Roger Ailes

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  • Bill O’Reilly: “I’m Not Interested In” Allegations Of Sexual Harassment At Fox Because It “Makes My Network Look Bad”

    O'Reilly: "I've Got A Kids Book That I Want Millions Of Kids To Look At. That's What I'm Interested In, Not Making My Network Look Bad."

    Blog ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN

    Fox News host Bill O’Reilly lashed out when asked about fellow Fox host Megyn Kelly’s allegations in her new book that she was sexually harassed by former Fox CEO Roger Ailes, saying, “I'm not interested in making my network look bad.” O’Reilly, who himself once settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with a Fox employee, insisted that Fox is “a good place to work.”

    On the November 15 edition of CBS This Morning, O’Reilly was asked about Kelly’s book, in which she describes being sexually harassed by Ailes. O’Reilly initially responded calmly, calling Kelly smart and saying he hadn’t read the book, but he became agitated and defensive when pressed by CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell about the sexual harassment allegations. O’Reilly insisted that Fox is “a good place to work,” said that he’s “not interested in basically litigating something that is finished,” and he’s “not going to buy into let’s use the Fox News Channel as a piñata.” From CBS This Morning:

    BILL O'REILLY: I want to be very candid here, I'm not that interested in this.

    GAYLE KING (CO-HOST): No?

    O'REILLY: No, I mean, it’s over for me.

    NORAH O’DONNELL (CO-HOST): In sexual harassment? You’re not interested in sexual harassment?

    ​O'REILLY: I’m not interested in basically litigating something that is finished, that makes my network look bad. OK? I'm not interested in making my network look bad. At all. That doesn't interest me one bit.

    O'DONNELL: Is that what she's doing?

    ​O'REILLY: I don’t know, but I’m not going to even bother with it. I've got a country that's in a transition, political transition. All right? I've got a kids book that I want millions of kids to look at. That's what I'm interested in, not making my network look bad.

    ​[...]

    O’REILLY: Look, it's open season, let's whack the Fox News Channel. I've had enough of it. It's a good place to work, all right? We do good work. We do honest work there. So, I'm not going to buy into let’s use the Fox News Channel as a piñata. I don’t think it’s right.

    O’Reilly was one of many Fox personalities who defended Ailes in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former host Gretchen Carlson in July, saying in an interview, “I stand behind Roger 100 percent,” and calling Carlson’s lawsuit “frivolous.” After Ailes resigned amid building public pressure, O’Reilly falsely claimed that he hadn’t commented on the sexual harassment claims against Ailes.

    Since Ailes’ resignation, it has become clear that sexual harassment is an institutional problem at the network. Kelly was one of over two dozen women who came forward after Carlson filed her lawsuit alleging that they had been harassed by Ailes. Former host Andrea Tantaros also filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, naming not only Ailes, but several high-level executives and the Fox News Channel as defendants. Tantaros claimed that her “tenure at Fox News devolved into a nightmare of sexual harassment by Ailes, Fox News’s then-President, and others, followed by retaliation by Ailes and others despite multiple ongoing complaints by Tantaros.” One of the Fox executives named as a defendant in Tantaros’ suit was Bill Shine, who, according to the lawsuit, responded to Tantaros’ complaint that she was being harassed by telling her “that Ailes was a ‘very powerful man’ and that Tantaros ‘needed to let this one go.’” Shine was promoted to co-president of Fox News after Ailes’ resignation.

    The New York Times reported in July that Fox News has “a broader problem in the workplace” that went beyond Ailes. According to the Times, about a dozen women “said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it. Two of them cited Mr. Ailes and the rest cited other supervisors.”

    O’Reilly himself settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by then-Fox producer Andrea Mackris in 2004, which alleged that O’Reilly made “a series of explicit phone calls to her, advised her to use a vibrator and told her about sexual fantasies involving her.” O’Reilly reportedly settled the lawsuit for “anywhere from $2 million to $10 million.” O'Reilly was also named in Tantaros' suit, though he was not listed as a defendant. She alleged that he sexually harassed her by "asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be 'very private,'" and by "telling her on more than one occasion that he could 'see [her] as a wild girl,' and that he believed that she had a 'wild side.'”

