“I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me.”
That’s Joe Muto, an associate producer at FoxNews, who revealed to the public overnight that’s he’s the “mole” inside FoxNews whose Gawker column (language warning) earlier this week had some people salivating for more.
In the end, it was the digital trail that gave me away. They knew that someone, using my computer login, had accessed the sources for two videos that ended up on Gawker over the past few weeks. They couldn’t prove it entirely, but I was pretty much the only suspect.
The Murdoch empire has pretty much written the book on hacking into people’s data so figuring out who the mole was wasn’t likely to take long and, as it turned out, it didn’t.
David Carr in the New York Times wonders what the big deal is?
The only reason that the oh-so-short tunnel dug by the mole was of any interest is that Fox News is supposedly the Stasi of media companies, collecting all manner of information on others while emitting not a trace of information about its own doings.
Carr says media employees talk smack about an employer all the time. Maybe, but few of them are stupid enough to put it in print, and tech savvy enough to know you don’t leave a digital trail on the company computer network.
In that sense, Muto might’ve revealed more about the inside of FoxNews than anything he could’ve written.
But the more interesting aspect of the story this week was how many people in the media repeated the story of the FoxNews mole without ever stopping to consider whether he was, in fact, a FoxNews mole or just some media savvy individual playing a joke.
As for Joe Muto, he should probably have a Plan B for a career. Say what you want about FoxNews, but no business should want someone who surreptitiously is working against it, and there are few media companies who wouldn’t have turned to its I.T. department to find the leak.
The FoxNews story will probably get all of the attention, but the more outrageous employer reaction is that of the Wilmington (Delaware) News Journal, which fired a young reporter who created a press release about his hiring solely for his Tumblr page, and used the newspaper’s logo.