Now that he’s officially been fired from Fox News, Gawker’s Fox mole is “ready to tell my story.” But who’s going to read it?
Joe Muto was outed by Fox News late Wednesday when the company announced he had been fired from his associate producer job at “The O’Reilly Factor” for leaking inside information to the news and gossip site Gawker.com. In a statement today, a Fox News rep said, “Once the network determined that Mr. Muto was the main culprit in less than 24 hours, he was suspended late yesterday while we pursued concurrent avenues. We are continuing to explore legal recourse against Mr. Muto and possibly others.”
On Gawker Wednesday night, Muto described being escorted out of Fox’s midtown Manhattan headquarters in a manner that made clear “I would not be setting foot back into 1211 Avenue of the Americas again.”
“I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me,” he wrote, “but as of today, I am free, and I am ready to tell my story, which I wasn’t able to fully do for the previous 36 hours. Stay tuned for much, much more tomorrow.”
(Wednesday afternoon, he supplied Gawker with a photo of a young Bill O’Reilly on a boat with a topless woman. Gawker also said they’ve received letters from Fox News’ lawyers asking them to “immediately stop publishing information and videos that have been unlawfully obtained.”)
A book deal would be Muto’s next logical step. Greg Smith, who left his executive director post at Goldman Sachs last month after flaming the company in a New York Times editorial, scored a $1.5 million advance for a tell all about the investment bank. But one literary agent told ABCNews.com that kind of pay day is unlikely for Muto.
“I don’t think there’s a likelihood of Greg Smith money,” said Swanna MacNair, founder of the publishing agency Creative Conduit. “There is some money, perhaps in the low six figures, and only if there’s competition.”
“A bit of the difference with the Goldman Sachs book is that Greg Smith was a man who was at the upper echelon, who had been there for quite a while,” she said. “He also seemed to be upset for humanity. His editorial was bold, and it raised the question, what else does this guy have to say?”
But MacNair said with Muto, “even though there are a lot of people that don’t like Fox News, there’s something a little bit seedy about someone that’s reporting from the inside. It seemed like a planned stunt.”
Then there’s the question of what Muto will be able to reveal if he’s embroiled in a lawsuit with his former employer. Without access to behind the scenes video, like the clip of Mitt Romney discussing horseback riding that accompanied his first Gawker dispatch, what compelling stuff can he share?
“It would have to be something about a disgruntled generation of workers, and they’re not the biggest book buyers,” MacNair said.
In short, there may not be enough there there.
“I think he was hoping all of this would lead to a Greg Smith moment, but there has to be some authenticity behind it,” she said. “What’s behind it really remains to be seen.”