Thursday, September 01, 2016


Fox News and co-propagandists at CNN lead the pack of "mainstream media" frauds and corporate shills in shovelling dirt over into the grave of what was once The 4th Estate in America  

By Andrew Kreig

The sex scandals and political bias revealed at Fox News in recent weeks provide proof positive that the network functions as a propaganda operation that is even worse than its competitors.

The network’s corrupt “news” values are typified by Fox failure to cover for more than a few minutes the sex scandal allegations against Fox founding leader Roger Aisles by two former Fox anchors, Gretchen Carlson and Andrea Tantaros.

Carlson and Tantaros filed separate lawsuits this summer against Ailes in a scandal that prompted his resignation as chairman/CEO of the network he founded in 1996 within Rupert Murdoch's global empire. More than a score of other Fox employees or former employees besides those plaintiffs are reputed to have exposed Ailes on similar grounds either privately or publicly in recent weeks.

That's according to New York Magazine's intrepid reporter Gabriel Sherman, author of the 2014 biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.

Tantaros claimed in her suit that the network "operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult."

But as of Aug. 14, Fox had devoted just 11 minutes of airtime to six weeks to the scandal even though it prompted the CEO's resignation, according to a Washington Post story, Fox News confronts (but just barely) a scandal in its own house.

Gretchen Carlson with Doocy and Kilmeade

That self-censorship fits Fox's suppression of many other legitimate news stories and its biased treatment through the years hoking up phony scandals, including its transparently bogus reports this month claiming that Hillary Clinton is medically unfit for the presidency. Associated Press reporter Lisa Lerer debunked that story in her first-person account of a supposed uncontrollable fit by Clinton: Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there.

Today’s column reports these specifics in the context of the long, disgraceful pattern whereby Fox and other major U.S. media have worked through the decades to spike vitally important stories and manufacture phony crusades for political purposes.


Slanted stories on the nation's most important events have always been a major problem, as indicated by the cover-up of the true facts behind President Kennedy's 1963 assassination, which all major media continued five decades later as we reported in Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory as part of a 30-part "Readers Guide" to coverage of the murder.

Yet Fox News is especially corrupt even amidst such a grim landscape, in which public opinion polls rate the media as among the most dishonorable American organizations and occupations.

That should cause no surprise. Ailes and Murdoch are notorious in employing ruthless methods to achieve power, including brilliant strategies for combining patriotism, entertainment and sex into money-making success. Along with business and political success, Ailes is the author of the iconic best-seller You Are the Message, and worked with political hit man Lee Atwater on the Willie Horton smear campaign in the 1988 presidential election. His boss Rupert Murdoch has presided over many, many internal scandals through the decades.

Now, Ailes is also the target of particularly repulsive allegations that he used a form of mind-control to sexually and professionally subjugate a longtime staffer, Laurie Luhn, for 20 years, as described below.

Ailes, Luhn

Ailes, like Fox, has declined to respond in detail. But as one of the never-ending surprises of the 2016 presidential campaign, GOP nominee Donald Trump is reported to be drawing on Ailes for advice in debate and other campaign strategies. 

Coverage of sex scandals provides solid evidence for serious criticism of this multi-billion-dollar new operation, strange as it might seem.

The reasons? For one, Fox and a number of its affiliates founded much of their success on sexually oriented content, including the New York Post's revelations Aug. 28 breaking up the marriage of Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin and former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner.

So there's nothing more apt than an apples-to-apples comparison of how the Murdoch empire treats its own scandals.

Also, media revelations of sex scandals are often linked to political goals, both the ruthless destruction of targeted opponents and blackmail intimidation of other political targets who fear exposure unless they comply with secret demands for favorable decisions on policy. 

Murdoch's companies, like some competitors, are well-acquainted with the dark side of such scandal manipulation. In 2011, for example, several top executives at Fox's parent company News Corp. were arrested on charges of using illegally hacked cellphone data to blackmail high-ranking officials in Britain on government policy, as we reported here in the 2012 column PBS Report on Murdoch Shows How ‘Hacking’ Led to Political Blackmail. The scandal reached to the highest levels of the company. 

More generally, two score of the leading newspapers, broadcasters, magazines and wire services in the United States worked cooperatively with the CIA to foster CIA-friendly coverage in the Operation Mockingbird program during the 1950s and 1960s to misreport, among other matters, investigation into the JFK assassination, the crime of the century. That pattern has continued in many ways, as indicated below, tainting coverage to some degree at virtually all of the remaining media organizations on their current coverage.

