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Thursday
Apr122012

What’s Next for Gawker’s Fox Mole, Joe Muto?

Andy Kropa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Now that he’s officially been fired from Fox News, Gawker’s Fox mole is “ready to tell my story.” But who’s going to read it?

Joe Muto was outed by Fox News late Wednesday when the company announced he had been fired from his associate producer job at The O’Reilly Factor for leaking inside information to the news and gossip site Gawker.com. In a statement Thursday, a Fox News rep said, “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.”

On Gawker Wednesday night, Muto described being escorted out of Fox’s midtown Manhattan headquarters in a manner that made clear “I would not be setting foot back into 1211 Avenue of the Americas again.”

“I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me,” he wrote, “but as of today, I am free, and I am ready to tell my story, which I wasn’t able to fully do for the previous 36 hours. Stay tuned for much, much more tomorrow.”

A book deal could be the next logical step. Greg Smith, who left his executive director post at Goldman Sachs last month after flaming the company in a New York Times editorial, scored a $1.5 million advance for a tell all about the investment bank. But one literary agent told ABC News that kind of pay day is unlikely for Muto.

“I don’t think there’s a likelihood of Greg Smith money,” said Swanna MacNair, founder of the publishing agency Creative Conduit. “There is some money, perhaps in the low six figures, and only if there’s competition.”

“A bit of the difference with the Goldman Sachs book is that Greg Smith was a man who was at the upper echelon, who had been there for quite a while,” she said. “He also seemed to be upset for humanity. His editorial was bold, and it raised the question, what else does this guy have to say?”

But MacNair said with Muto, “even though there are a lot of people that don’t like Fox News, there’s something a little bit seedy about someone that’s reporting from the inside. It seemed like a planned stunt.”

Then there’s the question of what Muto will be able to reveal if he’s embroiled in a lawsuit with his former employer. Without access to behind the scenes video, like the clip of Mitt Romney discussing horseback riding that accompanied his first Gawker dispatch, what compelling stuff can he share?

“It would have to be something about a disgruntled generation of workers, and they’re not the biggest book buyers,” MacNair said.

In short, there may not be enough there.

“I think he was hoping all of this would lead to a Greg Smith moment, but there has to be some authenticity behind it,” she said. “What’s behind it really remains to be seen.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul012011

WikiLeaks Spoofs Mastercard Commercials

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- WikiLeaks’ latest fundraising video takes a jab at Mastercard, one of the major credit card companies that is blocking over $15 million in donations to the anti-secrecy group. It also suggests the group’s work in exposing thousands of secret American diplomatic cables and military documents was the catalyst for the Arab Spring uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Spoofing Mastercard’s signature “Priceless” ads, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes an appearance in the minute-long video which tallies the group’s various expenses associated with running the website and defending it from attack and legal challenges.

Among the costs, according to the video: 20 secure phones priced at $5,000, legal bills in five countries valued at $1 million, upkeep of servers in over 40 countries costing $200,000, the loss donations lost due to banking blockade worth $15 million, and an extra $500,000 to cover costs associated with Assange’s court-ordered house arrest in Great Britain.

The clip delivers the kicker as the camera tilts up to a slightly smiling, slightly smirking Assange watching crowds protest during an Arab Spring uprising: “Watching the world change as a result of your work: priceless,” the narrator says. “There are some people who don’t like change. For everyone else there’s WikiLeaks.”

Last fall WikiLeaks released the first batch of State Department cables which exposed unfiltered American diplomatic correspondence between its embassies abroad and the headquarters in Washington, D.C. As the Arab Spring took hold in early 2011 WikiLeaks suggested the uprisings were inspired by evidence of corruption in those countries that was exposed in the leaked cables.

The State Department, meanwhile, has argued the uprisings had little to do with the leaked cables and more to do with homegrown movements building on longstanding frustrations with governments in the region.

So far there’s been no response from Mastercard, which has taken legal action against parodies of its ads in the past. In 2000 the company sued presidential candidate Ralph Nader who released a political ad that mimicked the Mastercard commercials. In 2004, however, a court ruled in favor of Nader.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec032010

Former 'GMA,' 'Primetime' Producer Tapped to Lead ABC News

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In a packed ABC News studio, incoming network president Ben Sherwood vowed to "work his heart out" to propel the news division to success.

"This is the greatest building in all of television, and the people who work here are the best in television," said Sherwood, who noted that it was "emotional" to walk into the ABC News headquarters this morning for the first time in years.

The audience that gathered to welcome Sherwood back to ABC News -- most recently he served as the executive producer of Good Morning America from 2004 to 2006 -- included World News anchor Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, and outgoing president David Westin.

Sherwood first joined ABC News in 1989 as an associate producer and producer for PrimeTime and later led Good Morning America to its two most successful seasons. Sherwood has also worked at NBC's Nightly News and has published two best-selling novels.

ABC News Digital will be of the utmost importance in this mission, according to Sherwood.

"Digital is everything, it's essential," he said. "I'm going to challenge our digital team to think really big thoughts."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio