These are the same hosts who remained dutifully silent when their cable network was engulfed in sexual harassment scandals.
Gleefully commenting on the burgeoning Harvey Weinstein harassment scandal, Fox Business host Stuart Varney on Wednesday announced, “This is a bombshell right in the middle of the liberal media and, of course, liberal Hollywood and I am loving every second of it.”
Varney spoke for lots of conservative commentators, especially on Fox News, who are reveling in the Weinstein story this week, suddenly concerned about the issue of workplace sexual harassment.
Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night demanded the Department of Justice get involved in the case, and belittled Democrats for allegedly ignoring the story of abuse. On Thursday morning, Andrew Napolitano ridiculed Hillary Clinton for the way she returned money that Weinstein had donated over the years.
The right-wing cheerleading is stunningly dishonest and hypocritical, of course, because when Fox News was embroiled in its own cauldron of sexual harassment and assault allegations, the likes of Varney, Carlson, and Napolitano remained obediently silent, too cowardly to condemn the actions of their bosses and co-workers.
While news reports tumbled out about what a rancid work environment men like Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly had created at Rupert Murdoch’s outlet — like promotions contingent on sexual favors — Fox men never said a word.
When the network had to write seven and eight-figure checks to convince harassment and assault victims to drop their flurry of lawsuits lodged against Ailes and company, Fox men looked away.
When the channel’s highest-rated host finally lost his primetime show because disgusted advertisers wanted nothing more to do with his sexist, lecherous behavior, Fox men just nodded. Despite paying $13 million to O’Reilly’s victims over the years, the network even had him return in September to promote his new book.
Yet in a brazen bout of turbo-fueled projection within the conservative movement, Fox News anchors who sat on their hands while channel founder Ailes presided over a workplace cesspool are now condemning Democrats for allegedly keeping quiet about Weinstein’s sins.
Even though there’s no evidence any Democratic politicians knew about the movie mogul’s abhorrent actions, and Democrats are now universally condemning him.
Specifically, Fox men are accusing Clinton and President Barack Obama for being enablers, while they did nothing to condemn Ailes or O’Reilly.
Fox pundits today have no moral standing to make judgments:
— Richard W. (@IceManNYR) October 11, 2017
Keep in mind, even in May when Ailes died and long after his serial, abusive misconduct had been confirmed, a long line of men on Fox News praised him as a charitable and virtuous beacon of goodwill.
Carlson led the whitewashing. Pushing the line that Ailes was a champion of the “underdog,” Carlson stressed his former boss always treated the “cleaning staff” really well.
Too bad Ailes didn’t treat the professional women he worked with in the same manner. By last summer, the list of women accusing Ailes of harassment or assault had grown to more than 20, and stories they told were chilling.
As I detailed at Media Matters:
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.
The payoffs for women who charged the company with wrongdoing became so frequent that federal prosecutors began investigating whether Fox News’ parent company “made insufficient disclosures to its investors about settlements of sexual-harassment claims.”
And through it all, the same men at Fox News who are suddenly piqued by partisan angles to the Weinstein story remained silent.
They really ought to go quiet again.