With Fox News, however, the coverage comes with a glaring dose of hypocrisy: while the right-wing network has largely gloated over the collapse of a Democratic mega-donor and Hollywood kingmaker, it has almost completely ignored its own sexual-harassment scandal that ended the careers of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling, and several executives.
Gretchen Carlson, the ex-anchor whose public accusations against Ailes began the Fox News meltdown, appeared Tuesday on CNN’s The Lead and had no qualms taking note of her former employer’s short-term memory problem.
“This is exactly why the American public hates politics right now and hates the divisive nature of this country,” Carlson said. “It’s total hypocrisy. It’s total hypocrisy to pretend like something didn’t happen.”
Her remarks, while not specifically naming her ex-employer, came in response to CNN host Jake Tapper playing several clips of Fox News personalities claiming liberal Hollywood knew about and actively worked to cover up for Weinstein’s behavior.
“Now, you can't talk about the Fox News Channel, that was part of your agreement as you left,” Tapper cautiously noted to Carlson. “There is a lot of righteousness on display on television right now, and some of it, I have to say, sitting from where I sit, is coming from people who work at places—plural—where sexual harassment and worse is part of the culture.”
He finally asked, careful to avoid singling out Fox while making very clear he was referring to the network: “How does that make you feel when you see people talking about this sort of thing and excusing it where they live?”
And Carlson, despite her legal agreement with the network, came as close to directly bashing them as she possibly could.
“I cannot believe that nothing was mentioned about a story that had taken as much national attention just 15 months before,” she said.
By and large, Fox News has avoided any mention of Ailes, O’Reilly, or Bolling while discussing the Weinstein scandal and the greater conversation about sexual harassment.
The network’s right-wing talk-show hosts have given ample airtime to the notion that powerful people worked with Weinstein to hide his many transgressions or attack the victims who might go public.
Calling out the enablers of pervasive sexual misconduct is, indeed, a noble cause, however, it’s quite clear this pursuit is for partisan purposes when it comes to Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Jeanine Pirro.
Hannity, for example, routinely defended his colleagues against the sexual-harassment allegations and, even after Ailes’s departure, claimed a liberal conspiracy was behind the claims. While editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, Carlson oversaw a bevy of articles aimed at smearing the Fox accusers.
And Pirro, who said just last week that “the curtain goes up on those Trump-hating, Soros-loving, socialist condescending Hollywood glitterati, for their silence, acceptance and coverup of one of their own,” played a significant role in Fox’s PR push to deny any charges against Ailes.
“That is so absurd,” Pirro said in 2016 of Carlson’s lawsuit against the ex-Fox chief. And she attacked the victim: “I don’t know that she, the plaintiff, even has a friend in that building.”