September 2, 2016

Just in time for the long Labor Day weekend, New York magazine Friday morning released its much-anticipated deep-dive into Roger Ailes’ exit from Fox News amid allegations of sexual harassment.

The article, which runs more than 7,000 words and will be published in the magazine’s next issue, alleges new details about the tenure and eventual departure of the ousted Fox News chairman. According to Sherman’s sources:

Ailes snooped on journalists

The former Fox News executive hired a detective to obtain the phone records of journalists, including Joe Strupp of Media Matters for America, according to New York.

Fox News also obtained the phone records of journalists, by legally questionable means. According to two sources with direct knowledge of the incident, Brandi, Fox’s general counsel, hired a private investigator in late 2010 to obtain the personal home- and cell-phone records of Joe Strupp, a reporter for the liberal watchdog group Media Matters. (Through a spokesperson, Brandi denied this.)

In the fall of that year, Strupp had written several articles quoting anonymous Fox sources, and the network wanted to determine who was talking to him. “This was the culture. Getting phone records doesn’t make anybody blink,” one Fox executive told me.

In a response released after Sherman’s piece went live, Media Matters said “anyone involved” with the hack should be prosecuted.

Roger Ailes and Fox News broke the law by hacking into the phone records of Media Matters employees. Anyone involved in the illegal hacking should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and we are considering all legal options.

Gretchen Carlson turned the tables on Ailes

Carlson, the former Fox News anchor whose sexual harassment lawsuit set Ailes’ ouster into motion, secretly recorded conversations with Ailes in order to obtain evidence, according to Sherman’s sources.

Beginning in 2014, according to a person familiar with the lawsuit, Carlson brought her iPhone to meetings in Ailes’s office and secretly recorded him saying the kinds of things he’d been saying to her all along. ‘I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better. Sometimes problems are easier to solve’ that way, he said in one conversation.

The Ailes camp misled Breitbart as his exit became final

When it became increasingly clear that Ailes could be forced out in the wake of Carlson’s lawsuit, the embattled news executive’s allies told conservative news site Breitbart that Fox personalities were prepared to leave with Ailes. That’s not true, per Sherman:

Also that day, Ailes’s allies claimed to conservative news site Breitbart that 50 of Fox’s biggest personalities were prepared to quit if Ailes was removed, though in reality there was no such pact. That evening, Murdoch used one of his own press organs to fire back, with the New York Post tweeting the cover of the next day’s paper featuring Ailes’s picture and news that ‘the end is near for Roger Ailes.’

You can read Sherman’s entire piece here. Interviews with Sherman about his investigations into Ailes and Fox News can be found here and here.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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