The Daily Beast

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  • Right-Wing Media Keep Pushing Myth Of "Partial-Birth" Abortion

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    In the 2016 election cycle, right-wing media have spread misinformation about the Democratic position on abortion access by alleging that the party supports so-called “partial-birth” abortions, often invoking the term as a description of an abortion that takes place in the final months or “moments” of pregnancy. In reality, “partial-birth” abortion is a term coined by anti-choice groups to vilify and stigmatize individuals who elect to have an abortion. Here is what the media should know about this common anti-choice myth and why media figures should not deploy it.

  • The Guide To Donald Trump's War On The Press (So Far)


    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has an extensive history of attacking the media, and his campaign and supporters have joined in the fight throughout the election. The nominee, his surrogates, and his supporters have called media outlets and reporters across the spectrum “dishonest,” “neurotic,” “dumb,” and a “waste of time,” and until recently, the campaign had a media blacklist of outlets that weren’t allowed into campaign events.

  • Fox Contributor Robert Jeffress Defends Trump Despite Sexual Assault Boasts

    Pro-Trump Evangelical Leaders Confirm To The Daily Beast That They Still Support GOP Nominee

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress was one of several right-wing evangelical leaders who reconfirmed their support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump despite the recent discovery of a 2005 recording of Trump profanely bragging about sexual assault.

    An explosive October 7 article from Washington Post reporter David Farenthold revealed video and audio of Trump bragging during a private conversation “in vulgar terms about kissing, groping, and trying to have sex with women” with or without their consent. The revelation of the nominee’s apparent admission that he had committed sexual assault set off a firestorm of criticism of the Republican nominee from journalists and political commentators, as the recording corroborated what has been alleged about Trump for years  

    Despite this torrent of criticism and the flight of would-be supporters, several of the far right conservative evangelical leaders who have been supportive of the GOP nominee for months remain solidly behind him. According to an October 7 report from Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff, right-wing leaders Ralph Reed, Robert Jeffress, and David Bozell believe “the audio won’t change how conservative voters view the candidate,” and Fox contributor Jeffress is “still voting Trump.” From The Daily Beast:

    The fact that Donald Trump said in 2005 that he could grab women “by the pussy” because he’s famous doesn’t seem to be changing how social conservative leaders feel about him.

    Evangelicals who opposed him before still aren’t fans. And the ones in his camp aren’t phased by the recording. That’s because this isn’t about how much they like the brash billionaire; it’s about how unflinching they are in their opposition to Hillary Clinton.

    “People of faith are voting on issues like who will protect unborn life, defund Planned Parenthood, defend religious liberty and oppose the Iran nuclear deal,” said Ralph Reed, who heads the Faith & Freedom Coalition. “A ten-year-old tape of a private conversation with a talk show host ranks low on their hierarchy of concerns.”

    Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and a member of Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, said the comments were “lewd, offensive, and indefensible.”

    But, he added, he’s still voting Trump. He said he moderated a meeting between the candidate and Evangelical and Catholic leaders, and he was forthright about his hesitations about Trump’s moral

    “I said at that time, with Trump sitting next to me, I would not necessarily choose this man to be my child’s Sunday School teacher,” [Robert] Jeffress said. “But that’s not what this election is about.”

    He added that he doesn’t think Hillary Clinton is morally superior to Trump.

    Both Ralph Reed and Robert Jeffress are members of Trump’s anti-LGBT and anti-choice “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board” and Jeffress is a long-time Fox News contributor. David Bozell spent 11 years at the right-wing Media Research Center, which serves as a prominent clearinghouse for misinformation parroted by right-wing media outlets.

  • The Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi Profiles "Propaganda As Fan Fiction" Junk Journalist Ed Klein

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi profiled discredited journalist Ed Klein, who attempts to paint Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as a criminal in his new book, Guilty As Sin. Nuzzi explained that Klein “just makes shit up” and that he “produce[s] colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality,” but that his “tall tales are likely to provide fodder for Clinton’s detractors” in the 2016 election.