  • Now That The Election Is Over, Megyn Kelly Reveals The Pro-Trump Conspiracy At Fox

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Megyn Kelly

    Fox News host Megyn Kelly waited until after the election to reveal that Donald Trump had inside information from Fox News about the question she would ask him at the first Republican primary debate, and to confirm that during the campaign former network chairman Roger Ailes was shilling for more positive coverage of the now president-elect.

    Kelly’s revelations came not on her news program before the presidential election when they would have mattered most for the American public, but in her forthcoming book, according to the New York Times review published November 10.

    According to the Times’ Jennifer Senior, Kelly writes in her book that Ailes repeatedly called her during the campaign to suggest that she was being unfair to Trump. Kelly’s book indicates that Trump had prior, accurate knowledge that Kelly would ask him a “very pointed question” at Fox’s August 2015 primary debate. Senior writes that this indicates that “parts of Fox -- or at the very least, Roger Ailes… seemed to be nakedly colluding with the Republican presidential nominee”:

    Then, the day before the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump was in a lather again, Ms. Kelly writes. He called Fox executives, saying he’d heard that her first question “was a very pointed question directed at him.” This disconcerted her, because it was true: It was about his history of using disparaging language about women.
     
    She doesn’t speculate where the leak came from. (She reports. You decide.) But that’s another unambiguous takeaway from this book: Parts of Fox — or at the very least, Roger Ailes, the network’s chairman until July, when he was given the boot after several allegations of sexual harassment were made against him — seemed to be nakedly colluding with the Republican presidential nominee.

    Kelly’s book comes as she seeks to negotiate a new contract. Fox News is pushing to sign her, reportedly offering more than $20 million a year. Executives at other networks are reportedly interested, but have not made offers.

    Several journalists have reported that Ailes was advising Trump while running Fox News, but Kelly’s after-the-fact acknowledgement of such blatant collusion is the first time a Fox employee has publicly admitted that Ailes was seeking to use his role at the network to aid his preferred candidate. Ailes’ role as an informal Trump advisor continued after Ailes was forced to resign after numerous women at Fox -- including Kelly -- accused him of a decades-long pattern of sexual harrasment.

    Senior unfortunately seems completely nonplussed at the journalistic ethics of holding such bombshells until after the election. Instead, she lauds Kelly as “this presidential election’s unlikely feminist hero,” “the intrepid gal reporter,” “the hen in the Fox house,” “fabulous, shrewd and self-possessed,” a “superstar,” and a “metabolic anomaly” who “willed herself into her own spectacular existence.” As is typical for such glowing accounts of Kelly, the review comes with no acknowledgment  of the actual content of Kelly’s show, which regularly traffics in the same misinformation, fearmongering, and racial anxiety as the rest of the network’s programming.

    For her part, Kelly appears to have realized the journalistic peril caused by her post-election revelations and is seeking to do some damage control after her damning admissions circulated on social media:

    Kelly wants to avoid the suggestion that Trump received actual debate questions from Fox because, in addition to the confirmation of collusion between the news organization and then-candidate Trump, her story raises specific questions of hypocrisy. Kelly provided harsh questioning and criticism of Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile, whose resignation from CNN was announced "amid fresh revelations that she sent questions to Hillary Clinton's campaign in advance of a CNN debate and a CNN-TV One town hall." “Can you imagine if this were a Republican had been fed a question by Fox News?” Kelly asked earlier this month. “You know, the different reaction we’d be seeing in the media?”

    Following Brazile’s resignation, Fox media critic Howard Kurtz commented that CNN “can’t resolve the matter without the kind of transparency that news organizations regularly demand from politicians. And that means disclosing the results of the internal investigation and what steps CNN is taking to ensure such an ethical breach doesn’t happen again.”

