“Big trees are falling” at CBS, said CBS This Morning‘s Gayle King today, as she and co-hosts Norah O’Donnell and John Dickerson offered their “100%” support for guest Jericka Duncan, the CBS News correspondent who received a warning from now-ex 60 Minutes exec producer Jeff Fager Sunday night.
“It certainly sounded like a threat,” King said of Fager’s text, with Dickerson adding, “It was a threat.”
CBS News fired the longtime 60 Minutes producer yesterday, with Fager himself saying that his termination was due to “a text message to one of our own CBS reporters demanding that she be fair in covering the story.” Though he conceded that his “language was harsh,” he insisted the text was not grounds for firing.
Fager sent the text after Duncan sought his response to allegations that he inappropriately touched employees at company parties. The text reads, “If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up you will be held responsible for harming me. Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.”
“This is a very difficult story for us to cover and certainly for you,” King told Duncan on CBS This Morning today. “Big trees are falling at CBS. But I really do believe that the company wants to and will get this right.”
Asked by King whether she interpreted Fager’s text as a threat, Duncan said, “I did, and it’s even hard to say that today. Because yes, we do receive harsh language all the time, but this is someone who held an enormous amount of power here who I respected and I was shocked.”
O’Donnell told Duncan that the CBS This Morning team supports her “100%.”
Watch the segment above.