“According to one highly placed source,” former Fox News CEO and chairman Roger Ailes organized a “‘Black Room,’ an operation Ailes established around 2011 to conduct PR and surveillance campaigns against people he targeted, both inside and outside the company,” reports Gabriel Sherman on the Daily Intelligencer page of the New York magazine website.
The story adds that “Targets of the campaigns included journalists John Cook and Hamilton Nolan, who have aggressively covered Ailes for Gawker. According to one source, private detectives followed Cook around his Brooklyn neighborhood, and Fox operatives prepared a report on him with information they intended to leak to blogs.”
Gabriel adds, “I was also the target of an operation, a source told me: In 2012, while I was researching a biography of Ailes, Fox operatives set up webpages to attack my reputation, and Fox funds paid for Google search ads against my name that linked to the sites.”
Gabriel then writes, “The allegations about Ailes’s questionable use of Fox resources raise the issue of how much other high-ranking officials knew about his activities. Fox News CFO Mark Kranz, for instance, approved budget expenditures throughout this period, and general counsel Dianne Brandi approved contracts. Through a spokesperson, both Kranz and Brandi said they had no knowledge of expenditures for surveillance and online attacks. Ailes, through his attorney Susan Estrich, said, ‘These allegations are totally false.’”
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