What Price Secrecy?
Gawker’s J.K. Trotter writes about what FNC allegedly paid Brian Lewis in his severence package…
Roger Ailes’ secrets command a heavy price. Last week, the New York Times reported that Fox News had reached an out-of-court settlement with Brian Lewis, the former Roger Ailes aide who was abruptly fired in late July. A Fox News executive with knowledge of the negotiations told Gawker that Lewis was paid approximately $8 million in hush money.
“The big talk at work, especially today, is the settlement number,” the executive said on Friday, explaining that the exact figure had been filtering through the channel’s rank-and-file since early November.
I don’t know…8 million seems awfully high to me. And then there’s this…
“That whole financial impropriety thing was complete bullshit,” explained the executive, corroborating the accounts of several other Fox sources. “Everything was about Gabe Sherman.” Sherman, the New York magazine writer, is scheduled to publish his long-anticipated (and unauthorized) biography of Roger Ailes in January; Ailes designated Lewis as Sherman’s point of contact at the network.
The executive further explained that, up until the day of Lewis’s dismissal, the channel’s public relations division, which Lewis oversaw, had suffered from heated internal disagreements about how to properly handle Sherman’s book.
The turmoil, which the executive compared to the conservative movement’s internecine struggle between the insurgent Tea Party and establishment Republicans, eventually split the press shop into two equally distinct camps. The first camp maintained that total radio silence was the best policy; the second, led by Lewis, argued that the network should try to engage Sherman.
“People in the first camp would say things like, ‘Mention the words Gabe and Sherman and you’re fired,’ while people in the second camp were more like, ‘Let’s talk with him,’” the executive contended. “The day the first camp won Roger over was the day Brian became an enormous liability.”