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An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal's Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media [Hardcover]

Joe Muto
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 4 2013
The “Fox Mole”—whose dispatches for Gawker made headlines in Businessweek, The Hollywood Reporter, and even on The New York Times website—delivers a funny, opinionated memoir of his eight years at the unfair, unbalanced Fox News Channel working as an associate producer for Bill O'Reilly.

Imagine needing to hide your true beliefs just to keep a job you hated. Now imagine your job was producing the biggest show on the biggest cable news channel in America, and you’ll get a sense of what life was like for Joe Muto. As a self-professed bleeding-heart, godless liberal, Joe’s viewpoints clearly didn’t mesh with his employer—especially his direct supervisor, Bill O’Reilly.

So he did what any ambitious, career-driven person would do. He destroyed his career, spectacularly. He became Gawker’s so-called Fox Mole.

Joe’s posts on Gawker garnered more than 2.5 million hits in one week. He released footage and information that Fox News never wanted exposed, including some extremely unflattering footage of Mitt Romney. The dragnet closed around him quickly—he was fired within thirty-six hours—so his best material never made it online. Unfortunate for his career as the Fox Mole, but a treasure trove for book readers.

An Atheist in the FOXhole has everything that liberals and Fox haters could desire: details about how Fox’s right-wing ideology is promoted throughout the channel; why specific angles and personalities are the only ones broadcasted; the bizarre stories Fox anchors actually believed (and passed on to the public); and tales of behind-the-scenes mayhem and mistakes, all part of reporting Fox’s version of the news.

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Product Description


“Well-written and structured in surprising ways" - Tampa Bay Times
(Joe Muto)

About the Author

JOE MUTO graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in Film and TV, then landed a job at Fox News as a freelance production assistant. He remained at Fox for eight years. He was an associate producer for The O'Reilly Factor when he was fired after being outed as Gawker's "Fox Mole."

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who cares? June 12 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Okay, here's the problem with young Joe Muto's first book, "An Atheist in the FOXhole". It simply isn't very good because Muto and the publisher sat down and took what could be considered a very long magazine article about goings-on at Fox News, and wrapped it in a boring personal odyssey of Joe Muto's life and career. And that career - which isn't very long because he's 30 years or so old - simply isn't worth the time it takes to read about.

What were Muto's - and his publisher's - aim here in producing a book-length piece of writing? Obviously to make money, but also to provide Muto with some career choices. After reading "Atheist", I don't think too many job opportunities will open up for him. Maybe that's okay and he'll move back into his parents' house in Ohio.

Anybody with half a brain - liberal or conservative - knows that Bill O'Reilly must be a difficult boss and that those above him in the Fox hierarchy - Ailes and Murdoch - are also not very nice. This is a fact and everybody should know it by now. Joe Muto's book didn't share anything we didn't already know. But to take this material and wrap it in the fish-paper of Muto's personal life is a publishing sin.

So, I don't care what your personal political leanings are, I'd avoid this book as a total waste of time. (Unless you're a Notre Dame grad who wants to relive old times.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  97 reviews
44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Not Quite What You Think It's Going to Be June 8 2013
By Timothy P. Young - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Joe Muto was the now infamous 'Fox Mole,' who posted a couple of semi-scandalous items about the inner workings of Fox News on Gawker back in 2012. He's now written a book about his experiences there. When the reader looks at the cover, and even the title, what we expect is a scathing take-down of Fox News and especially Bill O'Reilly, since his head looms large over the rest in the artwork. That's not what we get at all.

Instead, what we get is a very personal account of Muto's time at Fox. It's a memoir. And a pretty good one. The reader will learn tons about the inner workings of a cable news network (and that stuff is fascinating), and tons about Muto's love life (not as much). While the book is at Fox (80-85 percent of the time), it's a fairly good read. When it strays into his personal life, via the copious footnotes and anecdotes liberally sprinkled throughout, it loses steam.

I did enjoy the book. It's a quick, breezy read, well-written, often funny. A lot of people who liberals like to cast as villains come off better than you'd expect. I like O'Reilly more than I did before now that I've seen him up close and personal. Ditto for Shep Smith and Megyn Kelly. I appreciated getting a closer look at the inner workings of cable news. I just wish Muto would have stayed there, and with his coworkers, throughout the book.

Still, with that minor caveat, more than worth your time.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Took 3 Days to End an 8 Year Career and All You'll Get is this Book June 30 2013
By Erick J. Rhoan - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Interesting and light, but not the damning exposé that some people may be expecting. More like the summary of the authors day to day tribulations of working at a place that was ideologically opposite of him. There is no great catharsis, lessons learned (other than knowing how easy it is to throw away one's career), and no great secret demystified. The central narrative flow is an average-enough liberal cog's knock around grind in Fox's vast empire. You'll have to decide if that's enough.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick read with some fun insight June 14 2013
By Scott H - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I remember the Gawker mole story well and was interested to read the behind the scenes build-up on why someone would ruin their career the way the mole did. First, I really enjoyed reliving what it was like to be in a newsroom at that point in time. The insight on how Fox ran their news operation was interesting and filled with details on how the big names treated their people. I like Bill O'Reilly a little more after reading this book. Muto is a great example of how a lot of Millennials approach business. I also don't think he's trying to get sympathy for himself. He admits he made some bad decisions along the way (and even knew they were bad when he was making them.) It seems to be a fairly honest assessment of his short TV career. I blew through the book in a few sittings. Not very long, but definitely a fun read if you have interest in the TV business and/or Fox News. Plus as a South Bend native, I got a kick out of his Notre Dame references.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down! June 20 2013
By P. Lynch - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For eight years Joe Muto worked as a poorly paid production assistant at Fox News. He was convinced that no other (liberal) network would touch him because of his stint at the conservative right wing news organization, so he decided to leak some choice video clips to the website Gawker. That decision, of course, was his undoing at Fox.

It got harder and harder for him to reconcile his liberal leanings with the far right slant of the reporting at Fox. Nevertheless, I think his assessment of the people he worked with was "fair and balanced" unlike the network he worked for. For example, he has a grudging respect for Bill O'Reilly, on whose show he helped produce during his last couple of years. He reveals that the much reviled Ann Coulter is actually very nice and personable in real life. He talks about the people he worked side by side with, many of whom were apolitical and some who did vote for Obama and the Democrats like himself, but just sucked it up because they needed the job.

Above all, the book is funny and entertaining! You won't be disappointed!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, Smart, and Enjoyable June 15 2013
By PV - Published on
If you're looking for a hard hitting expose into the workings of Fox News, this isn't the book for you.

If you're politically interested, engaged, and thoughtful about cable news, democracy, and human beings, you'll love this. Joe completely embodies his name with his writing style - reading the book is like hearing from someone you feel like you know. There aren't any huge surprises here, of course, but his experience is insightful, interesting, and witty.

A few days after finishing the book, I happened to flip on O'Reilly. Now, I've never really watched his show earnestly before, but watching the show through the lens of Muto's book is completely revelatory and kind of jaw dropping.

I highly recommend for those who are into politics, concerned about rhetoric, and like to laugh at the folly of human beings.
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