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Fox News

Fox News scandal spreads, reportedly touches Stephen Bannon, Roger Stone

It has been 10 months since Fox News forced out CEO Roger Ailes after dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment — and other than paying $45 million in harassment settlements, firing star Bill O'Reilly, pushing out co-president Bill Shine, losing Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren, and staring down a widening federal investigation, surprisingly little has changed at Fox News, says Gabriel Sherman at New York. Ailes and O'Reilly deny the harassment claims, and O'Reilly told Glenn Beck on Friday that his firing was "a hit" by an "organized left-wing cabal," and he's "going to take action — mostly legal action."

But "while the growing chorus of allegations from former employees are making Rupert Murdoch's cable news network sound more like a malevolent bachelor party in Las Vegas," says Ben Schreckinger at Politico, "what happens at Fox News is not staying at Fox News," with the damage "increasingly spilling outside its walls and creating ramifications for local and national political figures." Most immediately, the scandal is hurting the political ambitions of New York mayoral candidate Richard "Bo" Dietl — a private investigator who has acknowledged investigating O'Reilly accuser Andrea Mackris and Ailes accuser Gretchen Carlson — and aspiring Virginia politician Pete Snyder, accused of running a "sock-puppet" operation.

Less immediately affected are two of President Trump's top advisers, White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and longtime confidante Roger Stone, a veteran political dirty trickster. Stone "was paid for off-air work that included keeping tabs on [New York's] Sherman and publicly criticizing Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy," Politico says, citing "three people familiar with the arrangement." The negative articles he wrote about Sherman were reportedly at the behest of Fox News. (Stone said Sherman and Ailes are "both friends of mine" and he was intervening to "try to keep the two of them from killing each other.")

Bannon also coordinated with Fox News to publish negative articles about Sherman, when Sherman was publishing a book about Ailes, Politico says, citing "three people familiar with the situation." At a meeting with Ailes and others at Fox News in 2014, Bannon reportedly advocated "all out war" against Sherman, and Bannon's Breitbart News later published many critical articles on Sherman. "There is no indication that Bannon was paid to do this, though at the time he enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with Fox, which promoted his conservative documentaries," Schreckinger says. You can read more at Politico.