2018 was hard for a lot of media folks, but particularly so for this rogues’ gallery. For some, it was MeToo. For others, industry headwinds were too much. And for more still, disgrace and ignominy came after just saying the wrong thing.
Les Moonves: Once celebrated for his leadership at CBS, Moonves faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct for which he was ultimately fired. CBS said in December that it would seek to deny him a roughly $120-million severance package.
Laura Ingraham: Long a divisive figure (even on the right), the Fox News host might have avoided the losers’ column were it not for a sponsor boycott launched against her by Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg in March. Months later, advertisers are still wary of appearing on the program.
Michael Ferro/Tronc: The leadership of Michael Ferro has now made Tronc synonymous with mismanagement. In addition to leaving the top job with a #MeToo scandal over his head, Ferro is now facing accusations of making anti-semitic remarks and paying off an LA Times editor who reportedly had the comments on tape.
Media Publishers: From Mic.com on the left to The Weekly Standard on the right, publishers came in for a beating, with some closing up entirely. With few exceptions, legacy shops saw print sales decline, while digital-first properties continue to face the crushing economics of turning pageviews into profits.
Breitbart: It’s a name you probably haven’t heard for a while. Once a key part of the engine which powered Trump’s improbable election, the website had long fallen off most radars. A sustained pressure campaign against advertisers on the site by Sleeping Giants has also taken a bite out of revenue.
Marc Lamont Hill: Once a CNN regular, Hill lost his job as a contributor on the network after making remarks about Israel and Palestine at the UN that many called anti-semitic. A chummy photo with Louis Farrakhan — who has compared Jews to termites — didn’t help matters for him either. He remains a tenured professor at Temple University.
CBS and “60 Minutes”: Both the network and its marquee news program took a beating this year. “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager was forced out in a MeToo scandal, while details of an investigation launched by the network generally hit the press before reaching top management.
Michael Avenatti: Just months ago, the lawyer representing Stormy Daniels in her legal fight with Donald Trump was considered a serious presidential contender. But his reputation took a hit after taking on a questionable MeToo claim against Brett Kavanaugh, and he disappeared for good after being booked on felony domestic violence charges in November (though he was not charged).
Andy Lack: The MSNBC/NBC News chief had a rough 2018. His network’s decision to pass on Ronan Farrow’s historic MeToo reporting continues to reverberate. His big bet on Megyn Kelly also flopped and became a multi-million dollar ulcer which still remains far from resolved.
Gavin McInnes: Always on the fringes, McInnes had nevertheless carved a niche for himself as an online provocateur, a host on CRTV and as the head of his own (occasionally violent/racist) fraternal organization, The Proud Boys. By the end of 2018, he was banned from Twitter, dropped by CRTV and had resigned from The Proud Boys.
Univision: Univision spent $135 million on Gawker Media back in 2016 and has spent most of the time since mismanaging the former properties and being called out by its own writers. Amid buyouts to editorial and broad layoffs elsewhere, Univision revealed it is looking to cut its losses and unload the websites once and for all.