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.