    Meanwhile, we now know Fox’s chief was advising the Republican presidential candidate and using his position to sway coverage in his favor. What kind of "transparency" will Fox provide, and what steps will the network take "to ensure such an ethical breach doesn't happen again"?

    CORRECTION: This post originally indicated Brazile was fired by CNN. In fact, she resigned.

  • Will Fox News Let Megyn Kelly Discuss Her Allegations Against Roger Ailes On-Air?

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    While promoting the release of her upcoming memoir on her Fox News show, Megyn Kelly has remained silent on her reported allegations in the book that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by network founder and former CEO Roger Ailes. This raises questions about whether the network will allow Kelly to discuss these allegations on their airwaves.

    During the November 3 edition of her Fox News show, Kelly noted a last-minute revision she made to her forthcoming autobiography, Settle For More, about former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is currently under investigation for an alleged inappropriate relationship with an underage girl. She also highlighted the “many contentious exchanges” with Weiner throughout her time as a Fox News host.

    But Kelly did not mention the news that broke earlier that day about the book: Kelly reportedly reveals “explosive new charges against the network’s founder, Roger Ailes." In her book, Kelly claims Ailes “tried to sexually assault her in his New York office and hinted she would be fired when she ‘pushed him away’” according to Radar Online, which received an advance copy. Kelly claims she “was approached several times, and several times I refused,” and Ailes’ harassment didn’t stop until she reported him to her supervisor:

    Kelly claims in the book that he started to harass her, too, in the summer of 2005, a few months after she was hired as a legal correspondent in Fox’s Washington bureau.

    She writes that she was informed by her managing editor that she’d “captured the attention of Mr. Ailes” and she was summoned to the first of a series of meetings in his Manhattan office.

    “Roger began pushing the limits,” she alleges. “There was a pattern to his behavior. I would be called into Roger’s office, he would shut the door, and over the next hour or two, he would engage in a kind of cat-and-mouse game with me — veering between obviously inappropriate sexually charged comments (e.g. about the ‘very sexy bras’ I must have and how he’d like to see me in them) and legitimate professional advice.”

    He offered to advance her career “in exchange for sexual favors,” she writes, and even though she says she rejected “every single one,” she claims he tried “physical advances.”

    But in January 2006, she claims, he “crossed a new line — trying to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips.” When she shoved him away, she alleges, “he asked me an ominous question: ‘When is your contract up?’ And then, for the third time, he tried to kiss me.”

    The Wall Street Journal, Fox News' corporate cousin, confirmed Radar Online's report. 

    Roger Ailes, the former chairman and CEO of Fox News, resigned his position at Fox following allegations from multiple women of sexual harassment and assault by the executive. Former host Gretchen Carlson first accused Ailes of “sexual harassment/retaliation” in a lawsuit after being abruptly fired by the network. Dozens of women have since accused Ailes of similar harassment, including Kelly. While these claims have been widely reported by the media, Fox has remained mostly silent about the reports of harassment on their airwaves, which speaks to the culture of sexism and misogyny at the network.

  • Fox’s Brit Hume Attacks Latest Trump Accuser’s Claim Because She “Has Sex On Camera For” Money

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume attacked the latest woman to accuse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, writing on Twitter, “Woman who has sex on camera for $ says Trump propositioned her. ‘This is not acceptable behavior.’ Please.”

    During an October 22 press conference Jessica Drake, who directs and performs in adult films, accused Trump of “inappropriate sexual contact” at a charity golf tournament where she alleges he kissed and touched her without her permission. Drake also says that Trump also propositioned her with a $10,000 offer, which she declined. “This is not acceptable behavior for anyone -- much less a presidential candidate,” she told the press.

    Hume responded to Drake’s allegations by suggesting that Drake could not be offended by Trump’s alleged proposition because of her line of work.

