillance state."

He reportedly had the network"s head of engineering install CCTV cameras to allow him to monitor the offices, studios, green rooms, the back entrance and his homes.

On one occasion, Ailes allegedly spotted James Murdoch smoking outside the office on a monitor and made a homophobic slur.

'Tell me that mouth hasn"t sucked a cock," he said to his deputy Bill Shine, an executive who was in the room revealed to Sherman.

Shine does not recall the incident, a Fox spokesman said about the alleged incident.

And the company"s IT department monitored all employee emails, sources say.

Sherman also revealed that Ailes allegedly increased his surveillance and retaliated if he found something that angered him.

Fox"s PR department allegedly leaked negative stories about wayward employees.

And Jim Pinkerton, a Fox contributor, ran an anonymous blog which attacked people that Ailes picked, executives told Sherman.

The New York report also claimed that Fox contributor worked as a private investigator for Ailes.

His tasks included following former Fox producer Andrea Mackris after she filed a lawsuit against Bill O"Reilly for sexual harassment.

The new report also revealed how Rupert Murdoch"s sons James and Lachlan saw former anchor Gretchen Carlson"s lawsuit against Ailes as an opportunity.

Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against Ailes in July - prompting numerous other women to come forward with similar claims that Ailes had harassed them.

James and Lachlan had been the ones to persuade their father to hire a law firm to conduct an internal investigation.

Shortly after the network"s star Megyn Kelly joined her in accusing Ailes, he was forced to resign.

Besides his sons dislike of Ailes, the 85-year-old Murdoch had also begun to develop a 'strained" relationship with him, according to the report.

This was reportedly because Murdoch disapproved of Ailes putting the network backing completely behind Donald Trump"s bid for presidency.




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