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60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager appears to be in hot water.
The legendary CBS Newser reportedly hired a law firm “that boasts about killing stories” to look into a Washington Post investigation surrounding his handling of the Charlie Rose scandal. That’s according to a story published last night by Lachlan Cartwright of The Daily Beast.
Cartwright states that the WaPo story was “a deep dive into what CBS managers knew about former anchor Charlie Rose’s alleged sexual misconduct, but due to the aggressive tactics of law firm Clare Locke, the sources said, the story was ‘effectively neutered.’”
Clare Locke was “able to slow it down and in effect change the dynamic,” a person with knowledge of the situation told The Daily Beast. The law firm sent TheWashington Post several letters threatening litigation, the sources said. As a result, other reporting about Fager was left out of the published story, three sources said.
An investigative journalist who has been on the receiving end of a Clare Locke letter said it’s effective: “They slow it down. It’s just annoying. It spooks you which can then spook your sources.”
On November 20, 2017, The Washington Post broke the story that eight women had accused CBS News anchor Charlie Rose of sexual harassment at multiple networks, going back decades. CBS News fired Rose the following day. PBS fired Rose not long after.
For their investigation, The Post reporters Amy Brittain and Irin Carmon talked to, or attempted to talk to, current and former executives who worked with Rose about specific complaints, including Fager, (who installed Rose on the 60 Minutes roster in 2008 and put him on CBS This Morning in 2011) Chris Licht, Rose’s first ep on CTM (now Late Show with Stephen Colbert‘s ep), Ryan Kadro, the current ep of the show, and Yvette Vega, the longtime producer of Rose’s PBS show.
Brittain and Carmon weren’t done with their investigation that was published. They went back to dig on who knew what and when at CBS, three sources told Cartwright.
He writes: “Brittain and Carmon were so irate their investigation had been watered down they made their displeasure known to Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron, a source told The Daily Beast, adding, ‘They were pissed.’”
The two women recently won a Mirror Award for Best Story on Sexual Misconduct in the Media Industry. They said this story took them 7 years to complete. Ironically, Fager was at the same ceremony, and accepted the Mirrors’ Special Recognition honor on behalf of 60 Minutes for “50 years of excellence in broadcast journalism.”
Fager apparently isn’t the only prominent TV newser to hire this particular law firm to “kill” a sexual harassment story:
Cartwright mentions three sources told him that Clare Locke has also done work for former Today show host Matt Lauer and current New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush, two men who were also accused in news publications of sexually harassing women. The law firm was also recently hired by David Pecker, the CEO and chairman of American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer, to try and shut down a negative story from a newspaper, according to two of Cartwright’s sources.