Bo Dietl | Media Matters for America

Bo Dietl

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  • Bo Dietl ran a bigoted campaign and spied on women reporting sexual harassment at Fox; he should have no place in the media

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Conservative pundit Bo Dietl was thoroughly embarrassed in New York City’s November 7 mayoral election, receiving just 1 percent of the vote as an independent candidate. Media outlets should follow New York voters’ lead and spurn Dietl and his bigoted antics in the future.

    Dietl is a private detective who gained some level of fame for his autobiography One Tough Cop: The Bo Dietl Story, which was made into a poorly reviewed Stephen Baldwin movie. Dietl also appeared in bit parts on television and film over the years. He was even in a series of commercials for Arby’s, where he was “on a mission to expose the truth about fresh slicing” (Arby’s did not respond to a request for comment about whether it is open to hiring Dietl again in the future).  

    Dietl is also a conservative pundit, appearing frequently on radio programs and on Fox News, where he was a contributor until 2016. He used his Fox position to push anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, sexist, and racist rhetoric. He once said that the country has to start profiling "guys that look like Aba Daba Doo and Aba Daba Dah" and said we should "stop worrying about people's rights" in the Muslim community. He also said that Katie Couric “looks Oriental” because “she’s got her eyes pulled so far” and that “we are being raped in this country by illegal aliens.”

    Dietl also worked off air for Fox News to dig up dirt on former Fox News employees who reported Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. The New York Times reported this year of Dietl’s spying work:

    According to Mr. Dietl and several former staff members, [his] firm was first hired in 2004 by [Fox News’] outside counsel, Epstein, Becker & Green, to investigate Andrea Mackris, a producer on “The O’Reilly Factor” who had accused the host, Bill O’Reilly, in a lawsuit of making sexual comments to her.


    Then, last summer, sexual harassment allegations arose, first from Ms. Carlson, who sued Mr. Ailes, and then from others, including Ms. Tantaros, who leveled accusations against Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly in her lawsuits.

    Again, Fox News hired Epstein, Becker & Green, and again the lawyers summoned Mr. Dietl.

    Mr. Dietl cast a wide net for the inquiries into Ms. Carlson and Ms. Tantaros, which occurred simultaneously, according to former staff members, including Mr. Dietl’s top investigator at the time, a fellow former police officer, Mark Pucci.

    Mr. Pucci said he had compiled a list of leads and ultimately traveled to Virginia to try to find someone he believed to be an ex-boyfriend of Ms. Carlson’s. Other investigators combed through records and videos. One investigator tried to persuade the ghostwriter of Ms. Tantaros’s book to provide compromising information about her. Several staff members followed the women in hopes of overhearing them discuss plans for extravagant purchases.

    Dietl also reportedly has a long history with head Steve Bannon. The Times wrote that the two met in the 1990s through the entertainment industry and “Bannon soon hired the investigator to work on ‘domestic’ issues related to a divorce, said Mr. Dietl, who declined to elaborate.” (New York magazine reported that “Dietl denies having investigated Bannon’s ex-wife, and he rejects the characterization of his work on behalf of Ailes as in any way nefarious or intimidating.”)

    Dietl’s campaign was predictably terrible:  

    The morning after the election, Dietl tweeted to commentator and Reform Party official Frank Morano: "I Lost last night but I’m still a multimillionaire your [sic] still a Fat Looser [sic] in the looser [sic] Reform party." 

    Bo Dietl has no place working in the media given his toxic history.

    Video by Alazar Moges.

  • Report: Fox News Chief Spied On Women Who Spoke Out About Sexual Harassment At Fox, Including Gretchen Carlson

    Bo Dietl Reportedly Admits Digging Up Dirt On Gretchen Carlson And Andrea Mackris

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal about the ongoing federal investigation into Fox News, Roger Ailes, who engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment against female Fox News employees and was forced to resign as president and CEO in July 2016, hired private investigator and former Fox contributor Bo Dietl to discredit the sexual harassment allegations made against himself and Bill O’Reilly. Dietl confirmed his involvement in an interview with the Journal.

    This revelation comes in the wake of significant ongoing turmoil at the network. Bill Shine, who was promoted to co-president of Fox News after Ailes’ departure, resigned after multiple reports named him as being complicit in burying sexual harassment complaints by helping to coordinate smear campaigns against women who came forward with reports. Shine has been replaced with Suzanne Scott, who was referenced in a racial discrimination lawsuit against the network, and has reportedly participated in Fox’s sexist culture and retaliation efforts against employees who reported sexual harassment. From The Wall Street Journal:

    Investigators are also looking at Mr. Ailes’s use of prominent private investigator Bo Dietl to probe the backgrounds of people perceived to be a threat to either Mr. Ailes or the channel, according to people familiar with the situation.

    Mr. Dietl said in an interview with the Journal that he was used by Fox News to look into the pasts of Ms. Carlson and Andrea Mackris, a former producer who sued Mr. O’Reilly for harassment in 2004 and received a $9 million settlement from Mr. O’Reilly. Mr. Dietl said he was hired to find information that could discredit the women’s claims.

    He said he had an investigator eavesdrop on Ms. Mackris’s conversations at an establishment, in an effort to show she wasn’t under duress from alleged harassment. A lawyer for Ms. Mackris didn’t respond to a call seeking comment.

  • Report: Roger Ailes Used Fox News’ Budget To Target Journalists In Smear Campaigns

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes used “portions of the Fox budget” to “hire consultants, political operatives, and private detectives” to conduct “surveillance campaigns” against perceived enemies, including journalists critical of Fox and Ailes, according to a report from New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman.

    Parent company 21st Century Fox announced in July that Ailes would be resigning following allegations of sexual harassment from former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson and at least 25 other women. Subsequent reports have indicated Ailes was only part of a decades-long culture of sexual harassment at Fox. 

