New details have surfaced about Wednesday’s firing of “60 Minutes” executive producer and former CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager over what CBS News President David Rhodes called a violation of company policy.
Those details suggest that Fager’s initial response to his firing may have mischaracterized the issue. As we reported Wednesday, Fager responded with a statement saying the network “terminated my contract early because I sent a text message to one of our own CBS reporters demanding that she be fair in covering the story.”
Fager’s statement added: “My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
The reporter, Jericka Duncan, later identified herself in a report on Wednesday’s “CBS Evening News” in which she also discussed the text message she received from Fager. You can see the full report in the video clip below.
Duncan revealed that the text came after she reached out to Fager for comment on news articles alleging groping and other misbehavior by Fager at company parties. His text to her says in part: “If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up, you will be responsible for harming me.”
Fager goes on to say in the text: “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.”
CBS anchor Jeff Glor ended the report with a message of support for Duncan, saying: “That message was unacceptable. I think it’s important for you to know, for everyone to know back there, that I, we, the entire team at ‘Evening News,’ supports you 100 percent.”
Glor also notes in the report, which delves into high-profile misconduct cases at CBS: “In less than a year now, three of the most powerful men in broadcasting” have either been fired or resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations. All three — Fager, CBS Corp. Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves and “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose — were at CBS.
Fager was one of only two people to oversee “60 Minutes” in its 50-year history, having succeeded show creator Don Hewitt in 2004.
Duncan’s comments on Fager and the text message are included in the report below, posted by “CBS Evening News” …