NY Times biz reporter Steel discusses O’Reilly coverage
Emily Steel, the New York Times media reporter who broke the story about confidential settlements related to sexual harassment claims against Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, discussed her coverage on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Here is an excerpt:
STEEL: Yes. It was — in the summer, we had started to look into what happened with the Andrea Mackris dispute from 2004, when a woman who was a producer on Bill O’Reilly show came forward with allegations against him. And we looked at that scandal.
And in the course of our reporting, we found that there were other women who also had allegations against Bill O’Reilly and who also had reached settlements after reporting inappropriate behavior.
STELTER: Take us behind the scenes, how did you find these other women?
STEEL: So, a lot of that, we can’t talk about, Brian. A lot of it is our reporting. But what I can tell you is that we have talked to dozens and dozens an dozens of people. And we also, through a pretty analysis of the people who had appeared on Bill O’Reilly show and that was a good place to start, of people who to talk to.
STELTER: You are saying some of this was in plain sight, it was on O’Reilly show. You analyze who was appearing on his regularly and then reach out to those women.
STEEL: I wouldn’t say that a lot of this was hidden on plain sight. A lot of — a lot of what we unearth were that there were five settlements with women who had reported allegations about this behavior.
STEEL: And those settlements were designed to never become public. They had ironclad confidentiality agreement, with one of them that we actually viewed. If there was any infringement, then there would be a $500,000 violation for each infringement. So, these settlements were not designed to be discussed, to be made public. And that’s what our reporting showed.
STELTER: Now, here we are 21 days later. Did you expect that O’Reilly would be out of a job three weeks after your story was published?
STEEL: You know, it was at the time when the sorry was reported, it was really hard to tell. There was this record of the company’s protection of him that the company itself was the one that struck the deals with two women in the months after Ailes’ departure.
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