CBS fires Charlie Rose; Update: So does PBS

Yesterday’s WaPo story was so brutal that it alone probably would have sunk him even if no more accusers had come forward.

But other accusers are coming forward.

This wound to CBS was going to bleed and bleed, so they cauterized it. His career in television news lasted more than 40 years. It took about 20 hours after WaPo’s expose was published yesterday to end it.

Did CBS know about Rose’s behavior before yesterday? It seems to have been an open secret on his PBS show — “Charlie’s angels,” the “crusty paw,” producers in the know. These sexual misconduct exposes typically take a long time to report too, as victims need to be coaxed to come forward, their accounts need to be corroborated, times and dates need to be substantiated, etc. The New York Times’s story on Harvey Weinstein was many months in the making, with Weinstein apparently having got wind of it earlier this year. No one at CBS or at Rose’s morning show on the network heard through the grapevine that the Post had something cooking? Right, right, they couldn’t dump him outright just because a rival media outlet was digging for dirt on him, but they could have started digging themselves to see if he was someone who could be trusted in a newsroom with many women co-workers. Did they dig? What did they find?

Watch below as Megyn Kelly tells an interesting story about Rose. She got him to emcee an event to promote her book last year figuring it’d be a friendly interview, as they’d known each other for years. Instead he ended up grilling her aggressively about her harassment allegations against Roger Ailes, which surprised and angered Kelly. It reminds me of what one of his alleged victims told WaPo, that Rose would say to her occasionally in an insistent way, “I’ve never forced you to do something you didn’t want to do,” and then wait for her to confirm it. TMZ staked out his apartment this morning and asked him about his “wrongdoings,” which he admitted to in his statement to WaPo, confessing to “inappropriate” behavior while claiming that not every allegation against him is true. He told TMZ flatly this morning, though, “It’s not wrongdoings.” Put it all together and you get the sense that Rose has been rationalizing his behavior to himself for years, even to the point where he felt defensive on Ailes’s behalf in front of Kelly. In fact, his statement to WaPo said as much: “I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings.” It may be that on some level he understood that unsuspecting women didn’t want a peek at his moldering trouser flounder but, unable to process that and continue with his behavior, he chose to resolve the cognitive dissonance by convincing himself that they secretly did, that all of this was consensual, just part of the game of love.

Forty years in the business, respected as one of its more cerebral members. This is his legacy now.

Update: Lest there was any doubt what they would do, PBS has now pulled the trapdoor on Rose as well.