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Friday, June 28, 2013

The Mole

I promised a book review of "An Atheist in the Foxhole," and here it is...

To get you quickly up to speed, it was written by FOX News Channel associate producer Joe Muto.  The book was written after Muto leaked insider secrets and videos to Gawker.com.

Apparently, Muto left electronic fingerprints.  His bosses figured out he was "the mole" and he was bounced.  It was a dumb thing to do on many levels.  First, with the advances in information technology, it's easy to leave a trail.  Second, it was career suicide.  Why would you want to sabotage the company that provides your pay check?  Muto admits to being unhappy at FNC.  There were other ways to get through it.

Even though Muto has problems with FNC's conservative agenda, I thought the book was "fair and balanced."  Muto spent the majority of his FOX years working for Bill O'Reilly.  His portrayal of the most popular man in cable news is even handed.  Muto points out the bullying, the yelling, the love of free food buffets...  But, he also spends time talking about O'Reilly's talents and his charity work.  I was surprised to learn that even though Bill O'Reilly only spends about four hours a day at the office, he writes or dictates just about every word of every broadcast.

Another eye opener was time spent on FNC's conservative agenda.  Muto says there was never an open discussion of how they were going to slant the day's news to the right, but writers and producers  knew that was part of their mission.  Every word, every sound bite, every story idea went through that filter.

TV types will love " "An Atheist in the Foxhole."  There is enough here about the internal workings of a cable news network to keep you flying through the pages.  TV outsiders will enjoy how a broadcast day is put together, and it's written so even people outside the industry will understand it.

While I don't care for what Joe Muto did while working at FOX, he did put together a thoroughly enjoyable book.

This whole "mole" thing strikes a nerve with me.  Once upon a time, there was a local web site with tons of insider local TV information.  Much of it wasn't flattering.  It was clear someone was leaking secrets.  I understand, because I have the blog and am net savvy, I was on the list of suspects.  Guess what?  It wasn't me.  The author accidentally outed himself, and the web site went away.

I should also note  "An Atheist in the Foxhole" was my first e-reader book.  If you're considering buying one, I strongly recommend it.  I should have done it a long time ago.  We live in wonderful times.   Think about it.  You have the ability to have just about any book in the world, delivered in to your hand, in a matter of seconds.  As Jimmy Buffet says "Ain't life grand?"