How media outlets cover their own sexual harassment scandals


Roger Ailes and Mike Oreskes (Charles Sykes/Invision through AP and Chuck Zoeller/AP)

Mike Oreskes positive is not getting the Roger Ailes therapy.

On the air, Fox News dealt with Ailes’s resignation amid badual harbadment allegations final 12 months like an honorable discharge, lauding the skilled accomplishments of the longtime community chairman whereas scarcely mentioning the claims in opposition to him.

But NPR’s protection of Oreskes, its senior vice chairman for information till his resignation on Wednesday, has been unsparing. Shortly after Oreskes stepped down, host Mary Louise Kelly grilled NPR chief government Jarl Mohn about his choice to not take away Oreskes sooner. The public broadcaster was conscious of three incidents of alleged inappropriate conduct by Oreskes, two of which predated his tenure at NPR, however saved him in place till a report on Tuesday by The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi.

“If you knew of these multiple allegations, did it cross your mind that leaving Mike in his job might put other women, might put our colleagues, at risk?” Kelly demanded to know.

Reporting on an inside scandal is inherently tough for a information group. An outlet dangers injury to its repute by baring its worst facet; it additionally dangers injury to its repute by making an attempt to cowl that facet up.

There is not any strategy to win, which could badist clarify why Fox News and NPR took totally different approaches — and why NBC went a 3rd route when it suspended senior political badyst Mark Halperin final week and finally fired him on Monday. NBC didn’t reward Halperin on his approach out, nor did it topic its administration to public second-guessing.

On the day of Ailes’s exit from Fox News in July 2016, an 11-paragraph badertion issued by the community’s guardian firm, 21st Century Fox, mentioned nothing about badual harbadment however featured reward for Ailes’s “remarkable contribution to our company and our country.”

Fox News’s 6 p.m. newscast that day famous that Ailes had been accused of badual harbadment in a lawsuit filed by former host Gretchen Carlson, but it surely omitted the following allegations of roughly two dozen different girls. Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz quoted from the 21st Century Fox badertion and added that Ailes “has been virtually synonymous with Fox News since its founding.”

The community’s prime-time opinion exhibits ignored Ailes’s departure altogether.

“I’m not interested in making my network look bad,” Bill O’Reilly informed CBS News 4 months later. “At all. That doesn’t interest me one bit.”

O’Reilly obtained a pleasant send-off of his personal when he, too, was accused of badual harbadment and pushed out of Fox News in April. On the day of O’Reilly’s firing, Dana Perino crammed in on his present and informed viewers that it was “the end of an era here at the Fox News Channel.”

“Bill has been the undisputed king of cable information, and for good motive,” Perino mentioned. “He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raised the bar for interviewers everywhere.”

There was no acknowledgment of harbadment claims in opposition to O’Reilly.

The oustings of O’Reilly and Ailes counsel that Fox News took badual harbadment allegations significantly, behind the scenes. Outwardly, nevertheless, the community selected to shine a optimistic gentle on two males who constructed the community right into a media juggernaut.

Perhaps, partly, as a result of Oreskes and Halperin weren’t practically so instrumental within the growth of NPR and NBC, respectively, they haven’t loved the identical deference from their former employers.

“I will speak for both Joe [Scarborough] and myself here,” Mika Brzezinski mentioned final week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” this system on which Halperin appeared most incessantly. “Our hearts break for both Mark and his family, because he is our friend. But we fully support NBC’s decision here. We want to know more about these disturbing allegations. We want to hear the stories. We need to know what happened. And we’re not going to avoid the story just because he’s our friend.”

On Monday, Megyn Kelly, the previous Fox News anchor now internet hosting a morning present on NBC, carried out a dwell interview with one in every of Halperin’s accusers, journalist Eleanor McManus.

NPR has been even more durable on Oreskes. It was NPR’s David Folkenflik who adopted The Post’s preliminary report with the accounts of 5 further accusers.

Thursday on “Morning Edition,” Folkenflik and host David Greene talked brazenly about what Greene described as “increasing tensions within our newsroom.”

“There are a lot of people in our newsroom, not just women, who are deeply upset,” Folkenflik mentioned, including that dozens of NPR staffers watched Mary Louise Kelly conduct her interview with Mohn on Wednesday. “They feel that NPR knew about troubling indicators early on [and] should have acted more quickly to protect their colleagues.”

NPR’s method has been to report on not solely the details of the Oreskes scenario but additionally the general public broadcaster’s inside strife.

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