    Klein has a long history of promoting conspiracies about the Clintons, and his work has been labeled "bullshit," "smut," "junk journalism," and "fan fiction" by a wide range of reporters, including many conservatives. Klein’s work -- which consists of outrageous smears about the Clintons (including that Bill Clinton raped Hillary), demonstrably false allegations, and fake quotes -- has been largely ignored in recent years. Despite his poor record, Klein was recently hosted on Fox News’ Fox & Friends to discuss his new book, where previously even co-host Brian Kilmeade had himself called Klein’s work into question. Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has reportedly known Klein for decades, has met with the discredited reporter during the presidential campaign, and according to Nuzzi was “interviewed extensively” for Klein’s book.

    In an October 6 article, Nuzzi described Klein’s “journalistic practices”: taking “real people, their titles and roles unchanged,” but “invent[ing] from whole cloth” the substance of their lives to “produce colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality.” From the article:

    To use Edward Klein’s own journalistic practices when writing about his work is to produce colorful narrative fiction with only the smallest connection to reality—the characters are real people, their titles and roles unchanged, but the content of their personalities, their conversations, and their thoughts invented from whole cloth. Klein’s work is propaganda as fan fiction, published and promoted as the serious nonfiction work of a reporter and editor once employed by Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times Magazine—all of which is true, except at some point in the last quarter century, Klein lost his goddamn mind.


    He began his career at the New York Daily News, from there became an editor at Newsweek, then left for The New York Times, became the editor of The New York Times Magazine—which won two Pulitzers under his stewardship, from 1977 to 1987—and then, in the mid-1990s, started writing books.

    He’s written 11 books advertised as nonfiction, four of them about the Clintons, whom, he told me in a May interview, he began researching around 2003.

    In case it’s not overwhelmingly clear already, he does not like the couple very much. But Klein’s political opinions are not the problem with his books or even their defining characteristic—that would be that he just makes shit up, and it’s not even good. Yet in the highly emotional and volatile climate of the 2016 presidential election, Klein’s tall tales are likely to provide fodder for Clinton’s detractors—especially Donald Trump, whom Klein has spent a lot of time with over the years and interviewed extensively for Guilty as Sin.


    From the way Klein talks, you’d think he wrote All the President’s Men, not a gossipy trilogy about the muumuu-loving Democratic nominee sexually harassing her female underling and escaping the law yet again. [The Daily Beast, 10/6/16]

  • Media Debunk Pence’s Smear Of Clinton’s Reproductive Rights Positions

    In The Vice Presidential Debate, Pence Revived An Anti-Choice Myth To Attack Clinton’s Support For Reproductive Rights

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    During the October 4 vice presidential debate, Republican nominee Mike Pence smeared Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s positions on reproductive rights. While Pence falsely alleged that Clinton’s position on abortion was extreme, Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine pointed out that Clinton “support[s] the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience and make their own decision about pregnancy.”

  • Here Are The Top Investigative Pieces The Moderator Should Read Before The Vice Presidential Debate

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    In light of the upcoming vice presidential debate, here are some of the most important investigative pieces written about Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence -- which CBS News’ Elaine Quijano, the vice presidential debate moderator, should read as part of her preparation. The articles examine Pence’s slow response to an HIV outbreak in Indiana, his close ties to gambling and tobacco interests, and his support for gun restrictions despite rising gun violence in Indiana.

  • Media Finally Admit The Bar Is Lower For Trump. But Can They Fix It?

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Memo to the media: You cannot have it both ways on the double standard applied to presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

    After NBC’s Commander in Chief Forum, reporters and pundits proclaimed that media have held the two presidential nominees to different standards of knowledge and conduct, yet these media figures have also perpetuated the double standard by excusing Trump’s behavior and applauding him any time he shows a veneer of conventionality.

    Numerous media figures criticized Matt Lauer, host of the September 7 forum, for employing different questioning toward Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Lauer allowed Trump to lie about opposing the Iraq war, yet he used eight of his first nine questions for Clinton to grill her over her emails. Several media figures said Lauer’s line of questioning embodied the “double standard” that reporters across the board use to analyze the two candidates.

    If Media Figures Note The Double Standard ... 