    From Hume’s Twitter account:

     

     

    Hume previously cast doubt on the claim of a woman who told The New York Times that Trump groped her by after lifting the armrest between her and Trump while the two were on an airplane flight during the early 1980s. Hume said on Fox News’ On the Record, “The kinds of armrests that I'm accustomed to seeing in those airplanes don't mysteriously disappear. … So it could be that the Trump camp has a point about the impracticability of such an assault.”

    Hume also sought to diminish the credibility of former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson after she sued former Fox News CEO and chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment in July. Commenting on the fact that Carlson filed her suit after her Fox News contract was not extended, Hume wrote on Twitter, “Here's another suggestion. Why didn't she quit & sue instead of suing only after she got fired?”

    Fox News later paid Carlson $20 million to settle her claims and released a statement that read, in part, “We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”

  • What To Expect From Fox News’ Chris Wallace At Tonight’s Presidential Debate

    If Wallace Acts The Way He Said He Would, Viewers Are In Trouble

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox News played a key role in Donald Trump’s ascension to the Republican presidential nomination. Now one of the network’s hosts, Chris Wallace, is preparing to moderate tonight’s final debate of the election cycle.

    Trump used regular appearances on Fox to build a political following during and following his 2011 birther crusade. During the Republican primary, the network gave him more than double the interview time of any other candidate, regularly providing him a friendly venue to speak to its conservative audience. In recent months, Trump has retreated almost completely to Fox News, with Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and the network’s Fox & Friends hosts providing virtually all of his national TV interviews.

    The Commission on Presidential Debates responded by granting a Fox employee a coveted role as a presidential debate moderator for the first time in the network’s history.

    As Media Matters and others have pointed out, Wallace has a massive conflict of interest. Over the summer, Fox News founder Roger Ailes was removed from his position as network chief following allegations from dozens of women that he had engaged in a pattern of workplace sexual harassment. Following Ailes’ resignation, Wallace praised him as a mentor and personal friend. Ailes is now reportedly advising both the Trump campaign and Wallace’s boss, Rupert Murdoch.

    Wallace’s defenders have cited his tough interview style and the “grilling” he gave Trump during the Republican primary debates. Media Matters has at times highlighted tough questions that Wallace has asked Republicans on his Fox News Sunday program. But in recent interviews, Wallace has explicitly said that he has no intention of providing such a forum tonight, claiming that the proper role of a moderator is as a “timekeeper,” not a “truth squad.”

    Given the constraints Wallace says he has placed on himself -- and his network’s history of conservative misinformation -- here’s what we expect to see at tonight’s debate.

    With No Moderator Fact-Checking, Trump Has Free Rein To Lie With Abandon

    The only way for viewers to get accurate information when Trump is a participant in a debate is for the moderator to “fact-check him” “in real time.” That’s what Wallace said after the Fox host deployed a series of pre-made graphics about some of Trump’s most common lies during a March primary debate.

    Wallace is right. Trump lies constantly, in a manner unprecedented for a presidential candidate. If he lies on the debate stage and the other candidate is the only one prepared to respond, viewers will be left without a clear answer on matters of simple fact.

    But since being named a general election moderator, Wallace has changed his tune. Asked last month how he would respond if the nominees “make assertions that you know to be untrue,” Wallace replied, “That's not my job. I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad. It's up to the other person to catch them on that.” He later added that such “truth squading” is “a step too far.”

    Trump will benefit from this stance, which is likely why he praised Wallace’s comments.

    Trump Will Run Wild If Wallace Just Acts As “A Timekeeper”

    The last two debates have seen the moderators stretched to their limits as they tried to get Trump to answer their questions and he evaded them and countered with seemingly endless tangential attacks on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    Trump doesn’t have to worry about that this time. Wallace said during a Sunday interview that as a moderator, “you're there as a timekeeper, but you're not a participant. You're there just to make sure that they engage in the most interesting and fairest way possible.”

