The media today: HuffPost stands by its reporter after Fox host sues

Fox News host Eric Bolling is suing freelance journalist Yashar Ali, who reported last week that Bolling sent lewd text messages to female colleagues. Bolling is seeking $50 million in damages over the story that led to his suspension from the network.

Ali’s story for HuffPost cited 14 sources and alleged that Bolling had sent an inappropriate and unsolicited photo to at least three colleagues. Less than 24 hours after its publication, Fox News suspended Bolling pending the results of an internal investigation. Bolling denied the allegations.

Bolling’s suit, as Ali noted, does not name HuffPost, an entity that could conceivably pay the damages that Bolling seeks. In the sort of response any freelancer would appreciate, HuffPost Editor in Chief Lydia Polgreen tweeted, “Yashar Ali is a careful and meticulous reporter. We stand by his reporting.” She followed up to clarify that HuffPost would also be supporting Ali in his legal battle: “Yashar Ali is a paid freelancer under contract with HuffPost. We have no hesitation about standing by him financially in this case.”

The allegations against Bolling are the latest in a series of troubling reports about the culture at Fox News. Last summer the network’s founder, Roger Ailes, was forced from his leadership position after former anchor Gretchen Carlson accused him of sexual harassment. In April, Bill O’Reilly was ousted after The New York Times reported that he had been accused by five women of sexual misconduct or other inappropriate behavior. Last month, Fox Business Network host Charles Payne was suspended after being accused him of sexual harassment. All of the men denied the charges against them.

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Below, more on Bolling, Ali’s reporting, and the state of Fox News.

 

 

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Pete Vernon is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @ByPeteVernon.