The unraveling of two of the most influential figures at Fox News, Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes, has shed much light on the internal workings of the company. While nearly all attention has been focused on Bill O’Reilly’s bizarre behavior and his seeming complete and utter inability to control himself around female coworkers, much more interesting revelations have come out in relation to Fox News’ intelligence operations as well as further confirmation of its political weight. For decades, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes – both very politically connected – have covertly operated a compartmented section of Fox News/News Corp. involved in spying, computer hacking/electronic surveillance, blackmail, smears, bribery, intimidation, harassment, etc. that works very much like an intelligence agency or even a sophisticated organized crime syndicate.
However, before diving into the particulars of Fox News’ sordid black bag operations, it is important to lay the groundwork for behavior like this at Fox and briefly surmise its history of conniving and consorting with the highest levels of government. According to declassified US government documents obtained by award winning journalist Robert Parry, while Rupert Murdoch was still an Australian citizen and his media empire was relatively small and largely confined to the New York Post in the United States, he was recruited into a Reagan-era early ’80s “perception management” (i.e. propaganda) campaign spearheaded by then-CIA director William Casey and CIA operative Walter Raymond Jr. that aimed to bolster Reagan foreign policy and combat “anti-Americanism” indirectly through private entities, such as Murdoch’s newspapers. Murdoch, likely picked by the Reagan CIA because of his vehement support for Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom, began advancing hard-right politics in the US as opposed to just in the UK and Australia. Additional participants included Charles Wick, director of the now defunct US Information Agency (the propaganda house behind Voice of America and Radio Free Europe), Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire heir to the Mellon family fortune who dedicated his life to financing right-wing counter-establishment media and Roy Cohn, a powerful political fixer and lawyer who was intimately connected to the CIA, ran pedophilic blackmail rings and mentored, advised and ran interference for none other than Donald Trump right up until his death in 1986.
Like many who cooperate with the American intelligence community early in their career, Murdoch acquired tremendous power and influence of his own as Fox News emerged as the sole voice of the hard-right on cable television and as his media empire continued to grow in the UK, where prime ministers still to this day rely heavily upon positive coverage from Murdoch’s numerous newspapers to win elections, which has prompted Murdoch to be labeled the “kingmaker” of the UK and the most powerful media executive in the world. His close relationship with former British PM Tony Blair has perhaps been the most closely scrutinized, particularly in regards to his convincing of Blair to back Bush II’s War in Iraq. Murdoch has met former PM David Cameron secretly on many occasions. Most recently, he has met with current PM Theresa May, who was a favorite of Murdoch’s Sun newspaper. Murdoch’s stranglehold on such a large portion of the British media puts him in a position such that any aspiring national-level British politician grovel to him and his empire.
In the US, Murdoch was essentially guaranteed a spot at the table given his ties with both the Clintons and Donald Trump, having cultivated a relationship with all of them. However, his history far predates the 2016 election. The New York Post’s endorsement of Ed Koch (a close friend of Trump’s) in 1978 – a decision Murdoch made at the very last moment – ensured his mayoralty (this perhaps marked the beginning of his role as a powerbroker in the United States). After Trump won the GOP nomination, Murdoch conducted a two day meeting with Trump at one of his golf courses in a time during which almost any other presidential candidate would be totally occupied campaigning. Murdoch’s tabloid, the New York Post, was instrumental in “making” Donald Trump through showering him with publicity when he was otherwise relatively obscure. It should be no surprise then that Murdoch has tremendous access to the president today, discussing “strategy” with the Trump weekly.
“I would actually sit there where (Roy Cohn) would have a (New York Post) reporter on the phone, and he would be dictating the story, dictating word for word: ‘Donald Trump made a billion-dollar deal with the Saudis today, period, paragraph.’ You know, it was extraordinary.” – Roger Stone
Murdoch’s long-time former deputy, Roger Ailes, who resigned as CEO of Fox News in 2016, is not without political consequence either, having served as a highly influential media consultant to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bush I & II, Rudy Giuliani, and most recently, Donald Trump, who Ailes helped break into politics by giving him a call-in segment on Fox & Friends and has been closely advising since before Trump even declared his candidacy. Ailes and Trump are so close in fact that Ailes had Trump conduct severance negotiations with a former Fox PR executive, Brian Lewis, who was accused by Ailes of having been a source for an unauthorized biography of his. Along with Lee Atwater, Ailes was at the forefront of engineering the GOP’s virulently aggressive media strategy and pioneering television as a medium for propaganda from the Nixon years onward (this strategy would later be implemented at Fox News, founded in 1996). He was also reportedly behind a push to run David Petraeus for president in 2012 and suggested to George W. Bush ways to handle the fallout from 9/11 in the media.
The hub of Fox’s intelligence network was the so-called ‘Black Room’, which was directed almost exclusively by Ailes and those loyal to him, although Rupert Murdoch surely knew of the operation and tacitly endorsed it. Through this ‘Black Room’, Roger Ailes employed private detectives, political/public relations consultants and operatives as well as computer hackers and electronic surveillance experts who reported solely to Ailes. The purpose of this legion of spies and PR mercenaries was to conduct harassment, intimidation and smear campaigns against anyone (including Fox employees) in opposition to Ailes and his agenda. This ‘black room’ revelation shouldn’t be surprising given complaints from within Fox News of electronic surveillance, phone tapping, etc. Apparently, his spy ring also extends beyond the private sector. A leaked NYPD Intelligence Division memo obtained by Morning Media revealed that the NYPD conducted counter-surveillance against some party on behalf of Ailes and that Ailes has a retired NYPD detective at his side at all times:
Name: Roger Ailes, President of Fox News Network
Residence: Cresskill New Jersey
Work: 1211 Ave of the Americas
Remarks: Request for counter surveillance from Threats Desk. Mr. Ailes employs a retired NYPD Detective as personal escort. He arrives via private Car and is dropped off daily in front of 1211 Ave of Americas daily between 7am and 9am. He is Escorted into building by his security and is met by building security.
