Ailes: Collateral Damage Control
The Financial Times’ Matthew Garrahan and Anna Niccolaou have some new things to add to the story. The article confirms Gabriel Sherman’s “out by after the GOP convention” story and the authors report that Ailes is furious with the Murdochs.
But the intriguing tidbit which is revealed in the article is that the contracts for O’Reilly, Hannity, and Van Susteren all have “Ailes escape clauses”…meaning if Ailes is not running the show, they can leave.
I don’t see this as a consideration though some might. If the accusations have any validity, 20th Century FOX’s hands are tied. You just can’t have healhty corporate governance with that kind of ethical cloud hanging over the company. Can you imagine the corporate culture at play if 20th Century FOX decided to retain Ailes in order to prevent a talent exodus…what kind of message that would send to every single female employee at FNC? And the kind of legal jeopardy it put the entire corporation in?
No. If the allegations are true…and that’s still not an automatic despite the circumstantial optics being displayed…20th Century FOX has no choice…remove Ailes and roll the dice that there won’t be a talent exodus.
I’m not convinced there will be a big exodus. O’Reilly is close to calling it a day already so he’s gone either way soon enough. Hannity and Van Susteren? Where are they going to get a bigger broader TV platform than where they currently are? Newsmax TV? HA! Hannity’s exit is all the more unlikely if Bill Shine were to take over for Ailes because those two go way back.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t people who would leave…or more to the point…that there aren’t people who wouldn’t be allowed back on the air if Ailes was no longer there. There are definitely people we’d never see again on a non-Ailes run FNC.
Also worth considering is who would be allowed to remain in their current executive positions in a non-Ailes run FNC. You’re not going to install a new President at the network and expect they’ll be completely comfortable with the current arrangement. Not even Shine. I can think of a few who could be looking over their shoulders if Ailes isn’t in charge.