Fox News Mole Joe Muto: Hero Or D-Bag?
Gawker's "mole" at Fox News, Joe Muto, was outed less than 24 hours after first publishing a few insignificant yarns from inside the cable news network's newsroom -- and now he claims on Twitter to be in the midst of a "media firestorm."
The only interview he's actually given -- which he pimps on Twitter as being an "exclusive" -- was to CNN's Howard Kurtz -- and we hate to break it you, Fox News foes, but he comes across as a bit of a douchebag (see the video embedded above), inspired more by dollar signs (and a possible book deal) than with exposing any right-wing bias many claim the Roger Ailes-run network has.
For starters, he claims his being a "weasel" -- as Muto himself puts it -- was just the "primal scream" of a pissed off employee who simply couldn't take another election cycle of Fox's spinning the facts in favor of Republican candidates.
"I think there is a lot of -- as has obviously been stated repeatedly in the media, there's a lot of right wing bias at FOX, and the way they're slanting the news, I just couldn't take one more election cycle where they're on complete attack mode against the Democratic candidate," he tells Kurtz.
However, Muto -- who was paid $60,000 a year to work as a producer for Bill O'Reilly's opinion show -- refuses to discuss what's rumored to be $5,000 he was paid by Gawker to act as a double agent in the Fox newsroom.
KURTZ: You also -- you also, by the way, accepted $5,000 from Gawker to serve as the FOX mole. Does that make you look like more of a weasel?
MUTO: I'm not going to comment on any financial arrangements that I may or may not have had with Gawker. But what this was, Howard -- this was a primal scream from a long-time FOX employee who just couldn't take it anymore and could not take it one more day in that place.
As we mentioned, Muto seems to have a book deal in mind.
Muto claims that the insignificant anecdotes -- the most (um) damning being some friendly banter between Sean Hannity and Mitt Romney -- he posted on Gawker's
website were just the tip of the iceberg. He claims to have several other stories -- that he expects to reveal "at a later time" -- that will further illustrate his point that Fox has right-wing bias.
MUTO: But the original plan was to sort of leak it out in driblets and maybe eventually I would -- some of the more interesting stuff I know would come out later. So --
KURTZ: So, what have you not revealed that you would like to reveal now?
MUTO: That's going to have to come at a later time.
KURTZ: Is that because you're saving it for a book deal or something like that?MUTO: I don't -- I don't know what I'm going to do next, Howard. I'm still weighing a lot of options. You know -- that's -- I have seen it speculated in the press that that's what I was doing from the beginning. That's -- that was not the plan from the beginning.
Muto's response of having "a lot of options" doesn't exactly jibe with his claim that he's been trying to find a job at other networks for years but has been unsuccessful because he's been blacklisted in the media industry for working at Fox -- which may or may not be true. Regardless, his response seems like code for "I'm going to write a book -- that's currently my only option -- thanks for all the free publicity, sucka."
While Muto claims to be so outraged by his now-former employer that he was forced to betray his corporate bosses, he worked there for eight years. In other words, if he was so morally opposed to what was going on at Fox, he could have simply left.
Muto seems like more of a left-wing opportunist than the left-wing folk hero Gawker probably had anticipated he would become.
We want to know what you think, though -- Joe Muto: hero or douchebag?
Cast your vote below.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.