    If that’s the case, we could see a version of Trump completely unhindered by any restrictions, at a time when he’s shown a willingness to descend to the most conspiratorial depths.

    Wallace’s Questions Will Set Up A False Equivalence Between Clinton And Trump

    Wallace has decided that one of the six 15-minute debate periods will be devoted to the issue of each nominee's “fitness to be president.” This will likely involve both Clinton and Trump fielding questions from the moderator about issues that suggest they are not fit to be president.

    This sets up a classic false equivalence trap.

    Trump is an unprecedented major party nominee. He has received support from white nationalists; called for an unconstitutional Muslim ban; issued racist attacks on Mexican immigrants; fomented violence against protestors and the press; shown little interest in policy or the constraints of the presidency; and operated a foundation as a self-dealing scam. He has a long history of failed business ventures that left everyone else holding the bag, and he is currently responding to allegations of sexual assault from at least 10 women by declaring that a massive conspiracy by the media, as well as unsubstantiated voter fraud, are all that can keep him from the presidency. He has drawn opposition from numerous Republican and conservative leaders as well as newspaper editorial boards that have supported every GOP nominee for decades.

    Meanwhile, Clinton is a well-known politician with decades of experience in public service who has drawn scrutiny from the press regarding her email setup and foundation.

    If Wallace devotes equal attention to the “fitness” of both candidates, he cannot help but mislead his audience.

    Wallace Will Bring Up Benghazi

    It seems overwhelmingly unlikely that the first Fox News-hosted presidential debate will ignore the topic that has consumed that network since 2012: the attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. Fox has sought to keep the “scandal” alive with myth after myth for too long to let it go on the biggest possible stage. Indeed, after the first debate, Wallace’s colleagues complained that the the terror attack hadn’t come up.

    There Will Be No Mention Of The Elephant In The Room

    It should be impossible for Wallace to avoid asking Trump about the many women who have come forward over the past 10 days and said that the 2005 video of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women was consistent with their experiences with the GOP nominee.

    But one factor is unlikely to come up: the Trump campaign advisor who was forced out of his previous job after dozens of women came forward to say that he had sexually harassed them. The founder of Wallace’s place of employment. The man Wallace called “the best boss I’ve had” and said he “loved” and for whom he has shed tears. The man who built the conservative media infrastructure and modern Republican Party in which a man like Trump could claim the nomination. Roger Ailes.

  • After Caught Bragging About Sexual Assault, Man Will Talk With Different Man Facing Sexual Harassment Allegations

    A Donald Trump Interview Will Air On The O’Reilly Factor, On A Network That Ousted Its Founder Over Decades Of Alleged Sexual Harassment

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who was recently accused of sexual harassment by former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros, announced “a Factor world exclusive” with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who would give his “first interview after the debate and the Access Hollywood situation,” referring to a tape in which Trump admitted to committing sexual assault, to The O’Reilly Factor

    On October 7, MSNBC released video of Donald Trump bragging that his star power allowed him to do whatever he wants to women, with or without their consent. While members of the media condemned Trump’s comments, noting that he was admitting to “sexual assault,” O’Reilly rushed to dismiss the tape as “guy talk,” instead choosing to attack The Washington Post.

    In his first televised appearance since news of the tape broke, Trump has continued his retreat to Fox News, choosing to speak with O’Reilly who was recently accused of sexual harassment by Tantaros who alleges that O’Reilly invited her to a “very private” stay on Long Island with him and had posited on more than one occasion that she was “wild.”

    Furthermore, in 2004 O’Reilly was the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by then-Fox producer Andrea Mackris, which alleged that O’Reilly made “a series of explicit phone calls to her, advised her to use a vibrator and told her about sexual fantasies involving her.” O’Reilly settled the lawsuit in 2004. According to CBS, “The New York Daily News, citing unidentified sources, reported that O'Reilly had agreed to pay Mackris anywhere from $2 million to $10 million."

