NEW YORK — I’m as liberal as they come, and I am defending my best friends of 25 years: Bill and Darla Shine.
On Thursday, the White House announced that “Bill Shine will serve as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications.”
Most people think I got to know Bill Shine from my years at Fox News Channel, but I’ve known Bill Shine since 1996 before Fox News Channel even started.
Bill and his wife, Darla, came to my wedding in 2004, the first year Massachusetts allowed gay marriage. I have to laugh at some of the press reports that call Bill Shine and his wife homophobic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bill Shine would have never come to my wedding if he was homophobic. I have been welcomed at his house for years. Why would someone who was homophobic welcome me?
I am not a great believer in the concept of “fake news” and I voted for Bernie Sanders. However, the “fake news” around Bill Shine is giving me pause. Consider this on CNN:
“Look. It is the week of the Fourth of July. People are out of town. Lots of them. And, yes, we have known for a while that Shine was going to join the Trump White House. … Shine was a longtime protégé of the late Fox News head Roger Ailes. But the fact that Trump views his presidency — and the world — through the decidedly distorted lens of Fox News isn’t new. Having Shine in the White House means Trump will likely go deeper down that rabbit hole — if that’s even possible.”
The real story here — and why this should be a very big deal — is the fact that Shine resigned last year after being accused of covering up a series of sexual harassment scandals involving on-air talent at the network over the past several decades. When Shine was elevated to co-president in the wake of Ailes’ 2016 resignation and in the wake of accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior with co-workers, there was grumbling.
Vanity Fair wrote: “Shine’s continued leadership has angered many Fox News employees, especially women, who view him as a product of the misogynistic Ailes culture. Shine joined the network in 1996, served as Sean Hannity’s producer, and rose through the ranks to become Ailes’s deputy. In that role, sources say he had the power to stop multiple instances of sexual harassment, including that of (a) former Fox booker but did not do so. (Through a Fox News spokesperson, Shine denies this.) He’s currently a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed this week by (a) former Fox host. It is interesting to note that Mr. Rupert Murdoch, when asked by a journalist at BBC about a week after Bill Shine left, said nothing was happening at Fox News — so, even Mr. Murdock would not implicate Bill.”
Much of the press is wrong. First, I knew where Bill Shine’s office was. It was far away from Roger Ailes’ office, which was behind a closed and locked door. Bill was a programming guy and would have had nothing to do with whatever Roger is accused of. Judy, who worked in the office behind the door, made all of Roger’s appointments and Bill had nothing to do with them.
I have been at Fox for more than 20 years and have NEVER heard anyone complain about Bill Shine. Even Kirsten Powers said on television that to this day Bill Shine is beloved at Fox. I don’t know who they got to “tell the story,” but I can tell you it is not true.
People file lawsuits for money and win perceived grievances. Bill Shine is most honorable and converses with all the people I have met. I am proud to call him my friend and he will do a great job at the White House.
Now, they are accusing Bill’s wife Darla of being a racist because one of her tweets suggested that the “N-word” should not be used. How is that racist? I have never heard a racist word from her. This is getting way out of hand.
My last question is: Since all the news media is getting people to talk, why don’t they ask me? I am a known liberal and know Bill and Darla Shine better than most people know them. The people who are writing all these articles should come to me and ask. My phone is waiting, but so far it has not rung.