The short, notorious career of Gawker's Fox Mole comes to an end
This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
The Fox Mole, who had a brief but spectacular two-day run on Gawker sharing tales of what it's like to work inside the Fox News network, has been outed and fired.
On Wednesday, "O'Reilly Factor" associate producer Joe Muto fessed up in a post on Gawker titled, "Hi Roger. It's me, Joe: The Fox Mole." In the post, he explained that yes, he was the guy who'd been writing dispatches from within the Fox News building and even though he had been found out by his superiors, he was still technically a News Corp. employee, suspended, but with pay.
That changed not long after, when News Corp. issued a statement which read, "Joe Muto has already been fired. Once the network determined that Mr. Muto was the main culprit in less than 24 hours, he was suspended late yesterday while we pursued concurrent avenues. We are continuing to explore legal recourse against Mr. Muto and possibly others."
In Muto's anonymously written posts, which began appearing on Gawker on Tuesday, he described the lousy working conditions of employees on the top-rated cable news network, posted interview footage of Mitt Romney and Sean Hannity not intended for air, and even took a photo of the revealing gap in the stalls in the men's room and the tasteful draping of toilet paper which he said was all that separated the common employee from Bill O'Reilly heeding nature's call.
Fox News claimed early on Wednesday that the mole had been identified, to which Muto responded with a post, "I am the Fox Mole, and I'm Still Here." That didn't last long. According to Muto's post, he was soon confronted by Dianne Brandi, the Fox News executive vice president of legal and business affairs, and sent packing.
Muto says it was his digital trail that gave him away. He used his log-in to access the videos which appeared on Gawker's website and since he was the only person to have accessed those videos in recent days, he was the first and only suspect.
Despite the threats of legal action and the fact that he's now out of a job, Muto seems to be taking his newfound notoriety in stride. He poked fun at himself and his carelessness on his Twitter feed, writing, "Who could have guessed that my bulletproof plan would go awry so quickly? Oh, that's right. EVERYONE." And took a picture of the letter, hand-delivered by Fox, which ended his employment.
Muto was an employee of Fox News beginning in 2004 and was with "The O'Reilly Factor" since 2007. Though he's no longer a Fox News employee, he promises much, much more to come.
For the record, 1:15 p.m. April 12: A previous version of this post stated Muto began with Fox News Channel in 2003. He began in 2004.
-- Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: Bill O'Reilly on "The O'Reilly Factor." Credit: Jeff Christensen / Associated Press.