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Fox News and Bill O’Reilly settled claims with five women for more than $13 million: New York Times

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Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and his employer have made payouts totaling about $13 million to five women to settle claims of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

O’Reilly said in a statement that he has been unfairly targeted because of his public prominence.

“In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.” O’Reilly, host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” the network’s biggest star, added, “I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

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Fox News declined to comment.

“While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility,” Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, the parent company of Fox News, said in a statement. “Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”

The report follows heightened scrutiny of the workplace climate at Fox News, the top-rated cable news network and unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. Founding Chairman Roger Ailes left the company last year after sexual harassment allegations.

The five women who have received settlements either worked for O’Reilly or appeared as guests on his program, the New York Times reported. Two of the five settlements were previously known.

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The largest settlement was a payout of $9 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit former Fox News producer Andrea Mackris brought against O’Reilly in 2004, according to the New York Times.

Two settlements were reached last year after Ailes’ departure, the newspaper said.

Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue accused O’Reilly and Ailes of harassing her, but not sexually, and Juliet Huddy, a regular guest on O’Reilly’s show, accused O’Reilly of pursuing a sexual relationship with her and trying to hamper her career after she rejected his advances, the newspaper reported.

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Attorneys for Mackris, Dhue and Huddy did not respond immediately to calls seeking comment.

Fox News last year agreed to pay $20 million to settle a harassment suit by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson on behalf of Ailes, who denied any wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Diane Craft)

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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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The faith of Fox News: How the network’s propaganda warps viewers’ sense of reality

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A longtime sticking point among Fox News employees is their insistent differentiation between its news division, where employees practice actual journalism, and its opinion division, where employees practice actual nativism, spew misinformation, and have been actively campaigning for Donald Trump’s re-election since 2016.  Inside the organization, they claim to believe that the news side is separate from the opinion side, and insist that the audience can tell the difference.

News anchor Shepard Smith once characterized comparing the two as “apples and teaspoons.”

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