The Wall Street Journal is reporting that federal authorities are engaged in a widening investigation of Fox News.
Federal agents are interviewing current and former Fox employees regarding the settlement of sexual harassment allegations against several key employees.
In recent months Fox has terminated Roger Ailes, the former chairman and CEO, and recently terminated its most popular on-air talent, Bill O’Reilly.
U.S. investigators have focused on how settlement payments over sexual-harassment accusations were structured at Fox News and which executives helped engineer them, people familiar with the matter said. But in their questioning, prosecutors also have shown an interest in alleged intimidation tactics authorized by Mr. Ailes, including the hiring of a private investigator to dig up negative information on women who complained, according to one of the people familiar with the probe.
— The Wall Street Journal
While the departure of Mr. Alies was troubling to many Fox employees, it was the termination of Bill O’Reilly that has presented the greatest challenge to the network. O’Reilly was not only the most popular personality on cable news with a loyal audience, but he also could bring millions of Fox viewers to a new cable news channel that is rumored to be in the works.
The federal investigation is likely to keep Fox News in the news. Fox had hoped that the firing of Bill Shrine, the current co-president of the company, would allow Fox to escape further public exposure but that now seems unlikely.