Tags: Fox News | Roger Ailes | roger ailes | black ops | private detectives | gabriel sherman

Fox News' Ailes Used Private Detectives, 'Black Ops' Against Journalists, Critics

Image: Fox News' Ailes Used Private Detectives, 'Black Ops' Against Journalists, Critics

 Roger Ailes (AP)

By    |   Sunday, 07 Aug 2016 12:49 PM

Ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes ran a "black room" operation from the network using private detectives, employees and contractors to spy on journalists and harass political enemies, New York magazine reported Sunday.

The magazine’s media editor, Gabriel Sherman, citing several unnamed sources, reports that Fox consultants and staff used an office dubbed "the Black Room" on the 14th floor of the News Corp headquarters in Manhattan to conduct these operations.

In recent days, Fox News has let go as many as five contractors whom Ailes hired —  including Bert Solivan, who Sherman reports headed the "Black Room" operations.

Fox employees Ken LaCorte and Jim Pinkerton worked with him, while Ailes’s personal lawyer and Fox contributor Peter Johnson Jr. advised the team, according to Sherman.

Targets of the campaign allegedly included Gawker writers John Cook and Hamilton Nolan, Joe Lindsley, the former editor of Ailes’s local newspaper The Putnam County News & Recorder — and Sherman himself.

Private detectives allegedly followed Cook around his Brooklyn neighborhood — and Fox operatives worked up a report with information they intended to leak to blogs, Sherman writes.

Sherman writes that one proposed line of attack against Cook claimed he was anti-Semitic; Cook's wife, Slate news director Allison Benedikt, is Jewish.

"I’m honored to be among Roger Ailes’s enemies," Cook tells Sherman.

Sherman writes that in 2012, he too, was a target.

"In 2012, while I was researching a biography of Ailes, Fox operatives set up web pages to attack my reputation, and Fox funds paid for Google search ads against my name that linked to the sites," he writes. "One source also said private investigators employed by Fox contributor Bo Dietl were instructed to follow me and my wife."

"I have no real comments," Dietl tells Sherman, the writer reports. "I love Roger Ailes. He built one of the great news channels out of nothing. He’s a very successful guy."

Johnson, the alleged "Black Room" adviser, also denied the accusation.

"The only online campaign I’m aware of is yours attempting to create a truth from a fiction with this account," he said, according to Sherman.

Fox News CFO Mark Kranz and general counsel Dianne Brandi, through a spokesperson, tell Sherman they had no knowledge of expenditures for spying and online attacks.

"These allegations are totally false," Ailes said through his lawyer, Susan Estrich.

Ailes resigned from Fox News on July 21 amid the fallout from a lawsuit filed by former anchor Gretchen Carlson alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.

Carlson alleges Ailes requested she have sex with him to improve her work conditions. Ailes has denied the allegations.

Since Carlson’s suit, Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, hired an independent New York law firm, Paul, Weiss, to conduct an inquiry of Carlson’s allegations and those of other Fox employees.

New York magazine and other press  have detailed the allegations of approximately a dozen women that have complained that Ailes and other Fox executives sexually harassed them. Star news anchor Megyn Kelly also claimed Ailes harassed her, according to press reports.

Last week, New York magazine published the account of former Fox News booker and event coordinator Laurie Luhn. Luhn claimed that for nearly two decades she had been "psychologically tortured" by Ailes.

Luhn alleges that during her employ Ailes required her to have regular sex sessions with her in New York hotel rooms. The sessions required her to get on her knees, engage in oral sex and to perform sadomasochist acts with other women. She said Ailes would frequently photograph their activities.

New York magazine said it reviewed documents showing that in 2011 Fox News paid Luhn a settlement of $3.15 million to keep quiet.

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Ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes ran a black room operation from the network using private detectives, employees and contractors to spy on journalists and harass political enemies, New York magazine reported Sunday.The magazine's media editor, Gabriel Sherman, citing...
roger ailes, black ops, private detectives, gabriel sherman
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Sunday, 07 Aug 2016 12:49 PM
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