At the request of Mr. Ailes his security is not to be notified. He is aware of the pending counter surveillance attempt. Lt. Chapman (917) xxx-xxxx will be notified of the times and dates before conducting counter surveillance.
Andrea Tantaros, a former Fox host, has lobbed a very credible accusation of phone and computer hacking against Roger Ailes, Bill Shine and Peter Snyder, who owns Disruptor Capital, a venture capital firm based in Northern Virginia (flags should already be going off) that invests in “disruptive technologies.” Shine and Snyder allegedly used an army of Twitter bots to harass and smear Tantaros and someone somewhere hacked Tantaros’ phone and computer, as unique malware was recovered from her electronic devices. Perhaps this lawsuit was the impetus for Bill Shine (and perhaps even Ailes) to resign from Fox, since surely Murdoch and friends don’t want a phone hacking scandal erupting in the United States and permanently damaging Fox News (as well as causing heads to roll in high level government positions) as occurred in the United Kingdom from the late ’90s all the way up until 2011 with an utterly massive scandal involving News Corp. British subsidiary, News of the World, a magazine that was more or less the British analog of the New York Post until its discontinuation in 2011 as a result of the scandal.
Employees of News of the World operated in a fashion reminiscent of intelligence agencies and apparently in a manner parallel to Fox News’ “black room” in the United States – bribing government and law enforcement officers, hacking, directing an extensive network of nasty, nefarious private detectives to spy on and intimidate seemingly almost anyone, etc. The network that News of the World ran had access to numerous confidential databases at telecommunications companies, banks, government agencies, and universities, had reliable informants in the highest levels of British government and law enforcement and managed to hack or illicitly obtain information (directly or indirectly) on members of the British royal family, politicians, celebrities, athletes, and various other subjects of British news coverage. Paul Stephenson, the former Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, was forced to step down over his ties to a newspaper editor accused of conspiring to hack cellphones. (Might an American hacking scandal implicate parts of the NYPD?)
As far as we know, this nexus of News Corp., Murdoch, Ailes and CIA-esque intelligence gathering and shady political maneuvering stems from Murdoch’s early partnership with the CIA/USIA/Reagan White House and Ailes’ role in spearheading the dissemination of propaganda through television. It is easy to get lost unraveling a given powerful individual’s history, but if you look hard enough, you eventually stumble upon a decisive event, involvement or connection from their past (and often family) that establishes a foundation for their ascension into the elite and explains their political clout. And that brings us to Tucker.
The Future of Fox
The most recent casualty of the barrage of scandals coming out of Fox News has been Bill Shine, a high ranking director. Bill O’Reilly, Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly’s departures have prompted an enormous shakeup in the network’s nightly lineup, and inconspicuous Tucker Carlson has emerged on top, at least for now. Certainly, Carlson’s meteoric rise out of relative obscurity on the back of anti-establishment backlash should be scrutinized. Perhaps the most crucial aspect of Carlson’s past is his seldom mentioned father, Dick Carlson, who was the associate director of the aforementioned US Information Agency as well as chairman of Voice of America, which put out pro-American propaganda in Eastern Europe and Asia during the Cold War. This is perhaps no surprise in the context of Rupert Murdoch’s involvement with the USIA and lifelong pro-American agitation.
After anchoring at CNN then MSNBC, Carlson became a contributor to Fox and later a full anchor. During his rise at Fox, Carlson simultaneously served as editor in chief of The Daily Caller, a trendy alternative right website that more or less echoed “anti-establishment” paladins Donald Trump and Ted Cruz that he founded with Neil Patel (a former policy advisor to none other than Dick Cheney) with funding from a GOP mega donor investment banker and friend of the Koch brothers, Foster Friess.
Although we don’t know how much longer this barrage of head rollings at Fox will continue, I most definitely think the shake up is about more than just sexual harassment allegations. Executives who would have had intimate knowledge of Ailes’ intelligence operation, such as Bill Shine, are being cut loose weekly. Another hacking scandal would surely be utterly devastating, if not lethal, for Fox and News Corp.
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 UK PM Theresa May met ‘kingmaker’ Rupert Murdoch on UN visit
 Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch speak on the phone every week to discuss strategy
 Murdoch’s Game
 How Roger Ailes Made Donald Trump
 Oh Good, Donald Trump Might Have Dirt on Roger Ailes
 Fox News chief’s failed attempt to enlist Petraeus as presidential candidate
 Roger Ailes Used Fox News Budget to Finance ‘Black Room’ Campaigns Against His Enemies
 Roger Ailes Reportedly Threatened Physical Violence Against New York’s Gabriel Sherman
 Former Fox News Host Alleges Network Operatives Hacked Her Phone As Part of Smear Campaign
 UK Phone Hacking Scandal Fast Facts
 Operation Motorman: the full story revealed