UPDATE, 8:08 PM: It’s Joe Muto, who worked on The O’Reilly Factor. He says on Gawker that he “was called into a meeting with Dianne Brandi, the Fox News Executive Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs and suspended indefinitely… with pay, oddly enough.” He adds that officials traced him through a digital trail. “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.” And he adds that “I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me… 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.” Here’s the company statement: “Joe Muto is fired effective April 12. Once the network determined that Mr. Muto was the main culprit in less than 24 hours, he was suspended late today while we pursued concurrent avenues. We are continuing to explore legal recourse against Mr. Muto and possibly others.”
PREVIOUS, 1:40 PM: Mediaite has an update from Fox News following up on the Fox Mole’s post saying that he or she is still working. The person hasn’t been confronted yet, but “We know who it is,” the network says.
PREVIOUS, 12:45 PM: TV news folk are giddy over the disclosure that a Fox News employee has allied with website Gawker to tell all about what happens behind the scenes at the network. “The Fox Mole,” as Gawker calls the unidentified person, kicked things off yesterday by posting a clip of Mitt Romney chatting with Sean Hannity before an interview: (The GOP presidential candidate — frequently zinged for being too rich to appreciate the concerns of ordinary voters — said that his wife Ann likes to ride Austrian Warmblood horses while he prefers Missouri Foxtrotters because they have a “smoother gait.”) The big question now is: How long it will take for the network to find the (choose one) traitor/whistle-blower? Another website, Mediaite, reported today that a Fox News spokesperson said that “We found the person and we’re exploring legal options at this time.” But afterwards, the Fox Mole said: “If Fox has smoked me out, it’s news to me. I’m still here. Back to work.”
In his or her inaugural piece yesterday, the Mole said that he or she decided to tell all after seeing a post on the Fox Nation website last August about a White House celebration for President Obama’s 50th birthday. It showed pictures of the President, Charles Barkley, Chris Rock, and Jay-Z over a headline that read: “Obama’s Hip-Hop BBQ Didn’t Create Jobs.” The post “neatly summed up everything that had been troubling me about my employer: Non sequitur, ad hominem attacks on the president; gleeful race baiting; a willful disregard for facts; and so on,” the Fox Mole writes. When the network defended the post, “That was it for me. It wasn’t that the one incident was so bad, in and of itself. But it was so galvanizing, and on top of so many other little incidents, that I guess it just finally pushed me over the edge.”