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Fox News layoffs at their ‘Brain Room’ described as ‘virtual frontal lobotomy’: report

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Composite image of Fox News personalities Jeanine Pirro, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson (screengrabs)

Fox News is expected to be even less connected to reality after a recent round of layoffs, according to a new report by The Daily Beast.

“The recent mass layoffs at Fox News—an estimated body count of around 70, amounting to a little less than 3 percent of the cable channel’s workforce—signal what current and former employees describe as the purposeful devaluing of fact-based journalism in favor of right-wing opinion, race-baiting, and conspiracy-mongering at the top-rated, Donald Trump-friendly cable outlet,” Diana Falzone and Lloyd Grove reported.

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“Fox News’ PR department used anodyne corporate-speak to characterize the job losses, namely ‘restructuring various divisions in order to position all of our businesses for ongoing success.’ But the layoffs, outside of the hair and makeup department, cut most deeply into the channel’s straight-news operations at Fox News Digital and elsewhere, according to insiders, while protecting the ratings-heavy, revenue-generating domains of Fox & Friends in the morning, and of Trump cheerleaders Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham in primetime,” The Beast reported.

The network’s priorities have disproportionately impacted fact-checking.

“The outlet’s so-called “Brain Room,” which the late Fox News founder Roger Ailes established as the 24-year-old channel’s fact-checking and research unit, has been especially hard-hit, losing around one-fourth of its 30-person staff along with two supervisors—a virtual frontal lobotomy, according to sources familiar with the cutbacks,” The Beast reported.

And the network doesn’t want former staffers discussing the situation.

“Along with the painful layoffs, fired employees—worried about getting new jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic—are being forced to sign severance agreements that include draconian non-disclosure requirements that one current staffer described as shocking, in order to receive their severance packages,” The Beast reported. “The non-disclosure section of the severance agreement requires laid-off employees to ‘assign to the Company any and all rights to publicity concerning any matter relating to the issues that resulted in your separation from the Company and/or this Agreement. You agree that you will not publish, contribute to or otherwise facilitate the creation of any story, book or other account relating to the Company or any Released Party.”

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