By Peter Barry Chowka
A system of sorts has been perfected to destroy the most effective conservative spokesmen on the Fox News Channel, and it operated with stunning efficiency over the last few days. A marginal writer with a documented background as a high level political operative and fundraiser in left wing Democrat politics published an unsourced article at a far left Web site, HuffPost (formerly the Huffington Post).
The article claimed that multiple anonymous sources supposedly confirmed to the writer that “several years ago” prominent Fox News channel (FNC) host and anchor Eric Bolling – who happens to be a strong supporter of President Donald Trump – texted a graphic, lewd photo of male genitalia to two or three of his FNC female colleagues.
No one is quoted in the article – anonymously or otherwise. Apparently, the allegations were news to Bolling’s employer. Bolling’s attorney, when given short notice that the article was about to be published, immediately issued a denial on behalf of his client. (The next afternoon, having had some time to prepare, he issued a more vociferous denial.)
Nonetheless, before the evening was over, a pre-recorded new episode of Bolling’s weekly show Cashin’ In, that had been set to run Saturday morning at 11:30 AM EDT, was pulled from the FNC schedule. The next day, Saturday, a one sentence statement from Fox News informed the world that Bolling was immediately suspended from his jobs at Fox News (six shows a week, totaling 5 ½ hours of airtime, not counting frequent guest spots on other Fox programs).
Later on Saturday, a Fox News representative emailed reporters, including this writer, several additional points, including that an internal investigation of the accusations was being undertaken by the law firm Paul, Weiss, and that starting today (Monday August 7) “rotating” substitute hosts would appear on Bolling’s shows, The Fox News Specialists and Cashin’ In.
The scribe responsible for the damaging article on Bolling uses the byline Yashar Ali. According to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2016, his full name is Yashar Ali Hedayat. After a short career doing work behind the camera in Hollywood, Ali Hedayat – reportedly from a wealthy background in Illinois, according to the Plain Dealer – started working as a Democrat political operative.
According to several mainstream sources, he reportedly raised between $100,000 and $150,000 for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. As an individual in recent years, the Federal Election Commission reports “Yashar Hedayat” contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Democrat political campaigns. In 2009, he was appointed to a $131,100 a year job with San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, but after three months he left that position for a job with Newsom’s successful campaign for California Lieutenant Governor. Later, Ali Hedayet moved to the East coast and began writing articles under the name Yashar Ali for various left of center publications.
The HuffPost article, representing Ali Hedayat’s “kill shot” (a memorable term used by Sean Hannity last May to describe his enemies’ attempt to bring him down via an advertiser boycott) aimed at Bolling, has catapulted Ali to his 15 minutes of fame.
Also joining the pack of jackals nipping at Bolling’s heels is Caroline Heldman, Ph.D. Heldman is an associate professor, politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles – coincidentally one of Barack Obama’s alma maters. Heldman is a hardcore, in-your-face socialist. Between 2008 and 2011, she was a frequent guest on Fox News channel and Fox Business network programs – on hundreds of occasions, according to her count – particularly Bill O’Reilly’s O’Reilly Factor.
An attractive and intense young woman, she was an effective debate foil for O’Reilly, consistently taking the far left, radical feminist position on a variety of issues. Heldman was perfect for Fox News, with “the look” including blond tresses that guaranteed frequent appearances. In a parallel universe, she could have been a Fox News anchor or a show host. The channel’s talent bookers probably thought they had found the perfect guest: a die hard radical feminist who dressed stylishly, wore makeup, styled her hair, and looked like she shaved her legs.
On Saturday, August 5, late in the afternoon as the Bolling story was attracting widespread mainstream media attention, Heldman posted a screed on her Facebook page, alleging she had been harassed in the past by Bowling. Excerpts of her claims of harassment:
Bolling referred to me as “Dr. McHottie” on air on four different occasions, and called me “smart, beautiful, and wrong” on air twice. . .
Bolling would also contact me via phone and text after shows, sometimes to apologize for his behavior (and then do it again), and sometimes just to talk. He said he wanted to fly me out to New York for in-studio hits and to have “fun.” He asked me to have meals with him on several occasions, but I found excuses not to go. Once, he took me up to his office in New York, showed me his baseball jerseys, and in the brief time I was there, let me know that his office was his favorite place to have sex.
That is pretty much the extent of Heldman’s recollections of Bolling at her Facebook – in a post that has gained her instant mass media attention. (Just Google her name now and see what comes up.) Taking advantage of her latest 15 minutes of fame, Heldman showed up – where else – on MSNBC, on AM Joy on Sunday morning August 6 to repeat her charges, which included jabs at Bill O’Reilly and one other person related to Fox whom she claims also harassed her. The entire segment can be viewed here.
Meanwhile, a number of media accounts have conflated her claims with those attributed to the unnamed anonymous sources that Ali Hedayet used for his article, whom he didn’t quote. Heldman has not to my knowledge claimed that she was a source for Ali Hedayat’s article.
Caroline Heldman on AM Joy
Meanwhile, the law firm that is investigating Bolling for the internal Fox review of his status and future with the company – Paul, Weiss – is a Democrat-dominated shop. Between 81.3% and 85.7% of the campaign contributions of its employees in recent years have gone to Democrat candidates.
In a news release on January 23, 2017, the firm crowed that it had hired Obama’s Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, three days after he left the government, for a high profile position with the firm. In the previous investigations of accused Fox News personnel that Paul, Weiss has conducted, every one of the targets has been fired or forced to resign from their jobs. It appears that the future for Eric Bolling at Fox doesn’t look very promising.