    Beyond accusations leveled at O’Reilly, Fox News itself has recently come under intense criticism for a pervasive culture of sexual harassment. On July 6, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against then-Fox CEO, and current Trump adviser, Roger Ailes. Carlson alleged that Ailes fired her after she rebuffed several unwanted sexual advances. Carlson’s lawsuit led other women at Fox to come forward with similar allegations, culminating in Ailes’ resignation from the network 15 days later. Following the ouster of Ailes, Fox News promoted Bill Shine, an executive who helped cover up Ailes’ decades of abuse, which others said demonstrated that sexual harassment “is pervasive at Fox” and their internal investigation was little more than a PR stunt

  • Reminder To The Media: Trump Is The Worst Possible Messenger On The Clintons’ Marriage

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    Media should report on the immense hypocrisy of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump levying attacks on former President Bill Clinton’s history with women and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s responses to those women.Trump and several of his closest advisers have long histories of engaging in infidelity, workplace sexual harassment, and misogynistic behavior. Trump himself has also called Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky “totally unimportant,” and, The Washington Post reported, he “repeatedly dismissed and at times mocked” the women who have accused Bill Clinton.  

  • Roger Ailes Conspicuously Absent From Fox News' 20th Anniversary Celebration

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Fox News Channel, which launched on October 7, 1996, celebrated its 20th anniversary Friday and mentioned the occasion on at least seven different news shows throughout the day. The anniversary tributes included a video featuring two top executives, but notably neglected to mention Fox News founder Roger Ailes.

    The former Fox executive was recently ousted from the network due to multiple claims of sexual harassment from female colleagues and subordinates over many years. Ailes is currently advising Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose candidacy is now in crisis over a 2005 recording of the nominee boasting about sexual assault that was coincidentally released by The Washington Post on Fox News’ anniversary date.

    Because the disturbing testimonies from former Fox hosts Gretchen Carlson and Andrea Tantaros, and various other women at the network, about their horrific experiences with Ailes were met with criticism by many who work there, it is not a surprise that Fox would whitewash the channel’s history. For example, prime-time host Bill O’Reilly, who is known for providing cover for Ailes, notably ignored the founder’s principal role in building the outlet. From the October 7 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    This obvious channel-wide omittance did not go unnoticed in the media. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple reported that the website commemorating Fox News’ 20th anniversary featured top Fox executives Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch but failed to mention the channel’s founder Roger Ailes. From the October 7 report (emphasis original):

    This took some doing: 21st Century Fox is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Fox News without even mentioning the founder of Fox News, Roger Ailes. The tribute appears on the website of 21st Century Fox, the cable news network’s parent company, and includes a brief video in which Lachlan Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch, top executives of the company, look back on the world-beating organization that Ailes launched in 1996.

    “Fox News came from a point of view of we can do this better,” says Lachlan Murdoch, the company’s executive chairman, in a video. “We can make news more interesting. We can tell stories better. We can tell them with more energy and more color.” Rupert Murdoch notes that he was “very lucky in the people I found. Now it’s … probably our single-biggest profit-maker as an individual channel.”

    Bolding added to highlight what has to be a reference to Ailes, the now-76-year-old Republican strategist-turned-television executive who drove Fox News programming decisions with resourcefulness, ruthlessness and shamelessness.

    Despite Fox’s best efforts to hush the news around Ailes’ misconduct, the outlet’s own history of hate, misogyny, and smears speaks volumes about its forgotten creator.

  • The Reckoning Arrives For Trump, Fox News, And The GOP

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Spy magazine got it right more than two decades ago, Donald Trump is simply a short-fingered vulgarian.

    For any remaining non-believers, this week’s released tape of Trump boasting about his sexual predator behavior eliminated any real doubts. (“Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” and “Grab them by the pussy.”)

    In the wake of the ground-shaking campaign bombshell, the Republican Party now faces a political crisis the likes of which it probably has not seen since the days of Watergate. In terms of a political party openly being at war with its presidential nominee one month before Election Day, as a GOP chorus grows demanding Trump step aside, there’s simply no precedent for this in modern American politics.

