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Fox News and the scourge of leak investigations (including the ‘Fox Mole’)

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The Erik Wemple Blog joins Fox News chief Roger Ailes in denouncing the Obama administration’s overreaching leak investigation involving a State Department security adviser and Fox News reporter James Rosen. We agree with Ailes that “The administration’s attempt to intimidate Fox News and its employees will not succeed and their excuses will stand neither the test of law, the test of decency, nor the test of time.” We agree with Sean Hannity that the probes bear some resemblance to “big brother” tactics. We agree with Andrea Tantaros that it’s an outrage when journalists “are being spied on” (though we’d prefer not to see people assaulted for their political views).

And we also want to disavow any cutesy juxtaposition between Fox News’s outrage over the leak investigation and its own treatment of former employee and “Fox Mole” Joe Muto. He is a one-time “O’Reilly Factor” producer who wrote harmless posts for Gawker about life at Fox News, a series that included some inside-Fox video. He was then pursued like hell by Fox News and recently wrapped up a plea deal for his offenses. “I do see some ironies there,” said Muto’s lawyer, Florian Miedel. “These things are discretionary. If Fox hadn’t pushed, I think the DA’s office wouldn’t have pursued it.”