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Who Is Bill Shine? He Lifted Fox News but Carries Weight of Harassment Scandals

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© Lucas Jackson/Reuters

By DANIEL VICTOR, The New York Times

In Bill Shine, President Trump has turned to a man who was well-regarded for his ratings success as a top Fox News executive, but who carries the weight of accusations that he helped cover up sexual harassment scandals at the network.

[post_ads]The administration announced on Thursday that Mr. Shine had been hired as the White House deputy chief of staff for communications. At Fox News, he was considered a reliable right-hand man to Roger Ailes, the network’s former chairman, who left in 2016 after being accused of sexual harassment.

His close relationship to Mr. Ailes made Mr. Shine inseparable from the network’s spate of harassment lawsuits, and several women accused him of working to silence complaints and enable the chairman’s behavior.

He has largely avoided the spotlight that follows other media executives, having done few on-the-record interviews. Here’s what we do know about him.

Tenure at Fox News

After college, Mr. Shine worked for local stations on Long Island. He began his tenure at Fox News 20 years ago as a producer for “Hannity & Colmes,” the show that pitted Alan Colmes, a liberal, against Sean Hannity, a conservative who has become the network’s top star.

Mr. Shine quickly earned the trust of Mr. Ailes and was put in charge of Greta Van Susteren’s prime-time show when she was poached from CNN in 2002. Ms. Van Susteren and Mr. Hannity were among the top Fox News personalities who became close to Mr. Shine and credit him with their ratings success.

“What I love most about Bill is he’s a regular guy,” Maria Bartiromo, the Fox Business anchor, wrote in an email in 2016 for a profile of Mr. Shine in The Times. “Very steady, very smart, and very genuine. He tells you the way it is. I appreciate that.”

Mr. Shine was seen as representing the network’s typical working-class viewer: An Irish-Catholic, the son of a police officer, he commuted two hours each morning from Long Island to Midtown Manhattan on a train filled with construction workers. He was said to be known less for expressing strong political views and more for suggesting stories about issues popular with viewers, like the gas tax.

He rose to become a top lieutenant of Mr. Ailes as the network asserted itself as a conservative powerhouse in television and politics. He was often relied upon to handle delicate situations with the network’s stars.

He was elevated to co-president in August 2016, a month after Mr. Ailes was ousted.

Sexual harassment scandals

Mr. Shine was never accused of the kind of aggressive, coercive harassment that took down several of his colleagues, including Mr. Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, and he has denied any wrongdoing. But his name came up in at least four lawsuits filed against the network and Mr. Ailes.
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Andrea Tantaros, a daytime host, said she complained to Mr. Shine about Mr. Ailes, but he told her: “Don’t fight this.” Mr. Shine has denied that Ms. Tantaros approached him.

Laurie Luhn, a former booker at Fox, said Mr. Ailes had Mr. Shine recommend doctors and arrange travel for her while she was in a relationship with Mr. Ailes, according to New York magazine. Mr. Shine has said he did not know that the two were romantically involved.

His presence at Fox News came to be seen as a symbol of the era in which harassment was tolerated at the network. He was forced out in May 2017.

He maintained a close relationship with Mr. Hannity, with whom he often speaks and dines along with their families. Before Mr. Shine was fired, Mr. Hannity wrote on Twitter that his removal would be “the total end of the F.N.C. as we know it. Done.”

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Politics - U.S. Daily News: Who Is Bill Shine? He Lifted Fox News but Carries Weight of Harassment Scandals
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