    Sherman reported that Ailes used revenue from Fox’s budget to hire consultants, operatives, and detectives that “reported only to him” and would work in a special “Black Room” to conduct operations “against people he targeted both inside and outside the company.” Sherman wrote that “Targets of the campaigns included journalists” such as Sherman himself and reporters from Gawker. He also wrote that multiple Fox employees participated in these operations, including Fox contributor and Ailes lawyer Peter Johnson Jr. and Fox contributor Bo Diehl, and that Fox’s CFO “approved budget expenditures throughout this period,” along with Fox’s general counsel.

    Sherman reported in his 2014 Ailes biography that Ailes had masterminded the creation of a blog called "The Cable Game” which was used to attack Fox rivals and critics and was authored in part by Fox contributor Jim Pinkerton.

    From the August 7 article:

    But with Ailes gone, Fox executives are now looking closely at how Ailes spent Fox money. And what they are discovering is that, beyond the sexual harassment claims, Ailes was also able to use portions of the Fox budget to hire consultants, political operatives, and private detectives that reported only to him, according to a senior Fox source. Last week, according to the source, Fox News dismissed five consultants whom Ailes had hired to do work that was more about advancing his own agenda than Fox’s. One of the consultants, Bert Solivan, ran negative PR campaigns against Ailes’s personal and political enemies out of Fox News headquarters, a source said.


    According to one highly-placed source, Solivan worked out of what Fox insiders called “the Black Room,” an operation Ailes established around 2011 to conduct PR and surveillance campaigns against people he targeted both inside and outside the company. The “Black Room” was located on the 14th floor of the News Corp building at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, a quiet part of the office that housed Fox News Latino and some marketing and promotions employees. Fox employees Ken LaCorte and Jim Pinkerton, veteran political operatives who’ve worked with Ailes since the 1980s, also worked with Solivan, the source said, adding that Ailes’s personal lawyer, and Fox contributor, Peter Johnson Jr. advised the team. (In an email, Peter Johnson denied any involvement in “Black Room” campaigns, saying, “The only online campaign I’m aware of is yours attempting to create a truth from a fiction with this account.”)

    Targets of the campaigns included journalists John Cook and Hamilton Nolan, who have aggressively covered Ailes for Gawker. According to one source, private detectives followed Cook around his Brooklyn neighborhood and Fox operatives prepared a report on him with information they intended to leak to blogs. (According to the source, one proposed line of attack claimed that Cook — whose wife, Slate news director Allison Benedikt, is Jewish — was anti-Semitic.)


    I was also the target of an operation, a highly-placed source told me: In 2012, while I was researching a biography of Ailes, Fox operatives set up web pages to attack my reputation, and Fox funds paid for Google search ads against my name that linked to the sites. One source also said private investigators employed by Fox contributor Bo Dietl were instructed to follow me and my wife.


    The allegations about Ailes’s questionable use of Fox resources raise the issue of how much other high-ranking officials knew about his activities. Fox News CFO Mark Kranz, for instance, approved budget expenditures throughout this period, and general counsel Dianne Brandi approved contracts. Through a spokesperson, both Kranz and Brandi said they had no knowledge of expenditures for surveillance and online attacks.

  • The Worst Islamophobia Of 2015 (VIDEO)

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC WUESTEWALD

    Fleeing from terror and indiscriminate violence in parts of the Middle East, millions of people have packed up and left their homes to start safer lives for themselves and their families elsewhere. But if you tuned into Fox News anytime in the last year, you'd think the refugees themselves -- many of them Muslim -- were responsible for the violence. In fact, painting Muslims as terrorists, radicals, and tacit supporters of ISIS, baseless demonization of Islam was the channel's modus operandi in 2015. And it wasn't just right-wing media. CNN also joined the smears, asking a Muslim human rights lawyer if he supports ISIS, questioning a Michigan mayor if she's afraid of her majority Muslim-American city council, and forcing responsibility for the recent attacks in Paris onto an innocent French Muslim.

    From berating a teenager for his interest in technology to inventing so-called "no-go zones," watch how the media fearmongered about Muslims in 2015:

    As Columbia Journalism Review explains in their annual list of the worst journalism in 2015, the media has a special responsibility to get these stories right and not perpetuate Islamophobia, as inaccurate and "reactionary coverage" can "influence policy makers to take drastic measures under the guise of popular fears."  

  • Fox Contributor's Safety Guide For Terrorism: Put Bacon In Hollow Point Bullets

    Bo Dietl: "I Also Put Bacon In My Hollow Point Bullets, So When I Whack The Terrorists, He Ain't Going To The 72 Virgins"

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox Contributor Bo Dietl hyped offensive "safety tips" he claimed would help Americans avoid becoming "soft targets" for terrorism. Dietl's xenophobic "tips" included profiling individuals, watching exits, and putting bacon in bullets to offend terrorists.

    On the November 18 edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox contributor Bo Dietl outlined his self-produced list of "safety tips" to avoid becoming a "soft target" to terrorism.  Dietl's tips included turning people into security if they look suspicious, sitting near exits, and getting off of public transportation immediately "if you see somebody sitting there that doesn't look right to you." During the segment, Fox displayed graphics dividing the tips into three categories:




    • 2.     SIT IN THE BACK
    • 3.     DON'T SIT NEAR WINDOW



    Dietl also added one final tip: "I also put bacon in my hollow point bullets so when I whack the terrorists, he's ain't going to the 72 virgins."

    Dietl has a history of inflammatory, islamophobic, and extreme rhetoriccalling profiling in airports "the best thing in the world." And recently, Dietl advocated that the government "stop worrying about people's rights" when it comes to surveilling Mosques and Muslim communities.