Gawker’s recently exposed “mole” inside Fox News on Sunday explained why he dished about the company he “couldn’t stand” to work for anymore.
In an interview with Howard Kurtz on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Joe Muto — who, until he was discovered as the Fox News “mole,” was an associate producer at Fox — said his blog posts were a “primal scream from a longtime Fox employee who just couldn’t take it anymore. I could not take it one more day in that place.”
Well, he got his wish. Late last week, Fox News fired Muto and threatened legal action against him and Gawker, accusing both of “civil and criminal wrongdoing.” Muto’s digital trail ultimately did him in.
“I think their legal accusations are completely baseless and they’re trying to intimidate me into silence because I’m revealing unflattering information about the inner workings of the company,” Muto said. Gawker reportedly paid Muto $5,000 for his inside information. Muto declined to comment on the money involved.
After eight mostly unhappy years at the network, why not just quit and avoid the potential legal tangle? “I tried to leave many, many times,” Muto said. “I sent out dozens and dozens of resumes. CNN must have gotten 20 resumes from me. The truth of the matter was I was blackballed within the industry. Hiring managers see Fox News on your resume, and they say, ‘This guy’s a conservative, this guy’s a nut.’ I was completely blackballed in the cable news industry.”
All that being said, Muto still has colleagues at the network he respects. “I’m not a disgruntled employee. I enjoyed a lot of my time at Fox News.” Muto said he doesn’t know what’s next for him. The media chatter has speculated a book deal, but Muto said that wasn’t part of the plan going into it. But he probably won’t be showing up on CNN or MSNBC anytime soon. “I think it’s pretty safe to say my career in cable news is over,” Muto said.
Watch the interview:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com