We begin with a brief overview of the history of the Fox Network and its parent company's blackmailing and political intrigues, before before addressing more recent revelations of longstanding sex scandals at the Fox News.

The larger context of other such propaganda by media barons shows that news outlets have always been biased to some degree. But the manipulations at Fox are especially insidious because they are crafted with largely subconscious psychological tools to enrage viewers, helping foster angry voters without the basic information to take effective action.


The Fox News Channel, also known as Fox News, is a basic cable and satellite-delivered U.S. outlet within the global media News Corp. empire of Australian-born Rupert Murdoch, 85. 

Educated at Oxford, Murdoch inherited from his father two regional newspaper holdings and a radio station. The younger Murdoch founded Australia's first national newspaper in 1964. Four years later, he purchased the News of the World in the United Kingdom. He became that nation's leading media baron, first with tabloids and then with the satellite service SKY TV and such prestigious outlets as The Times, where he won regulatory approval on a false promise to retain the paper's top management. 

In 1985, Murdoch became a naturalized U.S. citizen. His success coincided with deregulatory policies beginning in the Reagan Administration. These increasing "cross-ownership" of different kinds of media under single ownership with lessened FCC and antitrust restrictions. Those policies enabled his acquisition of afternoon tabloids in such cities as New York and Boston and later encompassed broadcast, film and book publishing properties. 

The Fox Entertainment Group created irreverent programming such as "Married with Children" and "SouthPark."

Its subsidiary Fox News launched in 1996 under the leadership of former Republican Party media consultant and CNBC executive Roger Ailes.

With such hosts as Bill O'Reilly (an original hire in 1996 after hosting "Inside Edition"), Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly, it has leveraged its conservative slant to become the most popular of the cable news networks and highly competitive with the three pre-existing network television networks, ABC, CBS and NBC. 

O'Reilly is no newcomer to personal scandals 

Fox News built its appeal on a politically conservative slant, with hosts, reporters and guest commentators frequently slamming Democrats, liberals and other media for their policies and values. Longtime newspaper and broadcast commentator Llewellyn King, a friend of this editor, explained that success in a column this summer: The ‘Formula’ That Made Roger Ailes and Fox.

"In the beginning," King wrote a column syndicated to Newsday among other outlets, "there was Rupert Murdoch. He created the formula. Then he met Roger Ailes and installed him as head of what would become America’s most successful cable news channel, Fox News Channel, also known as Fox News. And so the formula of conservatism and sex, pioneered on a newspaper in Britain, came to television and the rest, as they say, is history."

In 2004, O'Reilly and his former producer Andrea Mackris temporarily disrupted that image by suing each other for $60 million. She asserted lurid details of sexual harassment by the married host O'Reilly. He claimed extortion. They and the network settled their suits under terms that remain confidential.

Court documents show extent of O'Reilly sexual harassment 

On Aug. 30 this week, the Washington Post reported Fox News legal filing leaves host Bill O’Reilly dangling regarding allegations against O'Reilly of harassment that Fox did not try to defend.

In 2011, a vastly more serious challenge to the company occurred upon revelations that its largest British newspaper News of the World had exploited illegally hacked cellphones of crime victims, other celebrities and political figures.

As we summarized in 2012:

Rupert Murdoch’s news and entertainment empire used illegal electronic surveillance for many years in what became, in effect, a political blackmail operation targeting government officials in the United Kingdom. That was a theme of Murdoch’s Scandal, a compelling investigative report broadcast by Frontline on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

Richard Dawkins, UK biologist and writer

The nearly hour-long documentary illustrates why reform efforts so often fail in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. 

Murdoch employees used illegal electronic surveillance ("hacking") along with private detectives and payoffs to monitor political figures, as well as sports and entertainment celebrities, and crime victims. Murdoch and his top executives said for years that any abuses were the work of one "rogue" reporter and a private investigator. But the scandal exploded following revelations that his employees hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, a teenage murder victim. Murdoch employees then reported messages from her phone, giving false hope she was still alive -- and prompting public outrage years later upon discovery of the fraud. 

Nick Davies is the Guardian reporter who broke the story. Most fellow journalists and public officials were too intimidated to pursue the evidence. He explains why the reform process took years: His nation's dominant news organization along with London's police and dominant political figures, some of whom were being blackmailed, lied about the evidence and otherwise blocked the probe.

