On the same day that Fox News announced that it had “agreed to part ways amicably” with suspended conservative host Eric Bolling, Bolling’s son Eric, Jr. was found dead in Boulder, Colorado. The younger Bolling, known by his middle name Chase, was a 19-year old sophomore at the University of Colorado in Boulder majoring in economics. He was the only child of Eric Bolling and his wife of 20 years, Adrienne Bolling.
The elder Eric Bolling had a background as a successful New York City commodities trader and an award-winning financial consultant before embarking on a career in the media. He was a contributor and program host on the Fox Business Network and the Fox News Channel since 2007. On August 5, Bolling was suspended by Fox News pending the results of an internal investigation inspired by charges made in a HuffPost article published on August 4. The 900-word article, citing only anonymous sources and with no quotes, alleged that Bolling had “sexted” one or more photos of male genitalia to three female colleagues several years earlier. The article claimed that 14 anonymous sources at Fox had confirmed the allegations to the article’s author, freelance writer Yashar Ali.
The timing of Chase Bolling’s passing, on the same day that his father was widely and publicly humiliated by being ousted from his prominent role at Fox News, all the while maintaining that the charges against him were false, intensified the media’s interest in Bolling father and son and immediately led to speculation and anonymously sourced reports about the cause of Chase Bolling’s death.
Coming on the heels of hundreds, if not thousands, of articles reporting on the elder Bolling’s separation from Fox News on September 8, the new round of reportage less than 24 hours later featured headlines that included words like “suicide” and “Eric Bolling Son Dies from OD.” In two tweets an hour apart on Saturday afternoon, however, Eric Bolling wrote that “Adrienne and I are devastated by the loss of our beloved son Eric Chase last night. Details still unclear,” and “Authorities have informed us there is no sign of self harm at this point. Autopsy will be next week.”
It remains to be seen if a spate of early media reports suggesting that Chase Bolling was “emotionally upset” and “extremely embarrassed” about the controversy that had upended his father’s successful television career will hold up.
As this horrendous news is allowed to sink in and hopefully touch the heart of anyone with an ounce of compassion, it is unfortunately necessary to report some additional sad and disturbing context. First and foremost, the Bolling family appears to be very close knit. Eric Sr. obviously took great pride in his son Chase. It was just one year ago, as I recall, that Eric returned from a trip to Colorado to his co-hosting job at FNC’s program The Five and proudly shared with his co-hosts and the viewing audience videos that showed him helping to get Chase settled into his college dorm room. It is heartbreaking to recall those happy images now.
A strange factor in this story is that Yashar Ali, the HuffPost freelancer who wrote the August 4 article alleging that Eric Bolling was guilty of inappropriate behavior years earlier, claims to have been and apparently was the first one to break the news of Chase Bolling’s death. For example, in a HuffPost article on September 9 time stamped 2:31 P.M. E.T., Hayley Miller writes “Yashar Ali, the HuffPost freelancer behind the [August 4] story, first reported news of the younger Bolling’s death on Saturday.” An article in Fortune noted:
The death was first publicly reported by Yashar Ali, the reporter who investigated Eric Bolling’s alleged misconduct for The Huffington Post. Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared to confirm the death on Twitter soon after.
In fact, a tweet by Yashar Ali time stamped 10:05 A.M. [presumably P.T.] on Saturday, notes:
In recent days, Ali has been tweeting and retweeting scores of times a day about a wide variety of celebrities and issues and he expressed condolences about the death of Chase Bolling in at least five more tweets and retweets after he reported the news in the tweet (above) on September 9. On September 8, however, after the news of Bolling’s ouster from Fox News broke, Ali appeared to be pleased by the development and his role in it. He retweeted a tweet by HuffPost editor Lydia Polgreen that linked back to Ali’s article reporting that Bolling was “out at Fox News.” The original tweet by Polgreen, with a photo of Bolling, featured the caption “Bolling in the Gutter.”
And so it goes.
Eric Bolling’s friend Sean Hannity, currently a Fox News prime time host, tweeted his condolences on Saturday:
Hannity, like Eric Bolling, has been a high profile target of leftist groups dedicated to removing conservatives from the media. In fact, an organized effort is currently underway to encourage people to boycott sponsors of Hannity’s Fox News program in hopes that he can be brought down. This effort has not yet succeeded.
But Eric Bolling, a clear, consistent, compelling, and very popular conservative voice – and a friend and defender of President Donald J. Trump – has been taken down.
Last May, in the wake of the successful efforts to get Bill O’Reilly, Fox News’s most popular program host, boycotted and fired, and the subsequent campaign to do the same thing to him, Hannity commented during his opening monologue on May 30. He began with a reference to the boycott effort:
It’s also now gone to a whole other level that is very dangerous. Now my character is being assassinated. I’m being lied about, smeared and slandered. And the worst part is there are many on the left that are now working hard to get me fired, get me off the air. So this voice of ours on the show – I don’t force you to watch. I ask you to watch. I want you to watch – could no longer be heard.
There is now a well-funded, well-orchestrated campaign against me in this particular case to silence me by attacking my advertisers. Now, this is all put together by in part a Clinton-founded, in part, Soros-funded, in part, group. Now, I want to tell you something. This is not hyperbole. What has been happening to me in the last week is a kill shot. [emphasis added.] They want this show canceled. They want me off the air. It’s also an attempt to silence the FOX News Channel and talk radio.
“Kill shot.” That’s a term that Hannity used on more than one occasion, and it immediately stood out to me. Just over three months later now, I wonder if what Hannity was talking about has indeed now gone “to a whole other level.”
Peter Chowka is a widely published author and journalist. He writes most frequently these days for American Thinker and The Hagmann Report. His Web site is AltMedNews.net. Follow Peter on Twitter. Peter’s latest wide-ranging one hour conversation with Doug and Joe on The Hagmann Report on August 28 can be watched here.