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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Attorney For Bill O’Reilly Accuser Calls Fox News ‘The Bill Cosby Of Corporate America’

Lisa Bloom, the attorney for a former Fox News guest holding a press conference Monday, ripped the network?s handling of sexual harassment lawsuits against top-rated primetime host Bill O?Reilly and called for an independent investigation. 

?How many women have to come forward?? Bloom, who has also served as an NBC News legal analyst, asked Sunday on CNN?s ?Reliable Sources.? ?How many millions of dollars have to get paid before Fox News takes sexual harassment seriously?? 

?In my opinion, this network is the Bill Cosby of corporate America,? she continued, in reference to the dozens of women who have accused the famous comedian of sexual assault. ?Women over and over again are driven out.?

Bloom?s comments followed a bombshell New York Times investigation published Saturday that revealed payments of about $13 million to five women accusing the primetime star of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, or verbal abuse. One of the five suits, involving former producer Andrea Mackris, made headlines in 2004. Another suit, involving Fox News employee Juliet Huddy was only reported in January. The other three had not been previously reported. 

A sixth woman, Dr. Wendy Walsh, told the Times that she rebuffed O?Reilly?s advances and he later didn?t follow through on an offer to make her a network contributor. In a release, Bloom said Walsh will speak out at a press conference Monday in Los Angeles and they ?will reveal their new demands to the network.?

The revelations about O?Reilly only shed more light on the toxic culture inside Fox News.

Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who built the network with Rupert Murdoch in 1996 and ran it for two decades, resigned in July following a sexual harassment lawsuit from former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson and amid widespread allegations from women inside the network, including former primetime host Megyn Kelly and many others throughout the executive?s five decades in media and politics. Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros is also suing Ailes and top executives at Fox News, which she compared to a ?Playboy Mansion-Like Cult.?

Federal investigators are currently looking into whether parent company 21st Century Fox didn?t properly notify investigators about payments to Ailes?s accusers and other business practices.

While Fox News recently posted its highest quarterly ratings ever, and enjoys the best access to President Donald Trump, the post-Ailes network continues to be embroiled in scandals related to allegations of employee mistreatment. 

Last month, 21st Century Fox reached a settlement with former Fox News contributor Tamara Holder after she accused former network Fox executive Francisco Cortes of sexual assault. And last week, two black former employees, Tichaona Brown and Tabrese Wright, filed a racial discrimination suit against longtime Judith Slater, Fox News, and 21st Century Fox. The network had fired Slater just days earlier for what it dubbed ?abhorrent behavior.?

O?Reilly, however, has remained seemingly untouchable at Fox News despite the headline-grabbing allegations of sexual harassment over a decade ago and the latest revelations. That?s presumably because ?The O?Reilly Factor? draws nearly 4 million viewers nightly, the most in cable news, and his show brought in more than $446 million from 2014 to 2016, according to the Times.

?Just like other prominent and controversial people, I?m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,? O?Reilly said in a statement on his website. ?In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.?

In a statement to HuffPost, 21st Century Fox ? the Murdoch-family owned parent company of Fox News ? noted that no current or former network employee used the company?s hotline ?to raise a concern about Bill O?Reilly, even anonymously.? The company said it had ?looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O?Reilly. 

?While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O?Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility,? the statement continued. ?Mr. O?Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.?

The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch?s News Corp., reported Saturday that O?Reilly?s contract, originally set to expire at the end of this year, was recently renewed.

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This Is What Trump’s White House Correspondents Dinner Would Look Like

Donald Trump will be the first president in 36 years to be absent at the White House Correspondents Association dinner ? an annual tradition where media figures, politicians and celebrities schmooze for a night.

And while he and his staff likely turned down their invitations because of the president?s deep hatred for the media and so-called ?fake news,? the folks over at ?The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? have figured out how to get Trump to attend: Invite the Russians.

What would that dinner look like? In Trump?s mind (or ?The Late Show?s? version of Trump?s mind), it would probably include a Russian man like ?Boris Yacanovich? riffing on journalists.

It would feature jokes like:

A journalist criticized the administration. And he was shot dead in the street. In broad daylight.

And other knee-slappers, including:

Another journalist expressed dissent. And he was dropped out of window. Kaboom.

Fingers crossed that the actual WHCA dinner never ends up looking like this.

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The First Week Of Early Voting Bodes Well For Democrat Jon Ossoff

After five days of early voting in the special election for Georgia?s 6th congressional district, Democratic voter turnout has significantly outpaced that of Republicans.

That is a good sign for Democrats hoping that the surge in liberal enthusiasm after the election of President Donald Trump will be enough to elect 30-year-old candidate Jon Ossoff. The seat opened up when Trump named former Rep. Tom Price to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Of the more than 8,100 people who have voted so far in the suburban Atlanta district, 44 percent were Democrats and 23 percent were Republicans, according to an analysis by Michael McDonald, a political science professor and election specialist at the University of Florida.

McDonald identified Democrats and Republicans based on the last primary each early voter participated in, information that can be found in state voter files. The remaining voters ? roughly one-third of the total so far ? have no record of primary voting in Georgia. 

Although voters? preferences can change from primary to primary, making that data imperfect, it is the most reliable indicator of partisanship in a state with nonpartisan voter registration.

McDonald?s end-of-week estimates are consistent with the findings of New York Times election expert Nate Cohn for the first day of early voting. Using a slightly different methodology, Cohn found that Democrats constituted 60 percent of voters of those who voted on Monday, compared with 28 percent of Republicans.

It is important to note of course that early voting is not a rock-solid indicator of final election outcomes. Early general-election voting patterns in North Carolina and Florida, for example, appeared to favor Hillary Clinton, but she ended up losing both states in November.

And early voting in Georgia?s 6th district continues until April 14. Election Day itself is April 18.

In Georgia?s jungle primary system, Ossoff faces many Democratic and Republican challengers. A candidate can win outright in the first round by capturing 50 percent of the vote. Short of that, the top two contenders proceed to a runoff election on June 20.

Democrats across the country have seized on the race as an early opportunity to inflict damage on Republicans after Trump?s election. Ossoff?s candidacy has attracted millions of dollars in donations, including $1 million alone from the readers of liberal news site Daily Kos.

Television star Alyssa Milano has done her part to pitch in for Ossoff, offering early voters rides to the polls.

Ossoff is campaigning on standard mainstream Democratic priorities. On his campaign website, he declares his commitment to containing health insurance premiums, increasing the minimum wage, and fighting gender and racial discrimination in pay.

Although the 6th district has voted Republican consistently in the past, it is home to a more educated, wealthier type of Republican voter that has typically been more averse to Trump?s populist style. While Tom Price cruised to reelection by a 23-point margin in November, Trump defeated Clinton in the district by a mere percentage point.

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