Joe Muto, a former producer on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” was fired today, less than 24 hours after Gawker revealed that it had a mole within the Fox organization. What’s even more incredible: Gawker paid only $5,000, as Jeff Bercovici of Forbes.com reports, to induce Muto “to commit career suicide.”
That’s well under $200 per hour – which, to be certain, is probably more than Muto was making at Fox, but then again, he worked as the Fox Mole for less than a day, and worked for Fox for eight years.
This deal ended up sour for both ends. While Gawker may have made its money back in ad revenue – they got terrific traffic on the Fox Mole post – their pipeline is gone. And as for Muto, he’ll likely never work in the media again. What was the one piece they got out of the Fox Mole before he Fox played whack-a-mole with him? It was a relatively blasé piece implying that FoxNation readers are racists, and that those who make editorial decisions at the website are racists. And he handed over a key piece of tape on Mitt Romney: Romney talking about how he and his wife own horses.
So in the end, Gawker paid $5,000 for a story about how Mitt Romney likes horses, and Joe Muto got a $5,000 severance package to rip his longtime employer.