It was my idea to to do a pack run on Ailes. Everybody was on board. Then Dean B called everybody in and said Artie O’Jr (we can’t call him “Pinch” any more because the lawyers are worried about how it might sound in any future sexual harassment negotiations) wanted to trim the budget, so we had to cut back from five reporters to three. I said, “How the hell do you expect us to beat the Post if all we have are our three scoopers to hunt down all those blind sources? We might have to call, you know, about a dozen women.”
Anyway, you know how this is going to end by just looking at our headline:
Weak. Lame. Rutterman, Ruterberg, Rutenberg, whatever, always trying to be edgy, said, “Okay, well, how about we add ‘Gangbangs’?” But I said, “Jim, a gangbang is what we’re doing, not what we’re reporting.”
“Okay,” says Rutterbergman. “But we don’t have any actual kisses, either. So why not a gangbang? It’s just a scale thing.” I work with idiots. But idiots with the gift of approximation, an invaluable skill for our side. Take a look at our nut graf:
The Times spoke with about a dozen women who said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it. Two of them cited Mr. Ailes and the rest cited other supervisors. With the exception of Ms. [Rudi] Bakhtiar, they all spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing embarrassment and fear of retribution. Most continue to work in television and worry that speaking out could damage their careers.
Right. Well, let’s put it this way: that could never pass the Megyn Kelly Wardrobe Test. Way too much wiggle room. Plus, you could make a career by putting Roger’s paw-print on your undies.
I despaired. Our side had seven bylined reporters — four from Bezos’ money pit in D.C. and three from the Times — and “about a dozen” unnamed, brave and ambitious women who were afraid to jump on a well-lit, slow-moving, highly decorated bandwagon. I tried all day Saturday to get Dean to read Michael Wolff’s piece, now a half-week old. He goes, “I should read something not about me in The Hollywood Reporter? Right.”
“Dean, look. It’s a fabulous story about two dim, grasping, socially anxious brothers scheming against a powerful, intelligent father to get rid of the wise, but embarrassing old family retainer. Think Rob Lowe and Matt LeBlanc, with John Goodman and Ron Jeremy as Ailes. It’s epic! And besides our target is the whole rightwing news mill at Fox, not just the fat guy in the clown suit.”
End of discussion when Dean turns to me and says, “You spent too much time in Moscow, Walt. You want everything to be Dostoevsky. I need to sell stuff to lady liberals, so all I need is a damn Lifetime movie.”
But he did take my copy of THR, so there’s always hope.