Nick Davies

Frontline correspondent Lowell Bergman and producer Neil Docherty show how Murdoch's minions used their media power to arrange jobs and favorable coverage for police officials. News executives manipulated other government officials at the highest levels of government, including prime ministers.

"Reward and punishment is how this company works," commented Michael Wolff, a Vanity Fair writer who interviewed Murdoch many times in researching a 2008 biography, The Man Who Owns the News about a media empire valued at $70 billion.

"That's essentially the business model," Wolf continued. "That's what newspapers are for him. He likes to cultivate the sense that he knows more than you know and that he has information that he can use. So on any number of occasions he will have said to me in reference to somebody, ‘Oh, we have pictures of him.' In other words, the implication is: we have pictures of him in some kind of compromising situation."

Murdoch closed the News of World, the UK's largest newspaper. Murdoch himself underwent embarrassing investigation, including a hearing in which a protester threw a pie at Murdoch as his much-younger third wife defended him. But only one former senior executive, Andy Coulson, was convicted during an eight month trial. Details: Ex-UK tabloid editor convicted of phone hacking

Our Justice Integrity Project followed the scandal closely for more than a year. We were especially interested in the use of hacking by journalists and political operatives to blackmail public officials. Such practices block normal efforts at government reform, whether in the UK or United States. The U.S. probe closed with no charges, as reported by Reuters, among others, in Justice Department drops News Corp probe related to phone hacking.


In early July, former "Fox & Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes alleging that he fired her for rebuffing his sexual advances and challenging a sexist newsroom culture.

Huffington Post conveniently omits that Carlson has no formal journalism training 

As reported by the Huffington Post:

"Carlson, who spent 11 years at the network, described being ostracized and marginalized by Fox News for pushing back against condescending treatment. After seven and a half years as a co-host on “Fox & Friends,” the top-rated cable morning news show, Carlson was reassigned in 2013 to an early afternoon time slot. Fox News terminated her employment on June 23."

In the suit, Carlson claims she tried addressing what she considered to be discriminatory treatment during a September 2015 meeting with Ailes, who allegedly responded that their problems could have been better solved if they had a sexual relationship.

“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” Ailes told Carlson, according to the suit.

Ailes and Fox had no immediate comment.

The Carlson suit prompted a number of follow up stories quoting others as complaining about sexual harassment by Ailes during his long career, including at Fox. Several of the major ones were by New York Magazine writer Gabriel Sherman.

In one, Sherman reported July 9 for New York Magazine: Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them.

He followed with Sources: Megyn Kelly Told Murdoch Investigators That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her: It began:

"As a chorus of prominent Fox News women have gone public defending Roger Ailes against the wave of sexual-harassment allegations sparked by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit, the network’s biggest star, Megyn Kelly, has been conspicuously silent. Kelly’s refusal to join in Ailes’s orchestrated defense has led to speculation about why."

Now we have the answer. According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

Fox star Megyn Kelly knows the siren song
Kelly’s comments to investigators might explain why the Murdochs are moving so quickly to oust Ailes. As New York reported yesterday, Rupert and sons James and Lachlan, the three top executives at 21st Century Fox, have, according to multiple sources, decided that Ailes needs to be removed. Kelly, who has become something of a feminist icon thanks to her tangles with GOP nominee Donald Trump, is seen by many inside Fox as the future of the network. She’s currently in contract negotiations, and given that Bill O’Reilly has said he’s considering retirement, Fox can’t afford to lose her.

According to two sources, Monday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face being fired for cause... Ailes has also received advice on strategy from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, sources say. Note: Roger Ailes’ Days Running Fox News May Be Numbered, according to a separate report July 18.

Then Sherman reported: Former Fox News Booker Says She Was Sexually Harassed and ‘Psychologically Tortured’ by Roger Ailes for More Than 20 Years. "The morning after Fox News chief Roger Ailes resigned," Sherman's article began, "the cable network’s former director of booking placed a call to the New York law firm hired by 21st Century Fox to investigate sexual-harassment allegations against Ailes. Laurie Luhn told the lawyers at Paul, Weiss that she had been harassed by Ailes for more than 20 years, that executives at Fox News had known about it and helped cover it up, and that it had ruined her life."

“It was psychological torture,” she later told me, alleging a depraved level of sexual ubjugation and mental abuse by the married Ailes as a requirement for employment. 