    • MSNBC's Mike Barnicle: Trump Is The "Continued Beneficiary Of A Huge Double Standard." The morning after the forum, MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle told Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough that Lauer interviewed Trump “as if he were the co-host or the host of The Apprentice,” rather than a presidential candidate, noting, “Syria wasn’t mentioned. Aleppo wasn’t mentioned. The refugee crisis wasn’t mentioned.” He noted that the forum showed Trump is the “continued beneficiary of a huge double standard.”
    • Wash. Post Contributor Paul Waldman: “Hillary Clinton Gets Examined In A Very Different Way Than Donald Trump Does.” Following the forum, Washington Post contributor Paul Waldman explained that Clinton “gets examined in a very different way than Trump does” by the media. Speaking on the September 7 edition of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Waldman faulted media for taking an “all hands on deck mentality” when reporting Clinton news -- saying that “everybody will investigate every nook and cranny to see if there’s anything there that looks untoward. And even if there isn’t, it becomes this story that drags out over the course of days and even weeks” -- as opposed to “strings of issues” about Trump that are reported once and then forgotten.
    • Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin: “Trump Is Being Held To A Less High Standard.” ” Prior to the forum, Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin told co-host John Heilemann that “the Clinton campaign is right” that “Trump is being held to a less high standard” by reporters and that “the press is just not holding him accountable.” Halperin continued, “Trump is doing things that if Clinton did, she would be hit a lot harder,” and he urged media to “work on fixing that.” Co-host John Heilemann agreed with Halperin, despite having defended the double standard the week prior, when he said that “sometimes … you have to set the bar low” for Trump.
    • NY Times' Maggie Haberman: "The Bar Has Been Lowered For Trump Repeatedly." New York Times political correspondent Maggie Haberman said on CNN’s New Day leading up to the forum that Trump “keeps getting graded on a curve” and “the bar has been lowered for Trump repeatedly.” Haberman criticized media figures who assess Trump by asking, “Does he merely pass?” And then if he does, they record it as Trump “did very well.”
    • NY Times’ James Poniewozik Slams Lauer For Questioning Trump On A Curve. New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik scolded Lauer for treating Clinton “like someone running for president” but Trump “like someone running to figure out how to be president, eventually.” Poniewozik wrote that after grilling Clinton on her private email server, Lauer pitched Trump “the kind of whiffle ball job-interview” questions “you ask the boss’s nephew you know you have to hire anyway.”
    • CNN’s Brian Stelter: “It Is True That Trump Is Held To A Different Standard Than Clinton.” The day after the forum, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter told CNN host Ashleigh Banfield that “it is true that Trump is held to a different standard than Clinton” and said that “no doubt, at the forum, there was different treatment for Trump versus Clinton.”

    ... But Have Perpetuated It ...

    Despite all this commentary, media figures have consistently perpetuated the double standard, holding Trump to a lower bar than they do Clinton in terms of behavioral and ethical conduct -- and in measures of veracity. Most recently, when a report came out that Trump paid a fine to the IRS for making an illegal $25,000 donation to the 2013 re-election campaign of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, broadcast news networks devoted a third as much as time to the matter as they provided to a flawed Associated Press story on the Clinton Foundation that proved no ethics breaches.

    Media figures have previously repeatedly pardoned Trump’s widely criticized rhetoric, policy flip-flops, and divisive comments because he’s “not a politician” and is “learning as he goes”:

    • Fox Hosts Excused Trump's Abortion Comments Because "He's Learning As He Goes." Hosts of Fox News’ Fox & Friends excused Trump’s statement in March that there should be some kind of punishment for women who obtain abortions, suggesting that Trump should not be expected to answer questions about abortion because they’re usually reserved for more experienced politicians. Co-host Steve Doocy excused Trump, saying, “He only became a politician about six or seven months ago.”
    • CNN’s Mark Preston: “You Have To Expect” Trump Will Abandon His Positions; He Can’t Be Thought Of In “Conventional Terms.” CNN political executive editor Mark Preston told New Day host Chris Cuomo in May that he was not surprised the presumptive nominee “took a half-step back” on banning Muslim immigrants because he can't be thought of in “conventional terms,” but rather “in Donald Trump terms.”
    • The Daily Beast’s Jackie Kucinich: “Consistency Should Be An Argument Against Donald Trump,” But Trump “Isn’t A Normal Candidate.” Daily Beast Washington bureau chief Jackie Kucinich claimed in May that while “consistency should be an argument against” Trump “in a normal political system,” Trump is “not a normal candidate” and thus his policy reversals might not affect him.

