Tags: Roger Ailes | Roger Ailes | Phone Records | Media Matters

Media Matters: Ailes 'Broke Law' by Obtaining Phone Records, Should Be Prosecuted

Image: Media Matters: Ailes 'Broke Law' by Obtaining Phone Records, Should Be Prosecuted

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By    |   Saturday, 03 Sep 2016 01:07 PM

An immediate investigation should be conducted of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and any company employee who obtained private phone records of journalists who criticized the network, Media Matters president Bradley Beychok said Friday, after a stunning report by Gabriel Sherman in New York Magazine.

"From what we witnessed with Rupert Murdoch and News Corp's prior phone hacking scandal, it's critical for an immediate investigation of Roger Ailes and any other current or former Fox News employees who may have been involved in this illegal practice," Beychok said in a statement posted on the Media Matters website.

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

In his Sept. 5 cover story, "The Revenge of Roger's Angels," Sherman wrote that Fox News executives obtained the phone records through the use of a private investigator.

"According to two sources with direct knowledge of the incident, [Dianne] 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," in the article Brandi has denied the allegations, Sherman reported.

Ailes targeted Strupp after he wrote "several articles quoting anonymous Fox sources, and the network wanted to determine who was talking to him," Sherman writes. He quoted a Fox executive who told him that "this was the culture. Getting phone records doesn't make anybody blink."

On Friday, Beychok told The Washington Post's Eric Wemple Blog Friday that he believes Sherman's story is accurate.

"Based on their history and some of the data points that we're trying to piece together, I believe that there is reason to take this really seriously," Beychok said.

He also said he thinks the surveillance is a "validation" of Media Matters' efforts.

"It's no secret that we've been a harsh critic of both Ailes and Fox and we obviously have made some impact at various points, and if people have taken illegal actions or tactics for retribution, then we want to get to the bottom of it," Beychok said.

If the allegations are true, they would back up a story Sherman wrote last month that Ailes had a "black ops group" in the networks' New York headquarters used private detectives to ferret out information about Fox critics or staffers.

According to Sherman's current story, Ailes had an extensive video and camera system, allowing him to monitor Fox's "offices, studios, greenrooms, the back entrance, and his homes."

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An immediate investigation should be conducted of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and any company employee who obtained private phone records of journalists who criticized the network, Media Matters president Bradley Beychok said Friday, after a stunning report in New York Magazine.
Roger Ailes, Phone Records, Media Matters
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2016-07-03
Saturday, 03 Sep 2016 01:07 PM
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