Radio host and pollster Fernand Amandi put it bluntly but accurately: Fox News has overtly condoned ongoing "criminal sexual misconduct" by its male employees.
The implosion at Fox News is all of its own making.
And a large part of it is the repugnant attitude, apparently prevalent among the powers that be at the conservative network, that sexual misconduct and abuse by male employees deserves nothing more than a cover-up and a contract renewal.
From former anchors Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling to the late Roger Ailes, the founder and one-time CEO of the network, Fox has done all it could to protect its powerful male employees from a litany of accusations of sexual harassment and assault.
The latest appalling example comes from a report in The New York Times Saturday which noted that, just one month after he paid out a massive $32 million settlement in response to sexual misconduct allegations, Fox extended O’Reilly’s contract.
Coupled with the conservative network’s blatant trumpeting of lies, misleading spin, and outright propaganda, the sheltering of alleged abusers has caused Fox to experience an unfamiliar ratings struggle, as more and more Americans, turned off by what they see from Fox, are simply turning off the channel altogether.
As radio host and pollster Fernand Amandi put it on MSNBC Sunday morning, the only conclusion to draw is that Fox has a “sanctioned culture of criminal sexual misconduct.”
“Fox has no particular interest in trying to move the debate forward,” Amandi notes. “I think they’re just trying to continue to minimize damage and public relations hits.”
And considering how gleefully the network played up the sexual abuse allegations against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein — callously using the story and the victims as a tool in partisan attacks on liberals and on other news networks — there is only way to describe the dissonance between Fox’s attitude toward scandals within its own walls versus those elsewhere.
“It’s hypocrisy with a capital H,” Amandi declared.
And of course, Fox’s gratuitously smug coverage of the Weinstein scandal has all but ignored his White House counterpart, who was recently served with a subpoena by one of the many women who have accused him of sexual abuse.
No, Donald Trump, O’Reilly, Bolling, Ailes — these are not the men Fox employees will go after, because it is not the fact of sexual abuse in and of itself that disturbs them. It is when it’s perpetrated by a “liberal” whom the network can use to attack all of their favorite targets, like Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama that Fox suddenly decides to care about the issue.
Fox has been sliding ever deeper into the moral gutter for a long time now. And the more revelations that emerge about the network’s coddling of sexual abusers, and the more hateful and dishonest spin the American people grow wise to, the further the network will sink.
And good riddance.