Fresh shakeup ousts Fox News co-president
Washington (AFP) – A Fox News Channel co-president resigned Monday, in the latest shakeup for the US cable news giant rocked by sexual harassment allegations.
Bill Shine had been co-president since the resignation of news channel chief Roger Ailes, who abruptly quit in the face of a lawsuit from former news host Gretchen Carlson.
“This is a significant day for all at Fox News,” Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of parent firm 21st Century Fox, said in a statement.
“Bill has played a huge role in building Fox News to its present position as the nation’s biggest and most important cable channel in the history of the industry. His contribution to our channel and our country will resonate for many years.”
Shine was a close ally of Ailes, who denied allegations made by Carlson and others but stepped down under pressure.
The shakeup comes amid turmoil at Fox, the most viewed US cable news channel and a favorite of conservatives.
Last month, Fox ended its relationship with Bill O’Reilly, whose news program was the most viewed on the channel, after reports that millions of dollars had been paid to settle allegations of sexual harassment.
The changes comes as the 86-year-old Murdoch has been gradually withdrawing from his media-entertainment empire and turning over more duties to his sons James and Lachlan.
But Monday’s announcement came from the elder Murdoch, who noted that Jack Abernethy would remain co-president of Fox news and chief executive of Fox Television Stations.
Promoted to president of programming was executive vice president Suzanne Scott, who has been with Fox News since 1996.
And Jay Wallace was promoted to president for news at the channel, from executive vice president.
“Suzanne and Jay are recognized industry leaders,” Murdoch said in the statement.
“They have both played a large part in assembling the deepest bench of talented broadcasters and journalists.”
– A new direction? –
The shakeup suggests a new direction for Fox, with the departure of the key Ailes-Shine leadership.
Shine’s departure suggests the efforts to uncover abusive conduct have made progress, said Angelo Carusone of the watchdog group Media Matters, a vocal critic of Fox News.
“The departure of Bill Shine proves what women at Fox News, Media Matters and others have been saying from the beginning: that the epidemic of sexual harassment at Fox News was not limited to the actions of a few well-known figures — and that instead it was indicative of a deeper culture of harassment,” Carusone said.
“This doesn’t fix Fox News’s harassment problem. It’s just the most basic accountability the network could have delivered.”