Well, that was fast.
Less than 48 hours after setting the blogosphere on fire, the "Fox Mole," who began publishing scathing items about Fox News Channel on the website Gawker on Tuesday, has apparently been caught and fired.
In a piece on Gawker Wednesday evening, titled "Hi Roger. It's Me, Joe, The Fox Mole," a News Corp. employee named Joe Muto came forward as the pseudonymous author.
Two hours ago I was called into a meeting with Dianne Brandi, the Fox News Executive Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs and suspended indefinitely... with pay, oddly enough.
They nailed me.
A Fox News spokesperson later issued the following statement:
“Joe Muto has already been fired. Once the network determined that Mr. Muto was the main culprit in less than 24 hours, he was suspended late yesterday while we pursued concurrent avenues. We are continuing to explore legal recourse against Mr. Muto and possibly others.”
Muto explains that he joined Fox in 2004, shuffling through different shows on the network before landing as an associate producer on "The O'Reilly Factor" in 2007, where he remained until Wednesday.
The day prior, Gawker had published the first of three posts from Muto under the byline "The Fox Mole." In it, he voiced dissatisfaction with his employer, its politics and its tactics, and vowed that he would reveal secrets from deep inside Rupert Murdoch's cable network. Included as proof was a short video outtake from Sean Hannity's February interview with Mitt Romney, in which the Republican candidate discusses his and his wife's fondness for horseback riding.
A second post described the "soul-crushing" accommodations of the Fox News offices (while also referencing Bill O'Reilly's bathroom habits).
On Wednesday, a Fox News representative told the website Mediaite that the company had ascertained the mole's identity. Muto proceeded to insist, by way of another Gawker post, that he was still very much undiscovered. Clearly, however, that was not the case.
"In the end, it was the digital trail that gave me away," Muto writes. "They knew that someone, using my computer login, had accessed the sources for two videos that ended up on Gawker over the past few weeks. They couldn't prove it entirely, but I was pretty much the only suspect."
Shortly after his coming-out post was published, Muto tweeted the following from his personal Twitter account:
He claims more revelations are forthcoming tomorrow.
Note: this story has been updated to include the statement from Fox News.
Ann Coulter <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/ann-coulter-obama-retard_n_2004828.html">called President Obama a "retard"</a> during the 2012 election. She made the remark on Twitter after the third and final presidential debate between Obama and Mitt Romney. "I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard," she tweeted.
In one of the wildest moments of the 2012 election, Fox News contributor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/fox-news-argues-obama-ohio_n_2085817.html">Karl Rove challenged the network's decision to call the race for President Obama</a> on the night of the vote. The network made its projection, but Rove said it was "premature" and "early" to make any real decisions. Anchor Megyn Kelly then walked backstage to speak to the number crunchers, who then explained that Rove was wrong.
Geraldo Rivera caused a huge uproar in March 2012 when he blamed Trayvon Martin's hoodie for his death. Martin, an unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Rivera <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/21/geraldo-rivera-trayvon-martin-benjamin-crump-hoodie_n_1532576.html">doubled down on his attacks</a> on what he called Martin's "thug wear," though he eventually<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/geraldo-rivera-apology-trayvon-martin-hoodie_n_1382814.html"> issued a public apology</a> for his explosive comments. Even Rivera's son said that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/geraldo-rivera-trayvon-martin-hoodie_n_1375080.html?ref=media">he was ashamed of his father's remarks</a>.
Bill O'Reilly came down hard on Whitney Houston the Monday after she died. "Whitney Houston wanted to kill herself," he said. "Nobody takes drugs for that long if they want to stay on the planet. She follows in the footsteps of Elvis, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson, and scores of other entertainment figures. The hard truth is that some people will always want to destroy themselves, and there's nothing society can do about it."
Fox News contributor Liz Trotta was reacting to news that the military will allow women to work closer to the front lines when she made a series of incendiary statements about rape. She said that the rate of sex crimes committed by army personnel was up, and continued, <blockquote>Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it's strictly been a question of pressure from the feminists.</blockquote> Trotta also alleged that "feminists" have demanded too much money to fund programs for sexual abuse victims. "You have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much," she said. She <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/20/fox-news-liz-trotta-rape-military_n_1288769.html">later doubled down</a> on her original remarks.
