National News

2 journalists, at Fox and Washington Post, are accused of misconduct

Posted January 10, 2018 10:51 p.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2018 9:20 a.m. EST

Two prominent journalists, one at Fox News and one at The Washington Post, are facing allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct.

NPR reported Wednesday that James Rosen, a former Washington correspondent who left Fox News last month, had done so after the network began scrutinizing sexual misconduct allegations against him. And Joel Achenbach, a Washington Post reporter, received a 90-day suspension Wednesday for unspecified misconduct involving current and former female colleagues.

Rosen, who had worked at Fox for 18 years, was known for his reporting on national security; an article he wrote in 2009 on intelligence related to North Korea led the Justice Department under President Barack Obama to investigate him and his sources. According to NPR, which cited eight former colleagues, Rosen “had an established pattern of flirting aggressively with many peers and had made sexual advances toward three female Fox News journalists, including two reporters and a producer.”

Rosen did not immediately respond to a Twitter message requesting comment, and a home phone number listed for him was not in service. A spokeswoman for Fox News did not respond to an email.

The nature of the allegations against Achenbach, a science and politics reporter at The Post, was not clear. Kristine Coratti Kelly, a Post spokeswoman, would not say what they involved or how many women had made them.

“We have investigated the allegations made against Joel,” Tracy Grant, a Post managing editor, said in a statement, “and based on the facts that The Post has gathered to date, we have placed him on a 90-day disciplinary suspension for inappropriate workplace conduct. The Washington Post is committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment for all employees. We will continue to investigate any allegations that come to light and will take further action if necessary.”

Achenbach acknowledged in a statement that he had “said and done things that were unprofessional.”

“I apologize to the women affected by this and acknowledge their courage in speaking out,” he said.

In an email, he declined to comment further.

Rosen is the latest in a line of Fox News employees to be accused of similar misconduct. For instance, Bill O’Reilly, then the top-rated host in cable news, was forced out in April after a New York Times investigation found he and Fox had paid a combined $13 million in settlements to women who had accused him of sexual harassment.

Similar allegations extended all the way up to Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, who died in May. Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox anchor, sued Ailes in 2016, saying he had forced her out after she refused his sexual advances. Many other women, including Megyn Kelly, also said Ailes had harassed them.

Just last month, Fox’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, told Sky News that there had been no further allegations at the company after Ailes was fired in 2016 — and that those allegations were “largely political because we’re conservative.”

Achenbach is the first Washington Post journalist to be punished for workplace misconduct since the #MeToo movement began in October, and his 90-day suspension is one of the harshest penalties the organization has imposed “for violations of its workplace or journalistic standards,” The Post reported.

His punishment was similar to that given to Glenn Thrush, a New York Times reporter who was suspended until late January and removed from the White House beat in response to allegations of sexual misconduct.