Ailes and Fox declined comment because of litigation. Following the resignation of Ailes with an undisclosed retirement package estimated in value at some $70 million Tantaros filed her suit. The Washington Post reported Aug. 23 in Andrea Tantaros sues Fox News, calling it a ‘sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult

“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” her lawsuit says. The Post article by media reporter Paul Farhi continued:

"Fox and Tantaros have been at odds since last year, when the network said she breached her employment contract by writing a book without Fox’s approval. She has not appeared on Fox for months as a result of the dispute. Fox’s attorney has previously claimed in an arbitration hearing that her claims of sexual harassment were an attempt to gain leverage in her dispute over the book. Since Carlson’s suit was filed July 6, more than 20 women have told her attorneys that they were harassed by Ailes during his long career in television, dating as far back as the mid-1960s."

Tantaros herself is also no angel, willingly selling herself as eye-candy on Fox

Fox and its employees have repeatedly argued that they do not comment on pending litigation. That's strictly news management and propaganda. Other newsmakers seldom get away with that excuse. 


The American tradition of a free press protected by the Constitution's First Amendment deserves praise but is hardly the entire story.

Coexisting with the conventional image of a fearless press holding the powerful accountable is darker tradition that can be discerned in books and documents, and even in such famous films as The Front Page. It involves press lords and their henchmen concocting phony stories and suppressing others according to the owners' financial, political, and other personal interests.

One sense of this dark tradition comes from Time-Life founder Henry Luce, who is reputed to have told his staff that Time was "an opinion magazine -- and the opinion is mine." Luce often worked with a top aide, Charles "C.D." Jackson, shown below and often regarded as the nation's top expert in psychological warfare.

Similarly, Luce rival, Averill Harriman, publisher of Newsweek, heir to one of the great fortunes in U.S. history and a future New York governor, is reported to have written a friend that he would never permit a "hired man" at Newsweek to contradict Harriman's own foreign policy views in a column.

What follows are several more recent sensitive examples of hidden influence by elites. It's worth noting also at the outset that levers of control on a typical news outlet are so hard to discern and reporters tend to be so busy with deadlines that's few working journalists or even journalism professors know much about the facts below.

As noted above, Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence the top 40 or so media companies, plus other private organizations, including unions and other civic groups.

Future CIA Director Allen Dulles organized Operation Mockingbird in the 1950s. The organization recruited leading American journalists and other opinion leaders into a network to help advance the CIA's views on sensitive matters. The CIA funded student and cultural organizations and magazines as fronts, and also influenced foreign media and political campaigns.

Washington Post Publisher Philip Graham coordinated fellow owners of some 40 leading newspapers, broadcast networks, magazines and wire services for the program. His wife Katharine Graham recalled in her memoir that they dined about once a week with the CIA's Operation Mockingbird liaison Frank Wisner and his wife. Philip Graham and Wisner were each listed as suicides in the 1960s, and the CIA continued the program under World War II war hero Cord Meyer.

Mary Pinchot Meyer, Cord Meyer
The program undoubtedly thwarted coverage of the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, as well as many less-known stories. These include the capital city's leading unsolved murder, the 1964 shooting of Mary Pinchot Meyer. She was Cord Meyer's ex-wife (and is shown with him after World War II).

Also, she was a JFK lover in the 1960s after her divorce at a time when she was the sister-in-law of the Post-owned Newsweek's Washington Bureau Chief Ben Bradlee.

Bradlee, as the Post's executive editor for much of the next two decades, hid from the public that he had allowed his friend and CIA counter-intelligence chief James J. Angleton to ransack Meyer's home after her death and steal her diary.

That cover-up and media manipulation continues to the present, as reported in our column last year Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You. 

It reported how Fox host Bill O'Reilly, once an honest reporter valiantly pursuing leads on the Kennedy murder, sold out and accepted conventional wisdom, and was then caught telling a major JFK-related lie in his best-selling book Killing Kennedy.

The role of Fox competitor CNN deserves mention also in this brief overview of media manipulation, past and present. The self-proclaimed "most trusted name in news" repeatedly disgraces itself with biased coverage of vital issues, not coincidentally on the same kinds of topics that its parent company Time-Life slanted during the Operation Mockingbird era. 

Nearly all of the nation’s major media have disgraced themselves for more than half a century by failing, for example, to report the basics of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 and the cover-ups that have continued to the present. The CIA’s “Operation Mockingbird” coordinated by the Washington Post exemplified the lockstep of the nation’s 40 major news organizations on the JFK killing and similar events involving covert operations.

