Fox News ‘Mole’ Served With Search Warrant

It looks like Fox News president Roger Ailes wasn't kidding when he promised to take seriously the betrayal of company secrets which Joe Muto, a disgruntled producer for the "O'Reilly Factor," attempted to dish to the left-wing gossip rag Gawker.

According to his Twitter account, Muto has been served with a search warrant and had his laptop, cellphone, and some notebooks seized by law enforcement officers. Muto said that he had been accused of grand larceny.

"I just got search warranted at 6:30am by a very polite crew from the DA's office. Took my iPhone, laptop, some old notebooks," he tweeted earlier today.

His tenure as a mole within FNC was short-lived. He was fired almost immediately after Gawker first started publishing "scoops" from him.

While he seemed to think that he was exposing a supposed conservative bias within Fox News Channel, Muto's account of being "blackballed" by other networks for having worked for O'Reilly probably says either more about the liberal leanings of CNN and other shops he applied to or his own poor credentials as a producer.

Former FNC producer Andrew Kirell alleged the latter in a column for Mediaite in which he said that Muto probably wasn't a very good decision-maker:

The truth is that Muto seems to be just another “left-winger” (his words) with an axe to grind. If he hated the network so much, how did he bear the years of being behind the camera for some of O’Reilly’s notorious ambushes like this one? In his CNN interview, Muto claimed that being an O’Reilly producer effectively “blackballed” him from getting another job in the TV business (wait, who was he exposing again?). But Josh Feldman accurately points out that plenty of Fox Newsers have gone to other networks.

When I sought to move on from Fox, I had pleasant meetings with other networks — even with Fox News blaring on my resume. Most people in the TV business recognize that being a Fox producer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a raging conservative. Any HR person in this business knows that all too well.

It’s more likely that Muto couldn’t find another job because, as last week’s events show, he isn’t the best decision-maker on the planet. Or, better yet: Muto never left because he actually had a pretty cushy gig. After all, he came to Fox a production assistant, performing thankless tasks like printing scripts, and eventually worked his way to writing segments for the highest-rated cable news show in America.

Alas, this microdrama is probably destined for the courts so chances are we won't be able to find out which it is.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013