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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Gawker's mole at Fox News outed, fired



Fed up with Fox News' "non sequitur, ad hominem attacks on the president; gleeful race baiting; a willful disregard for facts; and so on," an employee for the conservative network decided to go rogue and act as a "mole" inside Fox for the Gawker news site, according to Mediaite. And now that mole, identified as Joe Muto, an associate producer for The O’Reilly Factor show, has been fired, reported the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, April 12.

Muto lasted as a mole for just two days -- his first column was published Tuesday, April 10 -- posting stories to Gawker about what it's like working inside the Fox News network. He was paid $5,000 for his contributions, Forbes reported. Muto outed himself because he said his bosses were on to him, according to the Washington Post.

Then on Thursday, April 12, lawyers for Fox News sent a cease and desist letter -- labeled "not for publication" and yet posted on the Gawker website -- demanding "Gawker should immediately stop publishing information and videos that have been unlawfully obtained by or from Joe Muto, and return them to Fox News." The letter also advised Gawker that both the site and Muto "will be the subject of further extensive investigation" to determine "criminal and civil wrongdoing."

“I think its pretty safe to say my career in cable news is over,” Muto told the New York Daily News, prompting Sheila Marikar of ABC News to ponder what's next for the Fox mole.

In this age "where digital technology intersects with a tweet-your-life culture of public expression," the Christian Science Monitor questioned whether Muto is a "whistleblowing hero" or a "disloyal self-promoter."

The Guardian pointed out that Fox and Gawker long have had a "prickly" relationship.



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