    How did the Republican Party arrive at this cratered-out low point? Simple -- this is what happens when conservatives feast exclusively on Fox News gobbledygook for years, especially for the last eight years under President Barack Obama. It’s what happens when you abandon policy, when you abandon common sense, and when you abandon hope in favor of vulgarity as a party platform.

    This Trump fiasco was telegraphed months ago. All of it. It simply wasn’t possible that a vainglorious narcissist like Trump, deeply uninterested in how the world works, would be able to pull off a presidential election campaign without revealing his true identity.

    The best case scenario was that Trump would run as sort of a bombastic and obnoxious Mitt Romney, lose, but not do serious lasting damage to the Republican Party. The far more likely scenario, and the one that’s unfolding during the final weeks, was that Trump would reveal himself to be a pathological liar and disturbed sexual predator who thinks fame gives him a license to assault and harass women.

    Think about that: The GOP nominated a pathological liar whose moments of truth seem to be when he brags about his sexual predator habits. And even then, when audio and video proof finally confirmed what was long suspected, prominent Fox News hosts immediately sprang into spin control mode, while far-out Fox guests uttered bizarre statements.

    Gina Louden: "No one was raped, nobody has died."

    Dinesh D'Souza: “In my entire adult lifetime but never before have I seen the media so aggressively huffing and puffing to drag this crooked hag across the finish line.”

    The simple truth is the GOP followed Fox News into the ethical and moral abyss long ago. And the GOP did so willingly. Seduced by the millions of dollars (billions of dollars?) worth of free airtime that Fox News provides the party each year, and aroused by the channel’s unvarnished hate rhetoric and its fever swamp attacks, Republicans abdicated party leadership to the now-disgraced Roger Ailes, who then turned around and helped crown Trump the Fox News mascot/presidential nominee.

    This train wreck, this dumpster fire, this…..thing now on display in the form of the Trump campaign represents the logical conclusion for a party that decided to walk away from governance and embrace the bottom-of-the-barrel offerings cooked up by Fox News. For a party that opted to nominate in Trump someone who scooped up all that Fox hate rhetoric and made it the very cornerstone of his campaign. And yes, that includes dangerous insurrectionism and the racist smear that Obama’s a foreign-born terrorist sympathizer.  

    Lots of Republicans have since stood by Trump despite the fact he’s repeatedly denigrated women, African-Americans, Latinos, and the disabled, among others. That’s how the party arrived at its current crisis.

    The funny thing is we tried to warn them.

    Four years ago, I wrote about how Fox News was destroying the Republican Party. But no, back then I never imagined we’d be witnessing this kind of public disintegration of the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2016.

    And that’s what makes this unraveling so stunning. It’s not that the campaign apparatus has fallen apart. It’s not that Trump’s team misread the electorate. It’s that the GOP candidate has fully revealed himself to be a loathsome person who has surrounded himself with equally loathsome people. First and foremost among them is former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who was forced out this summer amidst a sexual harassment firestorm.

    Please keep in mind:

    During July, we learned that women claimed men who worked in positions of power at Fox News (namely Ailes, but not exclusively) groped women, kissed women against their will, made wildly inappropriate sexual comments (“Are you wearing any panties? I wish you weren't”), asked about female employees’ sex lives, pressured younger women to date older men in the office, made “jokes” about liking having women on their knees, promised promotions in exchange for sex, and cut short careers of women who took offense.

    And yes, Fox News general counsel Dianne Brandi and Ailes’ deputy Bill Shine were accused of trying to cover up their former boss’ behavior. (Shine has since been promoted to Fox News co-president.)

    Twenty years ago on Friday, the same day the predatory Trump tapes were released, Fox News made its national debut, on October 7, 1996. Over the last two decades Fox News has forever changed American politics. And right now, the Republican Party is paying the biggest price.