Photo: Courtesy of Gawker
Gawker announced today that it has scored the Holy Grail of media hires — a current employee at Fox News. The anonymous columnist, dubbed “Fox Mole,” posted his/her first piece today, complete with a behind-the-scenes video of Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney and Fox News host Sean Hannity chitchatting before an interview in Las Vegas this February.
The video starts off with some friendly small talk about Romney’s horseback riding habits. The candidate tells Hannity that his wife rides “Austrian warmbloods” — “dressage” horses, he explains — while he prefers his own “Missouri foxtrotter.”
“It moves very fast, and doesn’t tire, and it’s easy to ride,” Romney says. “It’s not boom, boom, boom — easy to ride.”
Later on the pair joke about avoiding a “John Edwards’ moment,” apparently referring to the infamous 2008 video of Edwards preening.
In truth, the video isn’t that bad. Although the conversation about horses does reinforce Romney’s rich-guy image, Romney’s wife Ann rides horses as part of her multiple-sclerosis therapy so attacking the Romneys equestrian habits seems a little insensitive. And Romney redeems himself a little later in the video by telling Hannity that he is staying at a Renaissance hotel, “off the Strip,” because it is cheaper, and that the choice is not about perception, but about allocating his campaign’s resources efficiently.
Clearly, what is more interesting about the column is the fact that Gawker has access to a double agent who is willing to spill secrets from inside the conservative media bastion.
[W]hat finally broke me was a story on The Fox Nation. If you’re not a frequenter of Fox Nation (and if you’re reading Gawker, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re not) I can describe it for you — it’s like an unholy mashup of the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post and a Klan meeting. Word around the office is that the site was actually the brainchild of Bill O’Reilly’s chief stalker (and Gawker pal) Jesse Watters.
The Nation aggregates news stories, gives them provocative headlines, and invites commenters to weigh in. The comments are fascinating actually, if you can detach yourself enough to view them as sort of the id of the conservative movement. Of course, if you can’t detach yourself, then you’re going to come away with a diminished view of human decency, because HOLY MOLY THESE PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE THE BLACK PRESIDENT. I’m not saying they dislike him BECAUSE he’s black, but a lot of the comments, unprompted, mention the fact that he is black, so what would you say, Dr. Freud?
The Fox Nation moderators, realising that they had a problem on their hands, did the absolute bare minimum, hiring one or two college kids to comb the comments for the most egregiously racist postings, and putting in automatic text filters that blocked various key words. Of course the intrepid commenters quickly found ways around these filters using letter substitutions and spacings, which is why many comments complain about our “[email protected] president” and the “M u s l i m in the White House.”
According to the post, the “Fox Mole” will provide “regular updates from inside the organisation.” Fox News has not yet responded to Business Insider’s requests for comment.
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