    Media have also absurdly applauded Trump any time he has appeared to assume even the slightest veneer of conventional, tempered behavior:

    • Reading A Speech From A Teleprompter: Media figures praised Trump as “presidential” in early June for delivering one speech with the aid of a teleprompter. Fox anchor Megyn Kelly praised Trump for being “a little bit more controlled using the teleprompter, which is something we almost never see him do, staying on message.”
    • Delivering One Speech Devoid Of Racist Attacks: Following the same speech, media figures also praised Trump as “presidential” for refraining from launching racist attacks against the federal judge presiding over Trump University lawsuits, which Trump had done for multiple days prior. CNN host Don Lemon said the “new, more presidential Donald Trump” is what “people in Washington wanted to see.”
    • Rebutting A Joke About His Penis Size: Fox doctor Keith Ablow praised Donald Trump for “show[ing] an incredible degree of psychological strength” in responding to a joke about the size of his hands by referencing the size of his penis.
    • Not Calling Then-Opponent Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted”: Following Trump’s April victory in the New York primary, Fox’s Megyn Kelly and ABC’s Tom Llamas said Trump was becoming “more presidential” and “trying out a more presidential style” because he did not call his opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), “Lyin’ Ted.” Trump returned to using the phrase the next day.

    ... Will They Change? 

    Now that political media have admitted their own shortcomings in the cautionary tale of Lauer, will they level the playing field between Clinton and Trump?

    Researcher Tyler Cherry contributed research to this post.

  • Media Highlight New Study Showing That Ohio’s Abortion Restriction Runs Counter To Best Medical Practice

    Anti-Choice Restrictions Were Based On Politics, Not Science -- With Consequences For Women’s Health Care

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    In March 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its dosage guidelines for medication abortion -- invalidating an anti-choice Ohio law requiring providers to administer the medications according to the label, but in a way that ran counter to best medical practices. In late August, media highlighted the results of a new study that found Ohio’s requirement not only made abortion less accessible, but also “harmed women who were forced to comply.”

  • White Supremacists Love Trump’s New Hire

    Daily Beast: Bannon Turned Breitbart Into A “Safe Space For White Supremacists”

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    White nationalists and hate group leaders are praising Donald Trump’s hiring of Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon as the new chief executive of his campaign, calling it “great news” and citing Bannon as someone who shares their views.

    An August 17 Daily Beast report detailed the disturbing list of white supremacists and hate group leaders praising the hiring of Bannon and his effort at Breitbart News to mainstream their views. White supremacist website editor Peter Brimelow called the hire “great news,” while white nationalist think tank leader Richard* Spencer lauded Bannon as someone whose website has shown “elective affinities” for his ideas.

    The Daily Beast further highlighted the turn took towards bolstering white supremacy under Bannon’s leadership:

    Bannon didn’t just make Breitbart a safe space for white supremacists; he’s also welcomed a scholar blacklisted from the mainstream conservative movement for arguing there’s a connection between race and IQ. Breitbart frequently highlights the work of Jason Richwine, who resigned from the conservative Heritage Foundation when news broke that his Harvard dissertation argued in part that Hispanics have lower IQs than non-Hispanic whites.

    Bannon loves Richwine. On Jan. 6 of this year, when Richwine was a guest on the radio show, Bannon called him “one of the smartest brains out there on demographics, demography this whole issue of immigration, what it means to this country.”

    And, unsurprisingly, Bannon heaps praise on Pamela Geller, an activist in the counter-Jihad movement who warns about “creeping Sharia.” When she appeared on the SiriusXM Breitbart radio show that Bannon hosted, he called her “one of the leading experts in the country if not the world” on Islam.

