Update: Fox is disputing the account, apparently Bill Shine–not Roger Ailes–called the control room and told them to end the segment, because it was getting too long and divisive. More information from Mediaite and below.
Original: An excerpt in the New York Times from a new book by Jonathan Alter on the 2012 Presidential election features quite the tale about Fox News, and CEO Roger Ailes.
The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies, recalls one day last November when Geraldo Rivera was on “Fox & Friends” to talk about Benghazi. While the three hosts were very critical of the administration, Rivera defended it.
“After the argument continued for several minutes, Ailes called the control room and told the producers to cut Rivera’s mic,” Mr. Alter writes.
It is a bold statement, although Alter does not explain the source of the story. A video of the segment (h/t Johnny $) has been on the Fox News site since it happened, and does not appear to show a mic getting cut.
All in all, it was a seven minute segment, which in the world of cable news is an eternity. It is possible that a call was made, although it certainly did not appear to manifest itself onscreen. Update: the full video has a moment that sounds like Rivera’s mic may have been cut, though he insists that it was not. Judge for yourself.
Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell has more details on the incident, which seem to be more plausible than the one out forth by the book.
Our own sources tell us this anecdote is false. Mediaite has learned that Ailes never called the control room that morning, but rather, Bill Shine (Fox’s EVP of Programming) did. Shine did not order Rivera’s mic to be cut. Instead his call was to urge the show to move on because the segment had come to its conclusion, as the EVP seemed to believe that two Fox personalities calling each other liars with an escalating tone made for bad morning television and could potentially alienate their audience if it continued.
It should also be noted that Rivera was on “The O’Reilly Factor” that evening, not a place one would expect to see someone being censored by the bosses.
Contrary to published accounts no one at Fox News ever either cut my mic or told me what to say But I do advocate cutting Eric Bolling’s mic
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) May 6, 2013