I was both disgusted and delighted last week to get my issue of New York Magazine in the mail and find the story I've been waiting on: "How Fox News Women Took Down Roger Ailes." For those who are unaware (because of how great a job the media has done of downplaying it--thanks for that), the head of Fox News Roger Ailes has been forced to step down and is being taken for over $2 million for the sexual harassment of over two dozen female employees.
This is a story that, let's be honest, we all kind of saw coming. Fox News has been known for years now as the one news station that almost exclusively features young, blonde, beautiful, curvaceous women and powerful old white men. With an aesthetic like that, it's difficult to believe that it's operated in a fair, ethical, unbiased manner. After a twenty-year run under Ailes' tyrannical reign, we finally get the truth.
The story came about earlier this year when popular and successful news anchor Gretchen Carlson was demoted from her primetime spot to the less-viewed 2 p.m. It was a startling change in the lineup, but no one questioned it too much. Meanwhile, Carlson was setting up a lawsuit against Ailes himself (her contract was too restrictive for her to come at Fox News as a whole) for sexually harassing her for years, which has finally brought her justice.
I won't recite the entire article, because it's told with eloquence and elaboration in the following link: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/09/how-fox-news-women-took-down-roger-ailes.html. Read it for yourself if you have interest in knowing all of the facts.
Basically, the problem isn't restricted to Ailes. While the man verbally abused his staff, propositioned women to advance their careers in exchange for sexual favors, and attempted to whore his female staff out to friends for favors, he is not the only man at Fox who has done so. Another story that has been properly covered up is Bill O'Reilly's sexual harassment case of 2004. He allegedly tried to engage his former producer, Andrea Mackris, in phone sex and further tried to get Mackris and one of her college friends to sexually gratify him in his hotel room. Yet, this is a man who TO THIS DAY is revered on Fox News as a brilliant journalist (even though all he does is recite his talking points practically verbatim for an hour).
So the question is: What can we do about this? Stop watching Fox News. It's the top-rated news station in America, and yet it's filled with misogynistic, power-hungry, deviant men who treat the female staff as if they are objects, sex toys, something there for their disposal. Is this our country? A country that reveres unsolicited sexual harassment? Continuing to watch Fox News, continuing to provide them with stellar ratings, only adds fuel to the fire they are thriving on.
Sure, it's difficult to switch news stations when you've made a habit of watching one for so many years, but what is the bigger issue here? Watching this says you're okay with this, says you approve of this, but let me ask it this way: what if your daughter, your wife, your girlfriend, grew up watching Fox News and aspired to work there? She pursues her dream, gets hired, and then is eventually asked to get on her knees or walk out the door and never come back? Is that a reality you can live with?
Yes, big companies like Fox have corruption like this. I'm not naive enough to think Fox is the only business with this disgustingness, but this is one we know about. These aren't rumors--these are facts. Taking a stand against Fox News will help chip away at the tradition of men in power taking advantage of women. What are your thoughts?