• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

Fox News Bashes Gawker Over Bill O’Reilly Scandal Report

Bill O'Reilly 2008

The gossip website claims “The O’Reilly Factor” host tried to get Nassau County police to conduct an internal investigation on an officer he believed to be sleeping with his wife. Fox News preemptively attempts to undermine Gawker’s credibility.

Fox News appears to be at war with New York media gossip blog Gawker yet again, this time over a story posted Tuesday alleging that The O'Reilly Factor host Bill O'Reilly tried to use his influence to get a Nassau County Police Department officer investigated for having an affair with his wife.

Gawker went on to speculate on the state of O'Reilly's marriage to his wife of 15 years, Maureen McPhilmy O'Reilly and offered evidence that Mrs. O'Reilly had moved out on the TV host and was keeping a separate residence.

Perhaps to pre-empt the negative press on a story it knew to be coming, Fox News launched an out-of-left-field attack on the website last week on its show Fox and Friends. (Though this wouldn't be the first time Fox News has bashed Gawker on the air.)

During a segment on once-trendy websites that are past their prime, host Steve Doocy claimed Gawker traffic was down 75 percent in the last year.

Not so, said Gawker writer John Cook, who also wrote the O'Reilly piece. He posted a chart detailing Gawker's traffic numbers, which are up more than 50 percent compared to last year, with unique visitors staying about the same.

Cook claimed the attack was launched because Fox News wanted to undermine the site's credibility before it published the O'Reilly story.

STORY: Gawker Goes to Court to Probe Relationship Between Roger Ailes and Chris Christie

The Gawker writer has a history of being a thorn in the side of Fox News. This spring, he published a series of posts painting Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes in a very unflattering light. Cook claimed Ailes was spying on the reporters of the small Hudson Valley newspaper he and his wife had purchased, attempted to use the local police force as a private locksmith service, and had secret political meetings with Republican New Jersey governor Chris Christie, among other allegations.

During the same time period, Gawker and Cook came under similar fire from a variety of Fox hosts, demonstrating a pattern of behavior.