Keith Ablow, a Fox News contributor and the network's resident psychiatrist, has generated controversy with his dubious theories, which include his assertion that Chaz Bono's appearance on "Dancing With the Stars" would lead children to reconsider their gender. He also suggested that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/21/keith-ablow-fox-news-newt-gingrich-marriages_n_1220761.html" target="_hplink">Newt Gingrich's infidelity would make him a better president</a>, and that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/keith-ablow-joe-biden-debate_n_1967272.html" target="_hplink">Joe Biden showed signs of dementia</a> during the vice-presidential debate.
Steve Doocy speculated that Hillary Clinton recently had a face lift. "Is this the face of presidential ambition?" Doocy said. "Days after retiring as Secretary of State, somebody has launched a website for her, showing off this glamorous new face. Face lift, perhaps? Well, that’s fueling rumors about a run for president in 2016, but her aides say it’s simply a way for fans and the media to reach her."
Megyn Kelly and Bill O'Reilly were discussing the pepper spray incident that rocked UC Davis when Kelly wondered whether the spray used by police had been diluted. She said pepper spray is "a food product, essentially," adding that the spray was "obviously abrasive and intrusive."
Eric Bolling <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/13/eric-bolling-accused-of-r_n_876214.html">courted allegations of racism</a> when he criticized Obama's visit with the president of Gabon, saying, "It's not the first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse." As he said "hizzouse," a picture of rapper Common appeared on the screen.
In reference to a study that claimed people who stay married are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's, Kilmeade said that the results do not apply to the United States because: "... we keep marrying other species and other ethnics. See, the problem is the Swedes have pure genes. Because they marry other Swedes .... Finns marry other Finns, so they have a pure society. In America we marry everybody, we marry Italians and Irish."
Sean Hannity was reluctant to credit President Obama with killing Osama bin Laden. He was discussing Obama's foreign policy with Republican pollster Frank Luntz: "They’ve got a foreign policy that shows a lot of weakness," Hannity said. "I know the President will say they got bin Laden, putting that aside." "And the public gives him credit for that," Luntz said. Hannity replied, "But it wouldn’t have happened if he had his way, and I think that could be proven as well on tapes."
Ann Coulter called for someone to put out an ad to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/22/ann-coulter-obama-cocaine_n_933151.html">find President Obama's "cocaine dealer"</a> during an appearance on Sunday's "Fox and Friends." Coulter's comment came as she was opining that the media have given Republican presidential candidates a harder time than Obama ever got when he ran in the 2008 election. She noted that someone has already taken an ad out asking, "have you had sex with Rick Perry?" "Can we get the ad to find, you know, Obama's cocaine dealer now that he's two years into his presidency?" Coulter asked,
Fox News contributor Liz Trotta joked about killing President Obama. She was discussing Hillary Clinton's reference to RFK's assassination when defending her decision to stay in the race until June 2008. Trotta accidentally said that someone was talking about "Osama" getting knocked off, instead of "Obama." "Well, both if we could," Trotta then joked, laughing.
In 2009, Ann Coulter said that conservatives blacks are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/01/ann-coulter-herman-cain-our-blacks_n_1069172.html">"so much better"</a> than liberal blacks. "Our blacks are so much better than their blacks," Coulter told Fox News. "To become a black Republican, you don't just roll into it. You're not going with the flow. You have fought against probably your family members, probably your neighbors, you have thought everything out and that's why we have very impressive blacks in our party."
"Fox and Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade defended Bill O'Reilly after his infamous visit to "The View." "Not all Muslims are terrorists," Kilmeade said, "But all terrorists are Muslims." Later, he addressed the remarks, saying, "What I should have said, and I’d like to clarify, is all terrorists who killed us on 9/11; with the Cole; and the Khobar; and the ‘98 embassies; that’s what I should have said."
Bill O'Reilly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/03/bill-oreilly-sandra-fluke-limbaugh_n_1318249.html">did not hesitate to take Rush Limbaugh's side</a> in the furor over the radio host's comments about Sandra Fluke. "Let me get this straight, Ms. Fluke, and I'm asking this with all due respect," he said. "You want me to give you my hard-earned money so you can have sex?"
John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador and Fox News contributor, alleged that Hillary Clinton was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/john-bolton-hillary-clinton_n_2322782.html?utm_hp_ref=hillary-clinton">faking a "diplomatic illness"</a> to avoid testifying about Benghazi. Clinton's testimony was postponed after she fainted and suffered a concussion in December. Bolton claimed "every foreign service officer in every foreign ministry in the world" is familiar with coming up with such "diplomatic illnesses" when they "don't want to go to a meeting or a conference, or an event." "And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band," he said.