From Bill O’Reilly’s self-exaggerating memoirs, to Dana Perino’s bland recollections of her time in the George W. Bush White House, to Sean Hannity’s calls to arms, to Gretchen Carlson’s go-get-’em prose, to Greg Gutfeld’s entertaining rants — the Erik Wemple Blog has read a great deal of books by Fox News talent. We can say this about all of them: They treat Fox News and its leaders with kindness and extreme deference.
Consider that Carlson’s memoir, “Getting Real,” contains “Special thanks to Fox News CEO and chairman of the board Roger Ailes for continuing to believe in me and giving me the opportunity to do what I love every day.” Those words hit the public realm in June 2015. A year later, Carlson sued the same man for sexual harassment, setting off a chain of events that ended with his departure from Fox News. Not to mention a $20 million settlement and an apology for Carlson herself.
For the chasm between printed nonsense and whispered reality, credit the almighty Fox News book guidelines. These things are thorough. And they’re known to the world, thanks to litigation between the network and Andrea Tantaros, a banished co-host who sued the network and Ailes over sexual harassment weeks after Carlson’s civil action. Whereas Tantaros claims she was demoted and mistreated after complaining about treatment from Ailes, Fox News countered that the network’s problem with Tantaros related to her book, “Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What We Wanted Made Women Miserable.” From a Fox News filing in the case: “On April 25, 2016, Fox News suspended Tantaros with pay in accordance with the terms of her Employment Agreement because of her failure to obtain approval of her book.”
As part of that litigation, Fox News released the book guidelines in a court filing. This blog summarized key points in a previous post and repeats them here:
• You can’t write a book at all if Fox News determines that a book isn’t in the “best interest” of Fox News (that part’s in all-caps);
• You must “first” seek the network’s approval before even negotiating a book deal — and you have to give HarperCollins a shot at bidding on it;
• Fox News gets 10 percent of net profits after the advance is earned out;
• You have to submit a written outline of the book, including the title, before passing it along to the publisher;
• You are “required to submit to Fox News in writing a schedule for the days and times when [you] will write and otherwise work on the book.”
A legal motion from Fox News in the Tantaros case alleged that Tantaros “never submitted a manuscript of the book to Fox News for approval.”
What about Kelly? What sort of restrictions bind her book? There is cause to wonder. Excerpts from her upcoming memoir, “Settle for More,” were posted on Radar Online on Thursday, and they are downright chilling and scandalous. They detail the sexual harassment that Kelly allegedly suffered from Ailes about a decade ago. (Ailes denies it all.) As Kelly narrates it, her former boss corralled her in meetings and made suggestive remarks, only to latter attempt to “grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips.”
How could any such content secure muster with the Fox News book inspectors? Just what were Kelly’s book obligations — the same as those required of Tantaros? Leslee Dart, a spokeswoman for Kelly, wouldn’t detail her contractual obligations but did say, “She has completely complied with all of the terms of her contract.” And Fox News, when asked about the situation, issued this statement: “Fox News declined comment citing pending litigation with Andrea Tantaros.”
Just what does that mean? We’ll leave the interpretations to the Erik Wemple Blog Readership, among the most sophisticated in the land. Whatever the machinations between Fox News and Kelly, this much is clear: “Settle For More,” to judge from this early leak, may indeed be an apt descriptor of the level of detail regarding inner Fox News workings — and that would be a nice break with the ample written record.