    The white nationalist movement has been celebrating Trump throughout his campaign and used his candidacy to recruit followers, fundraise, and spread their message. The Trump campaign has frequently interacted with the white nationalist movement, providing access to their surrogates for white nationalist media, giving a white nationalist radio host press credentials, failing to condemn their support, and retweeting them.

    *name corrected

  • Texas Media Call Out Anti-Choice Logic Behind Proposed Fetal Tissue Disposal Rules

    “Texas Is Trying To Get itself Sued Again Over Abortion Rights” By Secretly Pushing Fetal Tissue Disposal Rules

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Following the Supreme Court’s 5-3 rejection of Texas’ extreme anti-choice law HB 2 in June, state lawmakers attempted to quietly pass a new abortion restriction requiring fetal tissue from any abortion -- “regardless of the period of gestation” -- be buried or cremated. On August 4, Texas health officials will hold a public hearing on the proposed restriction. Ahead of this, Texas media have consistently called out the proposal as an overt, anti-choice attack on abortion access.

  • Donald Trump's “Repulsive” Attacks On The Khan Family Condemned Across The Spectrum


    Media figures across the ideological spectrum condemned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of an American Muslim soldier who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004, characterizing Trump’s comments as “repulsive,” and saying they show a “lack of a sense of decency” and “the gauge of his cruelty.”

  • The Daily Beast Highlights “The Shady Network” Of Nativist Organizations Trump Cited In His Speech

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Daily Beast profiled “the shady network” of nativist groups whose work and data Donald Trump cited during the anti-immigration sections of his Republican National Convention acceptance speech, noting that the groups Trump cited are “omnipresent in efforts to demonize immigrants.”

    Trump’s acceptance speech -- which the campaign made available -- includes 282 footnotes containing the sources for the candidate’s claims, with the work of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) being cited multiple times. FAIR has been classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric as well as its “ties to white supremacist groups, and eugenicists.” CIS, which FAIR’s founder John Tanton also helped found, has been repeatedly criticized for its shoddy research work and is labeled an “anti-immigrant nativist” organization by SPLC.

    As The Daily Beast points out, “CIS and FAIR provide the intellectual and organizational firepower for the immigration restrictionist movement” and their work always appears in efforts to “demonize immigrants.” The article continued, explaining that at one point anti-immigrant groups like CIS and FAIR were “pushed to the margins of the conservative conversation on immigration” but were kept relevant “thanks in part to powerful devotees in the talk-radio world and immigration-restrictionist stalwarts like Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert.” From The Daily Beast’s July 22 report:

    Trump’s team blasted out links to Trump’s remarks, including detailed footnotes showing the sources for his factual claims. And, unsurprisingly, many of Trump’s arguments are based on data from organizations funded by radical population control environmentalist activists. For instance, he cited a report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to undergird his argument that the federal government enables crime by not deporting more undocumented immigrants.

    FAIR was founded by John Tanton, a virulently anti-immigrant nativist who has associated with white supremacists and dabbled in eugenics. He and his allies also fear that human population growth—particularly in the First World—jeopardizes the environment. Thus, they also back pro-abortion groups. This fact has left many on the right deeply concerned about citing their research or affiliating with their leaders. But not Trump.

    Trump’s speech also cited the Center for Immigration Studies—another group Tanton founded and helps fund. His team cited three different reports from CIS to support his assertions that immigration hurts American workers and that the federal government isn’t deporting enough undocumented immigrants.

    Along with NumbersUSA, CIS and FAIR provide the intellectual and organizational firepower for the immigration restrictionist movement. Their data and scholars are omnipresent in efforts to demonize immigrants, and they were all major presences during the 2013 Gang of 8 comprehensive immigration reform debate. Tanton and his funding link the three together.


    In the pre-Trump era, these groups found themselves pushed to the margins of the conservative conversation on immigration. They never fully lost traction—thanks in part to powerful devotees in the talk-radio world and immigration-restrictionist stalwarts like Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert—but they had trouble. For several years, CPAC declined to give them airtime.