That pattern is readily apparent both at the Post and CNN, for instance, on other stories, as described below in a segment describing how the Time-Life, Inc. predecessor of CNN’s owner Time Warner was run during the JFK presidency by Charles “CD” Jackson. Jackson was regarded as America’s top expert on propaganda following his leadership in World War II psychological warfare, expertise in magazines, liaison to other sectors (including film, publishing, financial and secret societies), and post as President Eisenhower's special assistant for international affairs.

For a man with that skill set to run under Henry Luce several of the nation's important magazines, (including the newsweekly Time and the photo magazine Life), was no coincidence, as were its treatments of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald would repeatedly demonstrate.

And from that morass, Fox News has emerged as this era’s most blatant and perhaps powerful propaganda vehicle. Here’s why and how.


Among the many distorted stories promoted by Fox these days, the most obvious (aside from the network's neglect of the sex scandal allegations) is probably its disinformation campaign parading pseudo experts speculating that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has serious health problems. Details are summarized in a CNN discussion: Brian Stelter: Sean Hannity Irresponsibly "Spreading Conspiracy Theories" About Hillary Clinton Health Problems on Aug. 14, 2016.

"Conspiracy theories are so much more interesting than the truth," Stelter said. "But the last time I checked, Fox still has the word news in its name."

Fox drew on other sources, including Trump and conservative writer Mike Cernovich, who claimed that a "board-certified anesthesiologist with 36 years of experience" diagnosed Hillary Clinton with Parkinson's Disease.

The evidence for the claims was scant at best, and readily rebutted by such independent observers as Associated Press reporter Lisa Lerer, who has covered Clinton for a year on the campaign trail and wrote a column about one major "incident" cited by Fox News headlined Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so, I was there.

Yet seemingly as "proof" that something was amiss with Clinton, Hannity exclaimed: "Watch the reporter, like, pull back as she — the reporter got scared. And she keeps doing it. What is that?"

The allegation does not even pass the common sense test. Campaigning for a presidential nomination non-stop with speeches, travel, fund-raisers, and hundreds of individual interviews is a challenging proposition that few could even pretend to undertake if afflicted with serious health issues.

Beyond that, Clinton recently provided a doctor's report comparable to previous presidential candidates, and in sharp contrast Trump's 'letter" scribbled by a doctor in a five-minute limo ride to Trump Tower last December.

And just ten months ago, she displayed on national television steadfast testimony and endurance, at the minimum, against a hostile Republican-led committee that grilled her during a hearing that last 12 hours.

Clinton at Benghazi Hearing

As indicated in our Clinton's Benghazi Hearing Creates Fireworks On Partisan Claims, we have reported extensively on half-truths by both Clinton, President Obama and Republicans regarding the Benghzi deaths but cite that hearing here simply as visible evidence of the candidate's stamina and control, not for the substance of the discussion.


On Sunday, Aug. 28, Fox "Media Buzz" host Howard Kurtz illustrated the station's hypocrisy by denouncing Univision anchor Jorge Ramos for harsh criticisms of GOP nominee Donald Trump. "Stop using your cloak as an anchor," Kurtz ordered Ramos, "to disguise your role as an advocate."

That's silly coming from Kurtz, who has devoted his talents to self-serving and biased advocacy on behalf of his masters at the Washington Post, CNN and Fox for more than two decades while pretending to be a neutral media critic instead of a political manipulator with many conflicts.

Andrew Kreig

Andrew Kreig, Esq.
Andrew Kreig is Justice Integrity Project Executive Director and co-founder with over two decades experience as an attorney and non-profit executive in Washington, DC. An author and longtime investigative reporter, his primary focus since 2008 has been exploring allegations of official corruption and other misconduct in federal agencies. He has been a consultant and volunteer leader in advising several non-profit groups fostering cutting-edge applications within the communications industries.

As president and CEO of the Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI) from 1996 until 2008, Kreig led its worldwide advocacy that helped create the broadband wireless industry. Previously, he was WCAI vice president and general counsel, an associate at Latham & Watkins, law clerk to a federal judge, author of the book Spiked about the newspaper business and a longtime reporter for the Hartford Courant.

Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World from the mid-1990s and currently, he holds law degrees from the University of Chicago School of Law and from Yale Law School. Reared in New York City, his undergraduate degree in history is from Cornell University, where he was a student newspaper editor, rowing team member, and Golden Gloves boxer.



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