    In the meantime, the Republican National Committee made an explicit effort to change the party’s rhetoric on immigration.


    That dream is dead. Instead, Trump characterized immigrants as murderous, dangerous, and barbaric.


    In his America, migrants are would-be rapists and definite job-thieves.

    It is, in the literal sense, a story of xenophobia—a view of the world predicated on the notion that anyone from a foreign country should be feared.

  • Media Highlight Trump VP Pick Mike Pence’s “Radical Obstinacy” On Abortion

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Media figures are calling out the “bizarre” and “extreme” anti-abortion record of Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN). They called Pence “the most anti-abortion presidential or VP candidate we’ve had,” and noted that he “became a conservative hero” by virtue of his “longstanding, implacable and dogged” opposition to abortion.

  • The Daily Beast Highlights Former Fox Employees’ Allegations Of Ailes' Pattern Of Sexual Harassment

    “He’s A Disgusting Pig Who’s Been Getting Away With This Shit For 20 Years”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Daily Beast highlighted allegations from several former Fox employees who described experiences of sexual harassment by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in light of a recent lawsuit by former Fox host Gretchen Carlson.

    On July 6, Carlson, former host of Fox News’ The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, alleging that he had retaliated against her for refusing to have “a sexual relationship with him” by “ostracizing, marginalizing, and shunning her,” and ultimately “terminating her employment.” CNN reported that 10 other women have contacted Carlson’s lawyer “because they say they also have stories to share about treatment by Roger Ailes.”

    A July 7 article in The Daily Beast reported that “several women who formerly worked at [Fox] told The Daily Beast of similar encounters with” Ailes. The five women spoke “on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by Ailes and Fox News”:

    [Gretchen Carlson’s attorney Nancy Erika] Smith, for her part, said Carlson’s lawsuit has opened the floodgates of female ex-Fox News employees who say that Ailes harassed them as well.


    Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by Ailes and Fox News, several women who formerly worked at the network told The Daily Beast of similar encounters with the defendant.

    “One time he asked me if I was wearing underwear, and was he going to see anything ‘good,’” said a former Fox News employee, who said she has spoken with other women at the network who said they were targets of Ailes’ sexually charged remarks. “It’s happened to me and lots of other women… He’s a disgusting pig who’s been getting away with this shit for 20 years.”

    A second ex-employee, who also said Ailes verbally harassed her with inappropriate comments during one-on-one meetings, said the powerful and famously combative executive has so far escaped the consequences of his alleged behavior, because “when it comes to this issue, there’s already a conspiracy of silence. The problem is you don’t want to come forward because you don’t want to be personally and professionally destroyed. You don’t want to bring down Roger Ailes’s wrath on your head.”


    A third former Fox News employee told The Daily Beast: “When I met Ailes he wouldn’t stop staring at my legs, and at one point he asked if I was single. I was taken aback and said yes. And he was like, ‘Oh, OK, so you’re not gonna get pregnant any time soon.’ And then he asked my age.

    “And I think he could tell I was offended by the questions. And he said, ‘I know I’m not supposed to ask this—HR keeps telling me I can’t ask that because you can sue me because it’s illegal, but I don’t care. I’m [over 70] years old, if you wanna sue me, sue me.’”


    Still, interviews on Wednesday with former Fox News employees suggested that Ailes has presided over a corporate culture that values and even demands female pulchritude—or at least Ailes’s blonde ideal of same—over other professional qualities. According to a former staffer, executive assistant-turned-Fox News vice president of programming Suzanne Scott enforces with the wardrobe and makeup departments an aesthetic that features skimpy dresses, high-heeled open-toed shoes, and big hair for the channel’s on-air women.


    “A lot of the stuff in her [Carlson’s] suit rings very true to me,” said this person, who worked for almost a decade at the network and, like other Fox insiders quoted in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The stuff about showing of the legs—that was not even a secret—that was open company policy.

    Meanwhile, a fifth former Fox News employee told The Daily Beast that Carlson’s allegations seem credible because Ailes runs Fox News “like his personal fiefdom” and has fostered a culture that is not only sexist but menacing, something akin to a sexual North Korea.